Red Sea shipwreck offers a clue of sheer scale of Saudi Arabia’s maritime heritage

Special Red Sea shipwreck offers a clue of sheer scale of Saudi Arabia’s maritime heritage
Marine archaeologists from Saudi Arabia and University of Naples “L’Orientale” document some of the hundreds of storage jars found at the Umm Lajj wreck site. (Ministry of Culture/University of Naples)
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Updated 12 October 2022

Red Sea shipwreck offers a clue of sheer scale of Saudi Arabia’s maritime heritage

Red Sea shipwreck offers a clue of sheer scale of Saudi Arabia’s maritime heritage
  • The Umm Lajj wreck lies at a depth of around 22 meters, 180 km north of the modern port of Yanbu
  • In August, the Saudi Heritage Commission launched plans to survey 400 km of the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast

LONDON: At first glance, the blue-and-white porcelain cup lying intact on the sandy seabed looks as if it might have been dropped overboard from a boat only yesterday.

In fact, the cup, one of hundreds scattered about the immediate area, has lain beneath the waves for more than 250 years.

Together with the large merchant ship that took it to the bottom, the lost cargo not only hints at the story of a long-forgotten tragedy, but also offers a clue to the sheer scale of the still largely obscure maritime heritage of Saudi Arabia.

The Umm Lajj wreck, named for the nearest town on the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast, lies at a depth of around 22 meters, between Al Wajh lagoon and Al-Hassan Island, approximately 180 kilometers north of the modern port of Yanbu.




A simple cup on the seabed off Umm Lajj is thought to have been made in China and transported to the Red Sea in the 18th century. (Ministry of Culture/University of Naples)

It was discovered more than 15 years ago by recreational divers and, before access to the site could be officially restricted, was partially looted.

In 2015, the Heritage Commission of the Saudi Ministry of Culture placed the waters between Yanbu and Umm Lajj under protection and invited a team from the University of Naples “L’Orientale” to join Saudi archaeologists in carrying out a survey of the site – and a fascinating piece of the Kingdom’s emerging jigsaw of maritime history began to emerge from the depths.

What they found were traces of the remains of a large, mid-18th-century merchant ship, about 40 meters long. Although partially buried in the sand, some of the vessel’s timbers were still visible above the seabed. Lying around the wreck site was some of its cargo, including hundreds of jars, other storage vessels, and hundreds of small porcelain cups, many still intact.

Near what is thought to be the stern of the ship is a mound of about 1,000 earthenware qulal jars, once commonly used throughout Egypt and Arabia to hold liquids, now calcified into a single, solid mass. Many more are likely to be under the sand.

The wreck lies at right-angles to the reef, suggesting the ship might have met its fate at anchor, perhaps while seeking shelter from the region’s prevailing north-westerly winds.

What sent the vessel to the bottom remains uncertain. Possibly it foundered in a storm or ran aground on the reef. There might even have been a catastrophic fire on board – a few fragments of burnt wood were found among the wreckage.

More importantly, however, the archaeologists have been able to piece together the story of the ship and its crew, contributing to the growing understanding of the maritime heritage of Saudi Arabia and the wider Red Sea region.

For the past few decades, a tremendous amount of archaeological work has been carried out in Saudi Arabia, building an increasingly complete picture of a complex heritage that stretches back to the earliest days of human history.




Archaeologist Chiara Zazzaro, co-director of underwater exploration at the site.  (Ministry of Culture/University of Naples)

Thanks to having been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, treasures such as the AlUla region, home of the ancient Nabataean city of Hegra, Diriyah, the birthplace of Saudi Arabia, and the Hail region, with its wealth of rock art documenting more than 10,000 years of human history, are becoming well known around the world.

Now attention is turning to what lies beneath the waves in the waters off Saudi Arabia, and the starting point is a simple cup on the seabed off Umm Lajj, which is thought to have been made in China and transported to the Red Sea in the 18th century.

In August, the Saudi Heritage Commission, in collaboration with King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, launched plans for an unprecedented underwater investigation that would survey 400 km of the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast.

It will start at the site of the Umm Lajj wreck and work its way north to Ras Al-Sheikh Hameed, the sandy cape in Tabuk province that is the western tip of mainland Saudi Arabia.

Multiple mysteries are waiting to be solved, including the location of a number of ports mentioned by classical historians, and thought to be located along Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastline.

