Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience

Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
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Updated 07 April 2021

Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience

Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience
  • Use of drones by cameraman brings history to life in one of KSA’s most famous archaeological sites

MAKKAH: A Saudi aerial photographer’s passion for history has won him global acclaim for images revealing the secrets of AlUla Old Town.

Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement.

AlUla Old Town, located in the north of the Kingdom about 20 km from the archaeological site of Mada’in Salih, is seven centuries old and filled with mosques and markets that reflect its beauty and heritage.

Rich in history, the region was an ancient trade station linking the north and south of the peninsula and one of the main stopping-off points for pilgrims traveling between Syria and Makkah.

Al-Suhaimi told Arab News that his inspiration to photograph the area from the air came from his deep-rooted desire to find out more about the country’s ancient civilizations.

“The idea from the onset revolved around simulating the history of AlUla region, which has become one of the most important heritage attractions on a local and international level.

“The location includes stone landmarks and high mountains which set a breathtaking rocky harmony depicted by the drones of aerial photographers.

“It was the place of people who set the link with us on architectural and human levels. 




The region is one of the great forgotten treasures of antiquity. (Social media)

They built a town which bears witness to the magnificence and cultural depth and momentum of its human legacy,” he said. Studies of AlUla’s castles have proved that the site was once a thriving community, Al-Suhaimi added. “Photographing these places in all their detail only adds to my enthusiasm for transmitting images to a world craving for the secrets of these places of old times to be unveiled.”

The high-flying lensman has snapped all of AlUla Old Town’s castles and villages, as well as the castle of Musa bin Nusayr, and the Aja and Salma mountains which rise to 1,000 meters.

By using drones, Al-Suhaimi has been able to get close-up pictures of the houses and buildings that occupy the site. “There are monolithic houses that reflect the depth of relationships that linked those people who fused with each other as if they were one family.”

HIGHLIGHT

AlUla Old Town, located in the north of the Kingdom about 20 km from the archaeological site of Mada’in Salih, is seven centuries old and filled with mosques and markets that reflect its beauty and heritage.

He pointed out that although the houses seemed to be randomly clustered together, they were actually “architectural enigmas” which had been cleverly designed to ensure a smooth flow of air in and around them.

Aerial photographs of the town had also raised questions about how its people had been able to move around from building to building in such a close-knit environment.

Al-Suhaimi said he had gained all the necessary licenses to operate drones in the area. “We were keen on taking pictures and transmitting them to the whole world, as internationally it is one of the most outstanding Islamic cities. Its mud houses are living witnesses that resisted time.”

He added that he had been astonished by the positive global feedback from his photographs of the region. One notable feature of AlUla Old Town is the Tantora sundial. The shadow that it cast was used to mark the beginning of the winter planting season.

“They set stones atop one another so that the shadow would be projected on the tip of the stone once per year, which is evidence of the astronomy legacy of the people of the region,” said Al-Suhaimi.


Saudi Arabia participates in global education summit

Saudi Arabia participates in global education summit
Updated 5 min 29 sec ago

Saudi Arabia participates in global education summit

Saudi Arabia participates in global education summit
  • Summit aims to draw a roadmap to transform educational systems in targeted countries
  • Saudi education minister is representing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
RIYADH: On behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh is participating in the Global Education Summit on Financing the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) 2021-2025 in London. The two-day summit opened on July 28 under the patronage of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Al-Asheikh will deliver Saudi Arabia’s speech on behalf of the crown prince on Thursday during the summit, which is being attended by 12 heads of state, 60 education ministers, representatives of the private sector, influencers and youths. The agenda of the summit includes calls for the international community to finance the strategic plan of the GPE and raise $5 billion over the next five years. It aims to draw a roadmap to transform educational systems in targeted countries through exchanging the best practices, studying the latest systems, and listening to experts and young people from around the world, in addition to benefiting from the expertise of stakeholders. On the first day of the summit, Al-Asheikh met the British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly at his office in London. The meeting discussed bilateral relations between the two countries, reviewed the Kingdom’s efforts to support education through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), and Saudi Arabia’s participation in the summit, emphasizing its role in supporting education around the world. Al-Asheikh also met the chair of the board of directors of the GPE, Julia Gillard. During the meeting, they discussed areas of joint cooperation, intensified efforts to contribute to the development of education at the international level and topics of discussion at the Summit. They also discussed strengthening the relationship of GPE with the SFD, citing the projects carried out by fund in the education sector in various countries of the world, and praising the Saudi role in supporting the education programs in addition to cooperation between GPE and KSrelief in the education sector. The Saudi minister also held a meeting with the Kuwaiti minister of education, Dr. Ali Fahad Al-Mudhaf. The two sides reviewed cooperation between the two nations.

