ThePlace: The historic village of Asham tells the story of the early times of Islam

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Updated 07 March 2020

ThePlace: The historic village of Asham tells the story of the early times of Islam

  • Pre-Islam Asham was famous for its metal industry and covered an area of 1,500m by 600m from east to west

RIYADH: The archeological site of Asham is located on the ancient pilgrimage route running along the Red Sea coast from Yemen to Makkah. The historic village lies 300 km south of the holy city and links the Tihamah plain in the west to the mountains in the east.
Asham tells the story of the early times of Islam and is considered an extension of Makkah’s civilization and historical events.
Convoys leaving or entering Makkah used to pass through the village and its name has become associated with Makkah in history books. Today it is considered an important historical and archaeological landmark.
Pre-Islam Asham was famous for its metal industry and covered an area of 1,500m by 600m from east to west. Its houses were built with blocks of volcanic stone arranged one on top of the other without the use of mortar, giving them their distinctive black color.
Around 100 houses of various sizes have been identified at the site, along with a cemetery to the east of the village which contains graves richly decorated with Kufic inscriptions.
A vast array of fragments of pottery dating from pre-Islamic times through to the early fifth century (Hijri) have also been found at Asham.


Startup of the Week: Sepale offers long-lasting blooms

Updated 1 min 59 sec ago

Startup of the Week: Sepale offers long-lasting blooms

JEDDAH: Qualified chemical engineer Fahad Andergeeri became a florist after spotting a gap in the market.

“The idea for Sepale came when I couldn’t find a good flower shop here (in Jeddah), nothing compared with Dubai or New York,” he told Arab News. “So I decided to open up my own brand.”

The 27-year-old entrepreneur started his online store to sell long-lasting blooms that people could cherish. He also introduced top-notch chocolate and packaging as quality is something Andergeeri is particularly proud of. 

“We try to keep everything very high quality, the packages are high-end, the roses are some of the best in the world, and the chocolates are imported from Belgium. We wouldn’t sell fresh flowers in the beginning, we would sell preserved roses that last for a year or more.”

Preserved roses are fresh roses that are chemically treated to live for longer periods of time.

Andergeeri’s passion for flowers started in childhood. “I spent a lot of time browsing on Instagram. At that time, I knew that there were very few shops that specialized in selling flowers.”

He became curious and started to familiarize himself with local vendors. He said that the rose industry in Jeddah was still developing when he entered the market, so he decided to import roses from abroad.

“It took time to learn and figure (it) out. I researched a lot and traveled to places like the Netherlands and China. It was a challenge in the beginning but once we got better at it, it got easier.”

The whole process took him six months of sampling, researching, and changing the products to suit the brand image.

The packaging is what makes the shop unique, he added. “I wanted to give the receiver something that is a complete gift they can keep for the maximum amount of time. It is not like a bouquet that you will keep for a few days and then throw away.”

He aims to become one of the leading flower shops in the market by 2030.