‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions
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Updated 22 October 2021

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

ALULA: Imagine stepping back into a time before cell phones, emails, or even paper. During this era, documenting important moments was simplified to sketching on rocks.
This is Ikmah mountain, or the “open library” as it is referred to by AlUla’s locals. AlUla was a highlight on the trading route many took through the Arabian Peninsula. Travelers stopped at the mountain to document their stories or carve their names for those who came after them.
“We call Ikmah the ‘open library.’ If you want to know why it has this name, have a look around for a few seconds and you will see inscriptions all over the mountain,” Amal Aljahani, an expert Rawi storyteller, told Arab News.

Ikmah has over 500 inscriptions from the Dadan and Lihyan civilization. The earliest texts from the mountain have been studied and translated by historians and archeologists and have been dated back to the ninth and 10th century B.C. 
The languages in the mountain include Aramaic, Thamudic, Dadanitic, Minaen, Nabatean, Greek, Latin, and Arabic. An important area for historians, Arabic linguistics experts, and archaeologists, the mountain offers a look back into the pre-Arabic era.
Tourists from the Kingdom and international visitors gather for hours to sit in front of the high peaks and observe the delicate techniques of the ancient language that turned into the modern Arabic letters we know today.

Some inscriptions were written by the region’s professional scribes while others were merely sketches by travellers and locals passing by years ago.
Many of these messages differed in meaning, some surviving inscriptions are names written in the ancient Arabic text, but many involve tales of the ongoing events of the local community.
These inscriptions described the kings who ruled the land, the religious beliefs of the people, and sometimes notes for other visitors.
Ikmah held a high place in the hearts of the locals and travelers. It was a sacred ground for pagan worship and sacrifice along with documentation.  One of the inscriptions on the mountains was written by a woman named “Mirwa,” who carved her name into the rocks and detailed an offering she made to her deity.

“The woman used to come here and give her deity offerings to bless her and her children. The inscription says the deity blessed her and her children. Those are the kinds of things the people wrote here on this beautiful mountain,” Aljahani said.
Mirwa returned to add another inscription that her prayers were answered and her sons were blessed.
Some of these inscriptions are personal, while others are names or drawings of animals and musical instruments.
The oldest inscription in the Islamic era — known as the Naqsh Zuhayr — and the earliest glimpses into the Arabic language are documented on the east side. The inscriptions date back to 644 A.D.
The mountain hosts different inscription methods, Aljahani said, such as “carving inside the alphabet to be clearer.”
He added: “The second way is what we call the 3D way. It is the hardest method. They beautifully carved in between the alphabet letters using sand stones for the message to be clearer.”
In 2017, the Royal Commission of AlUla closed the mountain to begin preparation for the public to visit. Ikmah is now prepared and open to the public under the commission’s supervision.

 

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

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French culture minister visits historic Jeddah

French culture minister visits historic Jeddah
Updated 04 December 2021

French culture minister visits historic Jeddah

French culture minister visits historic Jeddah
  • Bachelot toured various old parts of Jeddah, known locally as Al-Balad
  • The minister also visited Beit Nassif and Al-Shafei Mosque

JEDDAH: French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot visited Jeddah on Saturday during her visit to Saudi Arabia.  

Bachelot toured various old parts of the city, known locally as Al-Balad, visiting its historic houses and viewing authentic building patterns reflecting the identity and heritage of the region.  

The minister also visited Beit Nassif and Al-Shafei Mosque, where she was briefed on the various facilities, neighborhoods and landmarks that still exist today, and listened to an explanation about the excavation of antiquities carried out across Jeddah. 

Al-Balad, downtown Jeddah and the Gate to Makkah, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Last month, Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan praised the strong relations between the Kingdom and France, including their respective cultural heritages, during his meeting with Bachelot in Paris.

The prince discussed ways to strengthen cultural cooperation between the two countries, including through exchange programs and the Historic Jeddah Revival Project, in addition to research and capabilities development.


Saudi crown prince, French president, and Lebanese PM hold telephone call

Saudi crown prince, French president, and Lebanese PM  hold telephone call
Updated 04 December 2021

Saudi crown prince, French president, and Lebanese PM hold telephone call

Saudi crown prince, French president, and Lebanese PM  hold telephone call
  • PM expressed Lebanon's appreciation for efforts made by Kingdom and France to stand by Lebanese people
  • Mikati: Government committed to taking all action that would strengthen relations with Kingdom and GCC

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's crown prince and France's president held a telephone call with Lebanon's prime minister on Saturday.

