Saudi Arabia's Qiddiya reveals giant mountainside projection

Short Url
Updated 26 January 2020

Saudi Arabia's Qiddiya reveals giant mountainside projection

  • QIC’s outdoor display, which uses 84 projectors, was showcased in a three-minute video

RIYADH: The Tuwaiq mountains provide the dramatic backdrop for a new giant digital display from the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC).

Qiddiya, located 40 km west of Riyadh, is referred to as Saudi Arabia’s future “capital of entertainment, sports and the arts,” and QIC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

QIC’s outdoor display, which uses 84 projectors, was showcased in a three-minute video that tells the evolution of the mountains from the ice age right through to the scheduled opening of the Qiddiya project in 2023.

“We received a great reaction when we first used projection to illustrate the potential of Qiddiya at our groundbreaking ceremony,” said Qiddiya CEO Michael Reininger. 

“This inspired us to create an enhanced and sophisticated light show that uses the latest audio-visual technology that, once again, highlights how Qiddiya is set to become the Kingdom’s capital of entertainment, sports and the arts. The projection display will continue to illuminate the skies above Qiddiya and we hope to work with other Saudi entities to explore how best to use this valuable tool in the future for mutually beneficial purposes.”

FASTFACT

Display covers 32,000 square meters.

The digital display was used at the closing ceremony for the 2020 Dakar Rally to see how it worked under real-event conditions and featured a 150-meter- high Qiddiya logo. 

It was used to unveil the G20 logo in December last year, interspersed with images of the Saudi flag, profiles of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as the chairman of the board of directors of Qiddiya.

The entire display covers approximately 32,000 square meters and, over the last four months, a team of more than 80 technicians have worked around the clock to install the technology.    

Saudis spend $30 billion on tourism abroad every year. By providing new entertainment options for citizens and residents in the Kingdom, the Qiddiya project aims to redirect some of the overseas tourism spending back into Saudi Arabia.

This goal also supports the Vision 2030 objective to increase spending within the Kingdom on culture and entertainment activities, from about 3 percent of household income to 6 percent.


Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. The 86-year-old is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. (Supplied)
Updated 15 August 2020

Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

  • The Syrian Qur’an writer, regarded as one of the world’s finest calligraphers, is on the road to recovery following his recent hospital admission

MAKKAH: Syrian calligrapher Uthman Taha is in good health and recovering at home after a 13-day stay in a hospital where he was treated for what he and his wife initially suspected to be the novel coronavirus COVID-19, although he ultimately tested negative for the virus.

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. His wife, Fatimah Umm Al-Nour, said Taha had a chest infection during his stay at the hospital and stressed that he had been “careful and took all the precautionary measures” and that he had not left the house for five months before his hospital visit.
The 86-year-old calligrapher is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. She praised his doctors, who have consistently checked in with the couple since Taha returned home, and added that she has tested negative for COVID-19 too.
Taha is regarded as one of the most skilled calligraphers in the Arab world. Al-Nour told Arab News that he continues to practice calligraphy daily.
Taha, who has written the Qur’an 12 times at the King Fahd Complex, was born in 1934 and attended school in Aleppo. His father was also a skilled calligrapher, who used the Ruq’ah script, and Taha studied with several of Syria’s finest calligraphers including Mohammed Al-Mawlawi, Mohammed Al-Khatib, Hussein Al-Turki, and Ibrahim Al-Rifai.
When he moved to Damascus for university, Taha began to learn other scripts, including Thuluth, Naskh (in which he is now considered a master), and Farsi. He received his calligraphy certificate from master calligrapher Hamed Al-Amadi in 1973.
He arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1988, and began work as a calligrapher at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. He writes the Qur’an in the Ottoman script, and copies of his work have been distributed throughout the Islamic world.
What makes Taha’s work unique is that each page of the Qur’an that he writes concludes at the end of a verse. The secret, he explains, is to simplify the words — which is the origin of the Kufic script in which the Qur’an has been written since the days of Prophet Muhammad’s companions — keeping the letters close to one another.
Taha spent years perfecting his technique of evenly distributing the words in every line so that the space between the lettering is consistent throughout every page of every book, which means eliminating many of the script combinations that make such consistency difficult.
He explained to Arab News that when he is working on his Qur’an calligraphy he is transported: “When I begin writing the Holy Qur’an, I resort to solitude to allow myself to be invested in the verses and their interpretation, forgetting about the world around me,” he said. “I wish the verses about Jannah (heaven) would never end, and my hand trembles when I write the verses about Jahannam (hell).”