Rawasheen in Makkah: A civilized window to the past and present

Rawasheen in Makkah: A civilized window to the past and present
1 / 3
Hijazi people cared a lot about the quality of their houses’ interiors and temperatures. Rawasheen helped them reduce the consumption of energy to cool the inside of buildings. (Supplied)
Rawasheen in Makkah: A civilized window to the past and present
2 / 3
Photo/Supplied
Rawasheen in Makkah: A civilized window to the past and present
3 / 3
Rawasheen served as panoramic windows for mothers to watch their children in the streets while maintaining total privacy. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 24 April 2021

Rawasheen in Makkah: A civilized window to the past and present

Rawasheen in Makkah: A civilized window to the past and present
  • Architectural designs reflect the identity of the holy city, and a culture that is still present in the minds of Makkans

MAKKAH: Visitors to Makkah can see Makkan Islamic architecture throughout the city’s central area and main streets, where Rawasheen and Hijazi doors are still present on the facades of hotels overlooking the Grand Mosque.

These architectural designs reflect the identity of Makkah, and a culture that is still present in the minds of Makkans, who see it as an extension of the past, and an embodiment of the holy city’s historical wealth.
Architect Talal Samarkandi told Arab News that Rawasheen — the elaborate patterned wooden window frames found in old buildings in Makkah and Jeddah that maximize natural light and air flow — are rooted in Hijazi architectural heritage, constructed with rare wooden tools, which used to be purchased from India, Indonesia and Sudan.
“The heritage is featured on doors, windows and mashrabiyas (a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework),” Samarkandi told Arab News, adding that beautiful inscriptions used to decorate the sharabeesh holes in ceilings and doors. “People believed that the house was identified by its door, and thus, made sure that their doors and windows were beautiful and stylish.”
He added that timber was used for environmental purposes, as wood is a poor conductor of heat and is used for ventilation.




Rawasheen — the elaborate patterned wooden window frames found in old buildings in Makkah and Jeddah that maximize natural light and air flow — are rooted in Hijazi architectural heritage, constructed with rare wooden tools, which used to be purchased from India, Indonesia and Sudan. (Supplied)

According to Samarkandi, Hijazi people cared a lot about the quality of their houses’ interiors and temperatures. Rawasheen helped them reduce the consumption of energy to cool the inside of buildings. Rawasheen served as panoramic windows for mothers to watch their children in the streets while maintaining total privacy. They were also the “social media” of the age, allowing people to communicate with their surroundings. These stylish windows were also used as trade portals, where people could dangle baskets tied to a rope to buy goods from street vendors outside.

Embracing the Makkan legacy promotes the heritage and architectural charm of the city, and creates a new touristic destination for visitors from different cultural backgrounds.

Dr. Samir Barqah, History researcher

“Mashrabiyas were placed in front of the Rawasheen to cool houses, with holes in them that allowed fresh air to enter the rooms of the houses,” Samarkandi added.
One of the advantages of the Hijazi customs in old buildings was respecting rights and duties, he noted. Owners of taller buildings could not stare at their neighbors in lower buildings; mashrabiyas were closed and tilted from the top.
The art of inscriptions on doors developed and flourished. At the time, carpenters used to engrave their names on the doors, with some now centuries old.
Wooden doors were also carved in Islamic architectural patterns, forms and shapes, such as the five-pointed star that represents Islam’s five pillars, the eight-pointed star usually placed at the base of the dome over the seat of a ruler or person of power, the 12-pointed star that represents the months of the year, and the crescent, which is related to the moon in all tribes, used to determine the Qibla.

HIGHLIGHT

Wooden doors were also carved in Islamic architectural patterns, forms and shapes, such as the five-pointed star that represents Islam’s five pillars, the eight-pointed star usually placed at the base of the dome over the seat of a ruler or person of power, the 12-pointed star that represents the months of the year, and the crescent, which is related to the moon in all tribes, used to determine the Qibla.