During the phone call, Najib Mikati expressed Lebanon's appreciation for the great efforts made by the Kingdom and France to stand by the Lebanese people.

He added that his government was committed to taking all action that would strengthen relations with Saudi Arabia and Gulf Cooperation Council countries and rejects everything that would harm their security and stability.

The three countries agreed to work together to support comprehensive reforms necessary in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia and France emphasized their keenness on the establishment of security and stability in Lebanon.

French President Emmanuel Macron met Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Al-Salam palace in Jeddah on Saturday during the final leg of his two-day Gulf tour.


Saudi Arabia announces two more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces two more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 04 December 2021

Saudi Arabia announces two more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces two more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 539,011
  • A total of 8,842 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced two deaths from COVID-19 and 29 new infections on Saturday.

Of the new cases, nine were recorded in Riyadh, seven in  Jeddah, three in Makkah, two in Taif, and two in Dhahran. Several other cities recorded one new case each.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 539,011 after 21 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,842 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 47.6 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


French President Macron meets Saudi crown prince in final Gulf stop

French President Macron meets Saudi crown prince in final Gulf stop
Updated 15 min 18 sec ago

French President Macron meets Saudi crown prince in final Gulf stop

French President Macron meets Saudi crown prince in final Gulf stop

RIYADH: French President Emmanuel Macron was received by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Al-Salam palace in Jeddah on Saturday .

The two leaders dicussed bilateral cooperation and issues of interest in the region, and the crown prince hosted a working lunch for the president.

The lunch was also attended by the Crown Prince of Bahrain Prince Salman bin Hamad and other officials.

A joint Saudi-French statement welcomed the strength of economic relations between the two countries and agreed on the importance of strengthening economic partnership, enhancing private sector participation, exchanging expertise, developing human capabilities, and utilizing opportunities offered by the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and France's 2030 economic plan in various sectors of joint interest.

The Kingdom welcomed the increased cooperation of French companies in sectors within Vision 2030, including energy, water, and waste management, sustainable cities, transportation, civil aviation, mobility solutions, digital economy and health.

France also desires to attract Saudi investments in the public and private sectors, namely in new technologies, emerging companies and industries of the future, the statement said.

The Kingdom, meanwhile, aspires to boost Saudi private sector investments in the French market.

Macron arrived in Jeddah earlier on Saturday and was received at the airport by Makkah governor Prince Khalid Al-Faisal.

The visit is part of Macron’s Gulf tour, during which he is visiting Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar between Dec. 3 and 4. 

Saudi and French firms are expected to discuss cooperation in several fields including energy, finance and tourism.  

Speaking to the press in Dubai, Macron said Saudi Arabia, the most populated and most powerful country in the Gulf, held the key to preserving peace and stability in the Middle East, and also in the French endeavor to assist Lebanon.


Saudi aid agency discusses education efforts at UN conference

Dr. Hana Salem highlighted the efforts made by Saudi Arabia  to support education. (SPA)
Dr. Hana Salem highlighted the efforts made by Saudi Arabia to support education. (SPA)
Updated 04 December 2021

Saudi aid agency discusses education efforts at UN conference

Dr. Hana Salem highlighted the efforts made by Saudi Arabia  to support education. (SPA)
  • The conference tackled the importance of improving the quality of education, spreading knowledge, exchanging experiences and innovation in times of crisis

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center recently participated virtually in the “Leaving No One Behind: Benefiting from Innovation to Access Quality Education and Information” conference.

This comes within the framework of the annual program “Innovate Now … Live Tomorrow” and the Regional Digital Inclusion Week for Arab States organized by the International Telecommunication Union and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Speakers from the regional offices of UNESCO and concerned authorities participated in the two-day conference.

During the conference, KSrelief was represented by the director of the community support department, Dr. Hana Salem, who highlighted the efforts made by the Kingdom to support education — 89 educational projects were presented in more than 14 countries, at a budget amounting to nearly $200 million.

She touched on the educational projects provided during the coronavirus disease pandemic, indicating that the center works closely with local and international organizations to meet people’s needs and search for appropriate and sustainable solutions to ensure access to education.

She also stressed the center’s keenness to support innovation in educational projects.

For his part, the head of initiatives at the International Telecommunication Union, Alex Wong, discussed the Giga initiative, which aims to connect every school to the internet and ensure access to education for every child.

The conference tackled the importance of improving the quality of education, spreading knowledge, exchanging experiences and innovation in times of crisis, especially in light of the challenges the world is witnessing during the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on education.

It also touched on the use of artificial intelligence systems in education and intellectual property rights and the importance of developing educational cadres to keep pace with the need in digital education.