These include the ancient port of Charmuthas, described in the second century B.C. by the Greek historian Agatharchides as the best harbor on the coast, capable of sheltering 2,000 ships at once.

Some archaeologists believe this was located in a wide body of water accessed through a narrow sharm, or inlet, some 30 km up the coast from Yanbu, still frequented by small fishing boats and other recreational craft.

Iotabe, an island that served as a trade port and a Roman taxation center in the first millennium, was first mentioned by contemporary Roman historians in the fourth century and has been associated by some with the strategically important island of Tiran, at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba.

The large lagoon of Al-Wajh, just north of the Umm Lajj wreck, has been suggested as the possible site of two ancient ports. One was Egra, mentioned in the first century by the Greek geographer Strabo as a seaside village associated with Hegra, 160 km inland. The other is another lost Nabataean port, Leuke Kome, or Horse Bay, also referred to by Strabo.




The Umm Lajj wreck, named for the nearest town on the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast, lies at a depth of around 22 meters. (Ministry of Culture/University of Naples)

Some of these sites will be included in the survey. Others have been identified by a team of marine biologists that has already surveyed the Al Wajh lagoon, just to the north of the wreck site, as part of an 11-month study of the entire area designated for development by The Red Sea Development Co., to identify and protect the area’s wildlife and ecosystems.

Chiara Zazzaro, an archaeologist at The University of Naples “L’Orientale” and co-director with Romolo Loreto of underwater investigations at the Umm Lajj wreck, said: “They aren’t archaeologists, but they have carefully noted the position of every piece of potential underwater archaeological evidence they found, and they have a list of a dozen places, along the Al Wajh bank alone.”

It is not clear yet if each of these sites is the wreck of a ship. But Zazzaro and her colleagues were invited to dive on one last month. “This one for sure is a shipwreck. There are jars, similar to the ones we have found at Umm Lajj, and wooden remains,” she added.

Meanwhile, as the most extensive maritime survey of the Red Sea coast ever carried out gets underway, the Umm Lajj wreck is to become the focus of the Kingdom’s first underwater archaeological excavation.

The project is being masterminded by The Red Sea Development Co., which in partnership with the Ministry of Culture is planning to transform more than 28,000 square kilometers of pristine lands, islands, and waters along Saudi Arabia’s west coast into a sustainable tourism destination that will make the most of the region’s stunning landscapes and heritage assets.

Speaking at the signing of agreements between the organization and ministry in November, John Pagano, chief executive officer of TRSDC, said: “The Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia is rich in history, positioned at the heart of global trading routes for centuries.

“Partnering with the heritage and museums commissions allows us to both explore the historical significance of this unique region and ensure the preservation of our discoveries.”

He pointed out that TRSDC was “committed to responsibly developing the extraordinary natural beauty and historical value of the Red Sea and we look forward to close collaboration to advance the Kingdom’s heritage conservation efforts.”

This year’s dives have added more material to the finds, wreck reminders that lives were probably lost: A spoon, a comb, some beads, and what appear to be coins.

These, Zazzaro said, were now being analyzed. “They have the same diameter as the Maria Theresa thaler, a type of silver coin that was first struck in 1741 and quickly became common currency in global trade. I hope they are: It would give us so much insight into the economy of that period.”
Other finds include coffee beans – the port of Mocha in Yemen was for many decades the source of much of the coffee consumed in Europe, grown on the flanks of the Sarawat Mountains that run down the eastern side of the Red Sea coast. The bowls of two Ottoman-style pipes hint at the origins of the crew.

Until excavation gets underway, only a few timbers are currently visible, but these are big enough to show that the ship was not a traditional Arab dhow.

“It is completely different. Dhows are normally shorter, a maximum of about 35 meters, and this is quite a massive structure. The planks are very thick, and the internal framing is also very big,” Zazzaro added.

She noted that the ship was almost certainly built on the Red Sea, probably in Egypt.

“We have analyzed the timber and it is European in origin, pine and oak, and we know from archival sources that there were shipyards in the Gulf of Suez that had access to these materials,” she said.

The excavation of the wreck is certain to uncover more secrets. But archaeologists have already pieced together much of the story of the ship, and how it fits into the broader picture of Egyptian-Arabian maritime trade before European expansion into the Red Sea.