“Each country has its own architectural trends, which are inspired by its culture and history. Our trends kicked off in Makkah, where we see a lot of these architectural features in the central area and the main facades of Makkah’s streets,” he added.
History researcher Dr. Samir Barqah suggested Makkah has a unique architectural legacy. “Makkah has witnessed different architectural cultures over the years,” he said.
“Embracing the Makkan legacy promotes the heritage and architectural charm of the city, creates a new touristic destination for visitors from different cultural backgrounds, and encourages pilgrims to stay longer in Makkah, which would boost the economy and create hundreds of jobs for nationals,” he told Arab News.


Misguided advice on diet, gym workouts ‘doing more harm than good’, say fitness specialists

Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms. (Shutterstock)
Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms. (Shutterstock)
Updated 19 September 2021

Misguided advice on diet, gym workouts ‘doing more harm than good’, say fitness specialists

Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms. (Shutterstock)
  • "I have heard a lot of wrong facts and tips about sports. A lot of people on social media don’t have a certificate in fitness, and I see them advising people based on their personal experience and not studies"
  • Fitness myth-busters come out fighting

JEDDAH: With interest in sport surging in the Kingdom, Saudis embarking on gym and exercise regimes have been warned to beware of self-appointed “experts” peddling fitness myths that can ruin workouts and even damage health.

Fitness specialists say that unreliable information on the internet and poorly researched advice can have a negative influence on those eager to join gyms.

Extreme diets and exercise programs can cause more harm than good, they warn.

Yumna Khalid, a 23-year-old university student, told Arab News that she has had many such experiences at her gym but has finally learned how to deal with them.

Extreme diets and exercise programs can cause more harm than good, experts warn

“Someone once told me that the more she sweats, the more fat she will lose, and that if she is not sweating heavily, her workout will not work. I said nothing but sympathized with the woman since she was working out wearing a hoodie in the scorching heat of Jeddah.”

Khalid said that people “should just listen to their bodies” to judge if a workout or diet is right for them.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Yumna Khalid, a 23-year-old university student, said that people ‘should just listen to their bodies’ to judge if a workout or diet is right for them.

• Nouf Hamdallah, a fitness trainer with nine years’ experience, said ‘the problem with these people is that they think what they are doing is the only right way. ‘They should just focus on themselves and not spread information that they aren’t sure about.’

• Suliman Abduljawad, a Guinness world record holder in fitness, said ‘one of the mistaken things that people are trading is that the female body is harder to train — that’s not true, it’s a simple science.’

“The body has a way of telling you. Do the workout that makes you feel good during and afterwards. If a workout or a diet feels wrong then just don’t do it. Listen to your body and you will be set.”

She added: “But listen to it when it is being reasonable and not at 3 a.m. when you want to eat eight donuts and a tub of ice cream.”

Casey Ho, a YouTuber who has been uploading home workout videos since 2009, was subjected to a wave of hate after announcing that she wanted to lose weight and get in the best shape of her life.

In her video, titled “How I lost 17.5 pounds in 12 weeks — My 90-Day Journey,” she said: “No, I don’t have an eating disorder. No, I don’t have a body image disorder. No, I don’t hate myself and, no, this journey wasn’t for you — it was for me.”

In a podcast called Off the Pills, Ho said that the body positive movement has grown so much over the years that now if someone wants to lose weight and look a certain way, they are labeled “anti-body positive” and kicked out of the community.

Returning to unhealthy habits is not the answer, she said. “It is a commitment of a lifetime.”

The trainer urged gym-goers to avoid training others if they are unqualified, adding that there was a big chance the advice might be harmful. (Shutterstock)

Nouf Hamdallah, a fitness trainer with nine years’ experience, said: “The problem with these people is that they think what they are doing is the only right way. They should just focus on themselves and not spread information that they aren’t sure about.”

According to Hamdallah, the best way to deal with such people is to ask: “What is the source of the information?”

