‘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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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 arrives in Saudi Arabia as part of regional tour

French President Macron arrives in Saudi Arabia as part of regional tour
Updated 27 min 33 sec ago

French President Macron arrives in Saudi Arabia as part of regional tour

French President Macron arrives in Saudi Arabia as part of regional tour

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received French President Emmanuel Macron as he arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday as part of an official visit.  

Macron arrived in Jeddah earlier today and was received at the airport by Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, governor of Makkah and royal advisor. 

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.


Saudi health minister reviews new omicron COVID-19 variant

Saudi health minister reviews new omicron COVID-19 variant. (SPA)
Saudi health minister reviews new omicron COVID-19 variant. (SPA)
Updated 04 December 2021

Saudi health minister reviews new omicron COVID-19 variant

Saudi health minister reviews new omicron COVID-19 variant. (SPA)
  • Having a fully vaccinated status on the app allows people to take part in any social and commercial activities

RIYADH: The committee in charge of implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia has held its 283rd meeting, chaired by Minister of Health Fahd Al-Jalajel.
During the meeting, which involved 25 government bodies, the participants reviewed the situation regarding the new omicron COVID-19 variant.
As of Feb. 1 next year, all those above the age of 18 will need a booster jab to keep their fully vaccinated status on the Tawakkalna application, an Interior Ministry source said.
Having a fully vaccinated status on the app allows people to take part in economic, commercial, cultural, sports or tourist activities, attend any cultural, scientific, social or recreational event, enter any government or private establishment, and travel on planes and public transport.
Those exempt from taking the vaccine against coronavirus as listed on the app do not need to take the booster dose.
The source stressed the need for everyone to adhere to all preventive measures and approved health protocols.

 


Saudi Arabia registers 1 COVID-19 death, 38 new infections

A person receives a dose of the Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a vaccination site at the Westfield shopping centre in London, Britain, December 3, 2021. (REUTERS)
A person receives a dose of the Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a vaccination site at the Westfield shopping centre in London, Britain, December 3, 2021. (REUTERS)
Updated 04 December 2021

Saudi Arabia registers 1 COVID-19 death, 38 new infections

A person receives a dose of the Pfizer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a vaccination site at the Westfield shopping centre in London, Britain, December 3, 2021. (REUTERS)
  • More than 22.5 million people have been fully vaccinated in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia confirmed one new COVID-19-related death on Friday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,840.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 38 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 549,848 people have now contracted the disease. Of the current cases, 41 remain in critical condition.
The ministry also announced that 24 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 538,990. More than 47.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. More than 22.5 million people have been fully vaccinated.
The ministry, which has 587 centers throughout the Kingdom dealing with inoculations, has urged citizens who have not yet received a vaccine to get one.
It also renewed calls for people to adhere to precautionary measures and register with the Sehhaty app to receive vaccines.
Meanwhile, testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have helped millions of people since the pandemic outbreak.
Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while Tetamman clinics offer treatment to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.