The first thing the archaeologists realized was that there were striking similarities between the Umm Lajj ship and two other Red Sea wrecks, discovered off Egypt in 1969 and 1994.

The cargo found with both wrecks, a large 18th-century Ottoman ship discovered off the coast of Sharm El-Sheikh and a similar vessel excavated at Sadana Island, near Safaga in Egypt, was similar to that at Umm Lajj.

But it was expert analysis of the cups on the Umm Lajj wreck that allowed the ship to be dated, the route it had probably sailed to be determined, and its part in the overall pattern of trade in the region established.

In a paper published in 2018, Chiara Visconti, a professor in Chinese archaeology and history of art at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”, concluded that the Umm Lajj wreck could “be taken as important archaeological evidence of inter-Asiatic trade along the Red Sea – a sea that has as yet seen little archaeological exploration – and of the complexity of the trade routes used to transport Chinese porcelain along the Maritime Silk Road.”

She realized that the decorative pattern found on many of the cups – in particular, a pine tree with a knotty trunk emerging from rocky ground on one side and a single grassy clump on the other, known to historians as the Blue Pine design – had also been seen on tens of thousands of cups in the cargo of the Geldermalsen.




“This one for sure is a shipwreck. There are jars, similar to the ones we have found at Umm Lajj, and wooden remains,” Chiara Zazzaro said. (Ministry of Culture/University of Naples)

That ship, which belonged to the Dutch East India Co., had sunk off the coast of an island in Indonesia in 1752 while returning to the Netherlands from Canton with fresh stocks of highly prized Chinese porcelain.

Records show that in the spring of 1751, the Geldermalsen had sailed from Canton with a cargo of cups and other porcelain to Surat, a company trading hub in northwest India.

Visconti concluded that some of the porcelain then made its way from Surat on board an Indian vessel to Jeddah, where it was transferred to the Umm Lajj ship, “most likely one of the vessels that covered the central-northern sector of the Red Sea, plying the route from Jeddah to Suez.”

The Umm Lajj ship appears to have carried no cannon and, at a time when the Indian Ocean was a no-go zone for any but the most heavily armed merchantmen, “it hardly seems likely that a vessel that was to navigate the Indian Ocean would have set sail without some means of defense on board.”

One fascinating clue points to the intended destination of the lost cargo: An absence of saucers. In her paper, Visconti said: “In cargoes destined for Europe ... tea and coffee cups always went with their respective saucers. The Umm Lajj cargo consists of cups without saucers, which suggests it was destined for the Middle East market.”

Ultimately, it is envisaged that visitors to the Red Sea development will be able to dive on the Umm Lajj wreck site – on land and sea, Saudi Arabia is pursuing an open museums policy, placing cultural treasures at the heart of developments designed to bring tourists to the Kingdom.

Some of the items will be recovered and displayed in museums, but others, including the calcified mass of pots, will be left where they fell on the seabed, to be experienced in their discovered setting.

As an archaeologist, Zazzaro fully supports the principle of giving tourist divers access to underwater heritage sites.

“It has to be done responsibly, of course. But this is heritage for everyone, and the more people that can come and see it and learn about it, the better. It’s what makes our work meaningful,” she added.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, under which underwater sites are afforded the same status and protection as land-based sites.

The convention also contains basic principles that states should consider in their efforts to protect sunken archaeological sites, including giving preference to in-situ preservation.

Zazzaro said: “The annex to the convention states that before starting a project you have to think about what to do next, how to take care of the site and how to make sure local people know about it, and how to ensure everybody can enjoy these important finds.”

When excavated, she believes the ship should be left in place, in what is a naturally protective environment.




Marine archaeologists from Saudi Arabia and University of Naples “L’Orientale” document some of the hundreds of storage jars found at the Umm Lajj wreck site. (Ministry of Culture/University of Naples)

“It would be very difficult and expensive to remove, conserve, and display the wooden structure of the ship. Besides, it is best seen where it is – it will be quite a sight.

“The chance to dive on this wreck was a dream come true. It is so spectacular. At only 20 meters deep, the light penetrates down there, and the visibility is very good,” she added.

Although Saudi Arabia will increasingly benefit from opening up to the wider world, with visitors flocking to see its many heritage treasures, as the archaeological sites on land have been protected by a lack of visitors, so the underwater sites have also remained largely untouched.