She added: “They will think back on what they have said and if they do have a genuine source, you can take their advice.”

The trainer also urged gym-goers to avoid training others if they are unqualified, adding that there was a big chance the advice might be harmful.

Hamdallah said that a healthy lifestyle is about changing habits little by little, and is not about following a particular diet. “People tend to get the two mixed.

For a healthy life, it’s just a caloric deficit, physical activity and enough sleep. It’s very simple.”

The trainer defined her personal experience as a series of trial and error, and said that still tries new approaches and methods in her diet and during her workouts.

She also said that her schedules are flexible, and she will not force herself to do something that does not feel right.

Depending on body type, results can take up to a year to show, while sometimes it is just three months, Hamdallah added.

I believe that a lot of Saudis can break a lot of records. I’ve seen the potential they have, but I think they just don’t know how to do it. I am more than happy to guide and help them.

Suliman Abduljawad, Guinness world record holder in fitness

However, according to Khalid, adopting a healthier lifestyle is not as tricky as it sometimes appears.

“I promise you, a healthy lifestyle isn’t just boiled chicken breast and white rice or a sad piece of bread. Now, more than ever, you can find delicious foods on the internet that is so good that you won’t even miss the sugar-filled or fried foods that you crave.”

Khalid said that she was discouraged because people kept telling her that she was eating, drinking and exercising the wrong way, and she was not seeing results in fitness. She later discovered that it takes time to change.

“That is OK. I have my own pace and I am happy with that,” she said.

Adding to the warnings, a Saudi champ has joined the fight against fitness myths

Suliman Abduljawad, a Guinness world record holder in fitness, joined social media to campaign for better messaging around fitness and exercise.

“I have heard a lot of wrong facts and tips about sports. A lot of people on social media don’t have a certificate in fitness, and I see them advising people based on their personal experience and not studies,” he told Arab News.

Abduljawad said that he decided to step in and educate people about the “rights and wrongs” of training.

The fitness champ said that he receives messages every day from followers asking him about information they read online.

Female personal trainers in Saudi Arabia are expensive compared with other countries because of the myths, he said.

“One of the mistaken things that people are trading is that the female body is harder to train — that’s not true, it’s a simple science,” Abduljawad said.

He also rejects the claim that training is bad for children. “I have a son, I cannot wait until he is 3 years old to train him. People say that children should not train, which is wrong. Their training is fun and they will enjoy it.”

Abduljawad said that he read Guinness World Records books as a child and wondered why there were no Saudi record-holders. It was then that he decided to work hard on himself.

He eventually broke two world records after a long journey — one in side jump push-up and one in archer push-up in 2020.

“I believe that a lot of Saudis can break a lot of records. I’ve seen the potential they have, but I think they just don’t know how to do it. I am more than happy to guide and help them.”

Abduljawad offers online training and dreams of having his own gym one day. “I’m aiming break 10 more world records.”


Hundreds of volunteers help clean up Jeddah beaches

The group organized the event to mark World Cleanup Day, one of the biggest global civic movements,  in an effort to achieve a cleaner planet. (Supplied)
The group organized the event to mark World Cleanup Day, one of the biggest global civic movements, in an effort to achieve a cleaner planet. (Supplied)
Updated 20 September 2021

Hundreds of volunteers help clean up Jeddah beaches

The group organized the event to mark World Cleanup Day, one of the biggest global civic movements,  in an effort to achieve a cleaner planet. (Supplied)
  • They cleared 50,000 items of trash during event organized by a bloggers’ group to mark World Cleanup Day

JEDDAH: More than 500 people helped to clean up Khaleej Salman and Alexandria beaches in Jeddah on Saturday during an event organized by Hejaz Bloggers, a Saudi community group.

