Dakar rally stops at Al-Wajh, a city rich with history

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Residents of Al-Wajh hope the Dakar Rally 2020 will attract investors and boost tourism. (Arab News)
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Residents of Al-Wajh hope the Dakar Rally 2020 will attract investors and boost tourism. (Arab News)
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Residents of Al-Wajh hope the Dakar Rally 2020 will attract investors and boost tourism. (Arab News)
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Updated 07 January 2020

Dakar rally stops at Al-Wajh, a city rich with history

  • The old city’s pristine environment has placed it high on the list of cities to visit for locals and tourists
  • Historians differ on the origins of its name, which translates as “the face” 

AL-WAJH: Al-Wajh, on the Red Sea coast, is one of the most attractive Saudi cities. With a long history of welcoming sailors and visitors, it is a fitting setting for the first stage of Dakar Rally 2020.
The old city’s pristine environment, barely touched by development projects, has placed it high on the list of cities to visit for locals and tourists alike in modern times but its location was primeval. 
According to local newspaper columnist and media figure Ahmed Al-Balawi, historians differ on the origins of the name, which translates as “the face.” 
“The most acceptable one is that the city is located on a relatively high plateau above the Red Sea, and is considered to be the starting point of the land of the Hijaz region for people sailing from the African continent. It is the first area of the Arabian Peninsula that they ‘face’ when approaching land.”
Al-Balawi said that historians believe that the port of Al-Wajh has been known since ancient times, even before Islam, and was used by the Nabateans. The city is known for the remains of a Roman port at Al-Qusayer, 45 km to the south.
“The port became vitally important during the Islamic era, especially during the Ayyubid, Mamluk and Ottoman dynasties.”
Al-Balawi said that Dakar Rally 2020 had received great media coverage, and “this means media will focus on the city, which has all the necessary tourist attractions beginning from the moderate weather throughout the year, the presence of virgin beaches, picturesque islands, diversity of fish, coral reefs, diving, archaeological castles and houses and mosques; the thing that will definitely have a great impact on the development of the city.”
“I am thrilled to see the Dakar in our city for the first time. This means the city will be globally known through the international media coverage that is expected to accompany the events,” he said.“This major historical sporting event will allow young people of Al-Wajh to learn more about the race. This could pave the way for the local talents to practice this type of sport and hopefully become champions.”
Al-Balawi said that the governorate of Al-Wajh is part of the Red Sea Project and the mega project of Amaala. 
“Al-Wajh is the nearest sea port to AlUla and is to the south of the $500 billion megacity of NEOM. All these factors are expected to significantly contribute to the development of this city, raise economic growth rates and create new job opportunities for the citizens,” he said.
Al-Balawi said that the only thing the residents, estimated at 45,000, are currently in need of is that investors speed up implementing the investment opportunities that the city has provided. “These include establishing commercial malls and recreational zones,” he said.

   


KSRelief dispatches help for Lebanese medical teams treating explosion victims 

Updated 05 August 2020

KSRelief dispatches help for Lebanese medical teams treating explosion victims 

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has assisted Lebanese medical teams treating victims of the Beirut explosion on Tuesday.

Emergency teams from the Souboul Al Salam Relief Team, which is funded by KSRelief, went from north of Lebanon to Beirut to support medical teams on the ground. 

Another team from Al-Amal Medical Center, also funded by KSRelief, provided emergency health care services and started a blood donation campaign to meet the demand of Beirut hospitals.

Opinion

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The prime minister of Lebanon, which is already struggling with an economic crisis and battling COVID-19, has made a desperate plea for help following Tuesday’s deadly explosions.
Kuwait said it has delivered medical aid and other essentials by a military plane on Wednesday morning.
The World Health Organization and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies were sending 40 tonnes of medical supplies, including personal protective equipment to Beirut on a flight paid for by Dubai-based International Humanitarian City, a hub for humanitarian emergency preparedness and response, a WHO representative said.
"We are offering medical trauma kits and surgical kits containing things such as syringes, bandages and surgical gowns," said Nevien Attalla, operations manager for the WHO's Dubai hub.

*With agencies