“In the Mediterranean, many wrecks – certainly at about 20 meters – would have been largely pillaged, and it’s now rare to find an intact wreck at this sort of depth.

“But in Saudi Arabia there is a wealth of material waiting to be discovered along the Red Sea coast, and much of it is likely not to have been disturbed at all,” Zazzaro said.


New joint venture Tahaluf to support Saudi events sector

New joint venture Tahaluf to support Saudi events sector
Updated 29 November 2022

New joint venture Tahaluf to support Saudi events sector

New joint venture Tahaluf to support Saudi events sector
  • The venture is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals to achieve economic diversification and create employment opportunities for Saudi citizens

RIYADH: The Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones and Informa PLC recently launched the joint venture Tahaluf, which aims to train young Saudi women and men in events administration and attract international events into Saudi Arabia.

The venture is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals to achieve economic diversification and create employment opportunities for Saudi citizens.

Faisal Al-Khamisi, chairman of the board of directors of the federation, said: “The Kingdom has hosted a wide range of global events in recent years, and now the federation is investing in increasing Saudi events and activities and the related creative and digital sectors though Tahaluf.”

Faisal Al-Kahmisi said SAFCSP is investing in increasing Saudi events and activities and the related creative and digital sectors through Tahaluf. (SPA)

He explained that the name Tahaluf (Arabic for “alliance”) reflects the strength of the partnership between the federation and Informa PLC.

“We plan to work closely together on this next phase of developing world-class events for Saudi Arabia,” Al-Khamisi said.

HIGHLIGHT

Tahaluf Academy will also be established, which will annually provide a group of young Saudi professionals with professional accreditation, practical training and experience in international events through a series of opportunities across Informa’s global business.

Tahaluf will benefit from the expertise of Informa PLC to create a world-class events sector in the Kingdom, which will diversify the Saudi economy, provide access to new opportunities for international companies, attract foreign investment and support commercial activity.

Michael Champion, regional executive vice president of Informa PLC, said: “We are honored to expand our partnership with SAFCSP to create Tahaluf, and together we aim to create sustainable events on a global level in Saudi Arabia that will be an international exhibition for the main sectors of the Saudi economy.”

Tahaluf Academy will also be established, which will annually provide a group of young Saudi professionals with professional accreditation, practical training and experience in international events through a series of opportunities across Informa’s global business.

Tahaluf will also bring to Saudi Arabia global events next year, including the DeepFest artificial intelligence conference, the food and hospitality festival Feast, the Middle East beauty festival Cosmoprof, the international real estate exhibition Cityscape, and an exhibition for the leading pharmaceutical brand CPHI in the Middle East.

“SAFCSP is a great leader in the mission of supporting skills development and job creation for Saudi youth in dynamic and professional sectors and will also contribute to the diversification and growth of key sectors in Saudi Arabia,” said Al-Khamisi.

“Informa has played a leading role in the events industry on an international level, including pioneering on-demand and data-driven digital experiences and driving sustainability initiatives across the sector. This expertise has helped launch successful events together in the past and will be invaluable...in delivering on the ambitious plans announced today,” he added.

 

 


Saudi Health Ministry to provide remote treatment for stroke patients

SVH allows patients to visit their local hospital and attend a real-time live video clinical session with top specialists. (SPA)
SVH allows patients to visit their local hospital and attend a real-time live video clinical session with top specialists. (SPA)
Updated 29 November 2022

Saudi Health Ministry to provide remote treatment for stroke patients

SVH allows patients to visit their local hospital and attend a real-time live video clinical session with top specialists. (SPA)
  • Seha Virtual Hospital was launched in February this year as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to digitize its healthcare sector, which forms part of the nation’s Vision 2030 program

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Health, represented by Seha Virtual Hospital and the Innovation Empowerment Center, recently signed a cooperation agreement with a local company to treat stroke patients remotely.

The agreement will ensure several health facilities are linked to Seha Virtual Hospital for the service. The pact includes training, lectures, workshops and simulations using artificial intelligence technology. Physicians will also be able to help diagnose rare diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Seha Virtual Hospital was launched in February this year as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to digitize its healthcare sector, which forms part of the nation’s Vision 2030 program.

Connected to 152 hospitals and covering more than 34 subspecialties throughout Saudi Arabia, Seha Virtual Hospital claims to be the largest of its kind in the world and the first in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Patients no longer need to travel to different parts of the Kingdom to be seen by specialized physicians, and are not limited to regular clinic hours.