The volunteers picked up trash from the beach, while 20 divers removed waste from the seabed. Altogether, more than 50,000 discarded items were removed.
The group organized the event to mark World Cleanup Day on Sept. 18, one of the biggest global civic movements, which spans 180 countries in an effort to achieve a cleaner planet.
“We are a committed team united to restore the environmental dimension into our lifestyles, and ultimately shape and build sustainable habits that improve the quality of life around the vast demographic,” Hejaz Bloggers organizer Ruaa Obied told Arab News. “In the end, we produce a better culture that can sustain its being across the centuries ahead.”

Saudi Vision 2030 is playing a big role in environmental issues through improvements to laws and regulations, and the promotion of recycling and use of sustainable products. It aims to develop eco-friendly practices that can lessen our footprint on the environment to boost the ecotourism sector.

Ruaa Obied, Hejaz Bloggers organizer

She said that Saudi Vision 2030 is playing a big role in environmental issues through improvements to laws and regulations, and the promotion of recycling and use of sustainable products.
“It aims to develop eco-friendly practices that can lessen our footprint on the environment to boost the ecotourism sector,” she added.
As the Kingdom aims to develop and grow its tourism sector, Obied believes efforts to improve and maintain a cleaner environment will play a key role in achieving this. This motivated the members of the bloggers’ group to take action and use their skills and public profile for the greater good.
“Blogging is heavily involved in physical activity, coupled with culture, sustainability and national tourism,” said Obied.
Group members will continue to use their influence in an effort to promote positive change, she added.
“We have amazing stuff in store, from World Volunteer Day to breast cancer awareness and so much more, to celebrate international days relating to the common good of Saudi society,” she said.


Saudi Education Ministry passes key test with over 90% of staff, students vaccinated

Ministry of Education used its capabilities to prepare schools for the new school year by organizing field tours and visits to monitor progress. (SPA)
Ministry of Education used its capabilities to prepare schools for the new school year by organizing field tours and visits to monitor progress. (SPA)
Updated 20 September 2021

Saudi Education Ministry passes key test with over 90% of staff, students vaccinated

Ministry of Education used its capabilities to prepare schools for the new school year by organizing field tours and visits to monitor progress. (SPA)
  • The ministry launched the central exam platform to measure the achievement level of students learning in-person and remotely, and enforce skills enhancement tests for public education from the second primary school grade to the first year of high school

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Education has achieved one of its five main targets following the start of the new school year after increasing the COVID-19 immunization rate of staff by 96.92 percent and students aged over 12 by 90.5 percent.
Other targets set by the authority include regularizing the in-person educational process while implementing precautionary measures, and completing updated requirements of the educational environment and its readiness for use in schools.
Additionally, the ministry now measures student achievement levels through organizing skills enhancement tests at the central exam platform, and is deepening relationships with families and parents to contribute to the educational journey of children.
The increase in immunization rates enhances the safe return to in-person learning, helps the education sector in achieving herd immunity and complements nationwide efforts.
The ministry urged all education sector employees to receive two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and enforce the precautionary measures and health requirements adopted by the Saudi Health Ministry and the Public Health Authority in all educational institutes.
It is the fourth week in the Kingdom of students attending classes in middle and high school, while students in primary school are studying remotely through the Madrasati platform.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The ministry urged all education sector employees to receive two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and enforce the precautionary measures and health requirements adopted by the Saudi Health Ministry and the Public Health Authority in all educational institutes.

• The ministry launched the central exam platform to measure the achievement level of students learning in-person and remotely, and enforce skills enhancement tests for public education from the second primary school grade to the first year of high school.

The Ministry of Education also used its capabilities to prepare schools for the new school year by organizing field tours and visits to monitor progress.
It provided materials for the implementation of precautionary measures, such as masks, sanitizers and thermometers, and finished the delivery of textbooks to students.
Moreover, schools performed simulation models of precautionary measure rollouts before the start of the school year, and increased readiness in transport services.
The ministry launched the central exam platform to measure the achievement level of students learning in-person and remotely, and enforce skills enhancement tests for public education from the second primary school grade to the first year of high school.
It reported that more than 3.5 million students in 14 days used the platform, demonstrating that digital educational processes can contribute to improving student performance and the overall educational structure.
The ministry praised its relationship with parents and their role in preparing children for the new school year, reassuring them of the safety and preparedness of the Kingdom’s educational system.