The history of Saudi Arabia is written in its rock art

The history of Saudi Arabia is written in its rock art
Updated 8 min 20 sec ago

The history of Saudi Arabia is written in its rock art

The history of Saudi Arabia is written in its rock art
  • The paintings refer to the practice of hunting and grazing by the people of the region

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia has a rich heritage depicted in the rock art sites scattered across the country. These show representations of religious, political and socioeconomic life since ancient times.

The engravings, some of which date back to 12,000 B.C., include many images of animals that were used by man for their milk, meat, skins and fur.

Dr. Salma Housawi, professor of ancient history at King Saud University, said that the rock art shows that the inhabitants of the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula began to hunt and domesticate animals in around 6,000 B.C.

“The dog was one of the first animals to be domesticated and used for hunting. Donkeys and bulls depicted in the drawings are also domesticated then,” she added.

Housawi noted that the rock paintings scattered in the northwest of the Arabian Peninsula, which date from 4000 to 2000 B.C., refer to the practice of hunting and grazing by the people of the region. 

When the climate of Saudi Arabia became extremely hot and arid, cattle gradually disappeared and were replaced by animals that are more suited to the dry environment, such as camels, ibex and goats, particularly in the northern and western regions.

The professor said that camels were first depicted on the rocks of Kilwa northeast of Tabuk.

She said the camel was used for transportation due to its endurance and ability to sustain harsh desert conditions of the Arabian Peninsula, making it one of the most important animal resources.

“The camel is a food source and a means of transport that has played a major role in Arab relations with their neighbors, in addition to its participation in the wars.” 

She noted that in the area of Jabal Al-Malihiya, 40 kilometers east of Hail, its rock facades have important inscriptions and drawings depicting cows, wild camels, ostriches and lions. She said that Saudi Arabia was keen to register the Hail rock paintings on the UNESCO World Heritage List because of these animal drawings.

“The Qassim area also abounds with animal drawings of ostriches, lions, lionesses, cows and camels, while in the Uyun Al-Jawa you can find drawings of predators, ibex, ostriches and camels,” she said. “Mount Tamiya in Uglat Asugour region also features drawings of camels and ibexes.” The rock art of the Al-Bukayriyah area features a fascinating drawing of a lion and lioness next to each other.

The rock art of the central region of the Dawadmi province, which shows a similar range of animals, includes aurochs, as well.

She also noted that rock drawings were also interesting for their hunting scenes, which illustrated accurately both the movement of the hunter and animal and the weapons used in hunting.

“The Ministry of Culture, represented by the Saudi Heritage Authority, is making a great effort to preserve and document archaeological and historical areas in the Kingdom, in cooperation with various foreign missions in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” Housawi said.


Summer in Saudi Arabia: Baha attracts camping, hiking lovers and more

Summer in Saudi Arabia: Baha attracts camping, hiking lovers and more
Updated 53 min 6 sec ago

Summer in Saudi Arabia: Baha attracts camping, hiking lovers and more

Summer in Saudi Arabia: Baha attracts camping, hiking lovers and more
  • Among the forests scattered in Baha lies the Raghadan Forest Park, which attracts tourists to camp among the tall dark green juniper and acacia trees

BAHA: In Saudi Arabia’s southern region, the clouds embrace the peaks of the high mountains in Baha to create an artistic painting that attracts visitors from around the globe. 

Dubbed the “City of Fog” and the “Neighbor of the Clouds,” the city features forests with picturesque nature scenes that will charm any camping lover.