Saudi air defense forces chief visits military trade fair in London

Al-Amro attended the lunch banquet hosted by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, in the presence of British Defense Minister Ben Wallace. (SPA)
Al-Amro attended the lunch banquet hosted by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, in the presence of British Defense Minister Ben Wallace. (SPA)
Updated 20 September 2021

Saudi air defense forces chief visits military trade fair in London

Al-Amro attended the lunch banquet hosted by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, in the presence of British Defense Minister Ben Wallace. (SPA)
  • Al-Amro visited the pavilion of the Saudi General Authority for Military Industries and the Saudi Arabian Military Industries

LONDON: Lt. Gen. Mazyad bin Sulaiman Al-Amro, commander of the Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, led the Ministry of Defense delegation to the recently concluded Defense and Security Equipment International trade fair at the ExCel Center in London.
Al-Amro toured the facility and its various pavilions. He also visited the pavilion of the Saudi General Authority for Military Industries and the Saudi Arabian Military Industries. He also reviewed opportunities to transfer and localize military technologies as a part of the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plans.
Al-Amro attended the lunch banquet hosted by Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan, in the presence of British Defense Minister Ben Wallace. The party was attended by several officials of the British Ministry of Defense.
Wallace and a number of official delegations also inspected the Saudi pavilion, learning about the key targets of the military industry sector in the Kingdom, its promising investment opportunities and the pursuit of GAMI to support plans to reach Saudization of more than 50 percent of spending on military equipment and services by 2030.


Saudi commission plans to transform museum sector

The plan sets out significant expansion plans for museums across the country by 2024. (SPA)
The plan sets out significant expansion plans for museums across the country by 2024. (SPA)
Updated 36 min 57 sec ago

Saudi commission plans to transform museum sector

The plan sets out significant expansion plans for museums across the country by 2024. (SPA)
  • The Black Gold Museum in Riyadh, a permanent museum dedicated to artists’ interpretations of the history of oil, will open soon

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Museums Commission has announced its strategy for the transformation of the sector.

It includes ambitious plans to increase the number and types of museums across the Kingdom and boost visitor numbers. The focus on the nation’s cultural identity will be enhanced through the creation of a series of tangible assets across the country.

“The strategy will bring about best-practice, international-standard advancement in this vital cultural sector,” said Stefano Carboni, the commission’s CEO. “Our strategy will enrich the lives of all who reside in and visit the Kingdom.

“We will develop the sector through inspiring displays and programs, training the first true generation of museum-sector experts, and building diverse cultural platforms that attract local and international culture seekers.

“There are many stories to tell about the Kingdom, its past and its ambitious future, and we are excited for people to visit and experience it for themselves.”

Existing museums in Riyadh will be revised and remodeled, including the National Museum of Saudi Arabia in the city’s historical center, and the Masmak Fort Museum, which showcases a key site and events in the birth of the Kingdom. The plan also sets out significant expansion plans for museums across the country by 2024, including a number of flagship locations and some smaller venues.

The first new museum to open will be a smaller version of the Saudi Arabian Museum of Contemporary Art in the new JAX development in Diriyah. The Black Gold Museum in Riyadh, a permanent museum dedicated to artists’ interpretations of the history of oil, will open soon after in partnership with the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center. In addition, Borderless Jeddah, an immersive digital art space, is due to open in 2022 in partnership with international multimedia collective teamLab.

Medium-term plans include the opening of significant institutions such as the Royal Art Complex Museum, the Digital Art Museum, and the Museum of the Prince Mohammad bin Salman International Center for Arabic Calligraphy.

The strategy also aims to create, expand, curate and preserve collections and to build educational programs across the sector.