In the mountains, hikers can summit peaks of high altitude, and for the intellectuals, a date with heritage and ancient history in the museums and majestic forts awaits.

The various terrains between valleys, mountains, and forests offer summer temperatures that do not exceed 32 degrees Celsius. In the evening, the temperature falls to 17 degrees, which makes for an outstanding summer atmosphere for tourists coming from high-temperature areas.

Among the forests scattered in Baha lies the Raghadan Forest Park, which attracts tourists to camp among the tall dark green juniper and acacia trees. This forest overlooks the King Fahd Mountain Road that connects Baha with the Tihama area. Tourists can enjoy watching the clouds rise from Tihama to the mountain tops in the Sarat area in the early hours of the morning. In the afternoon, clouds often laden with water particles fall somewhere in Baha.

Visitors to the farms in the region can pick apples, pomegranates, apricots, and other fruits and eat them on site. Plants and natural crops are irrigated by rainwater or from nearby rain reservoirs.

Forest and farm visitors should not miss tasting locally produced honey from the trees and watching the process of filtering and extracting the honey from the scattered beehives in the summer. Visitors can buy the natural honey, which is free from preservatives, and take it home with them as a souvenir.

However, the fun does not stop here. Baha has prepared safe paths for hikers to ascend the mountains, and when they reach the summit, paragliding through the skies of Baha is also available.

The sun meets vertically with the roofs of the historical castles and forts in the region, leaving history lovers with the opportunity to discover landmarks and monuments immortalized by the ancient inhabitants of the region.

All of these unique features qualified Baha to be among the 11 tourist destinations announced by the Saudi Tourism Authority through the “Visit Saudi Arabia” platform. The authority launched the Saudi Summer Program 2021 under the slogan “Our Summer, Your Mood,” from June 24 until the end of September.


Who’s Who: Randah Al-Hothali, a director general at the Saudi Fund for Development

Who’s Who: Randah Al-Hothali, a director general at the Saudi Fund for Development
Updated 29 July 2021

Who’s Who: Randah Al-Hothali, a director general at the Saudi Fund for Development

Who’s Who: Randah Al-Hothali, a director general at the Saudi Fund for Development

Randah Al-Hothali was recently appointed director general of the corporate communications department at the Saudi Fund for Development.

Al-Hothali previously worked with the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY). During her tenure at SDRPY, she worked as head of outreach in the media and strategic communications directorate and was general director of the same department. She served as the official SDRPY spokesperson and its representative at local and international events. Al-Hothali also managed the partnerships and international cooperation department at SDRPY.

In 2019, she became a member of the World Federation of UN Friends.

In July 2018, Al-Hothali worked at the Decision Support Center of the Royal Court in Riyadh as a senior think tank specialist researcher and analyst.

Between 2013 and 2018, she worked at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C. as an economic and international trade adviser.

In 2013, Al-Hothali also worked at a computer software company called Avalara, Inc. in Falls Church, Virginia in the US as an e-file processor for businesses around the US.

She obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics from George Mason University, US. She later received a master’s degree in international commerce and policy from the same university.

In 2015, Al-Hothali went to the University of Oxford, UK, to attend the EU and the Challenge of Globalization program.

She worked as an intern at two banking bodies, including the World Bank in Washington, D.C., in 2010, and the National Commercial Bank in Jeddah in 2007.

Al-Hothali has received various certifications from institutions including UNICEF, Union of OIC News Agencies, the US State Department, UNHCR, JFC Humanitarian Operations and the Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies.


Arab coalition intercepts drone launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition intercepts drone launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia
Updated 29 July 2021

Arab coalition intercepts drone launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia

Arab coalition intercepts drone launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Arab coalition said on Wednesday that Saudi air defenses intercepted a drone launched by Yemen’s Houthi militia toward Saudi Arabia.
The coalition said the Iran-backed Houthis continue attempts to deliberately target civilians and civilian objects in the Kingdom.
On Tuesday, the coalition said it intercepted and destroyed four ballistic missiles and two explosive-laded drones launched by the Houthi militia toward the Kingdom’s southern Jazan region.