Earlier, an official told Arab News that patients can now receive second and third medical opinions from the same consulting room.

Unlike simple video calls with doctors, the virtual hospital allows patients to visit their local hospital and attend a real-time live video clinical session with top specialists from across the Kingdom.

During the session, vital signs, tests and x-rays can be taken and shared with a network of specialists. Emergency interventions can be provided around the clock, with top specialists able to guide local junior staff with complex cases.

 


Diriyah’s At-Turaif and Bujairi Terrace set to bring to life the birthplace of the modern Saudi state

Diriyah’s At-Turaif and Bujairi Terrace set to bring to life the birthplace of the modern Saudi state
Updated 30 November 2022

Diriyah’s At-Turaif and Bujairi Terrace set to bring to life the birthplace of the modern Saudi state

Diriyah’s At-Turaif and Bujairi Terrace set to bring to life the birthplace of the modern Saudi state
  • Opening season of the two developments will include a vibrant public program of events, performances, and activities for all visitors
  • Visitors to UNESCO World Heritage site At-Turaif will get a chance to savor Bujairi Terrace’s eagerly awaited culinary district

RIYADH: The first phase of an aspirational project conceived five years ago, with the aim of showcasing the history of the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has come to fruition according to plan.

Diriyah Gate Development Authority’s At-Turaif and Bujairi Terrace developments were officially unveiled on Monday at a gala event during the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit.

Delegates from around the globe, Saudi public figures and DGDA staff joined together to witness a momentous development as Diriyah opened its doors to the international community.

Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb inaugurates the historic At- Turaif and Bujairi neighborhoods with a dramatic ceremony witnessed by guests from around the world. (DGDA)

“Tonight is a very historic night,” Jerry Inzerillo, the CEO of DGDA, told Arab News. “We are celebrating two big milestones.

“For the first time in the history of the Gulf, the Kingdom is welcoming the World Travel and Tourism Council, all the ministers of tourism, CEOs of hotel companies, CEOs of airline companies — it’s 5,000 people coming to the Kingdom to see what’s going to be one of the great tourism countries in the world.”

Inzerillo described what it means to him, personally, to see the fruit of the labor of his team in Diriyah on display before the eyes of the world.

“It makes my heart pound because the thing that I am most proud about is that we are 1,600 staff now: 85 percent Saudi, 36 percent Saudi superstar women, 16 percent of which are in management, and 14 percent of our staff is from Diriyah. My heart and soul are my team and that’s the thing that I am most proud about,” Inzerillo said.

Prudence Solomon Inzerillo, Inzerillo’s wife, said: “I think the changes are profound and I think the whole devotion and commitment to celebrating culture, heritage, history art … I think it’s such an incredible gift, it’s really important.

“I think that everyone should appreciate the history and the culture that you have. It’s so rich and diverse and I think that it is a real privilege and a pleasure to be here to witness the changes that have happened over the last four-plus years that we’ve been here and it’s extraordinary.”

The festivities began at the birthplace of the Kingdom, and the first ruling base of the Al-Saud family, the UNESCO World Heritage site of At-Turaif. In front of Salwa Palace, a 10,000 square meter complex the original parts of which were built by Mohammed ibn Saud, the first ruler of the First Saudi State, tour guides stood waiting to show visitors around the site, moving along walkways once trodden by early Saudi rulers.

“Tonight is a very historic night,” Jerry Inzerillo, the CEO of DGDA, told Arab News. (DGDA)

Every handmade mud brick in the ancient buildings of At-Turaif has a story to tell, every wall holds the secrets of power struggles, and every corner conceals a tale of hospitality and unity.

The visitors from around the world saw not only the modernity and luxury of the present-day Kingdom but were able to take a step back in time as they watched live performances of traditional ardah dance and walked narrow pathways that paint an atmospheric picture of the Kingdom’s past.

The guests at this private event that marked the official opening of Bujairi and At-Turaif represented a diverse assemblage of visitors from numerous countries

Guadalupe Galvan Hernandez, for example, was visiting from Mexico City to attend the World Travel and Tourism Council summit.

“This is my first time in Saudi Arabia,” she told Arab News. “I have seen many things. Diriyah is amazing; it is all history. When we arrived we saw so many structures and it’s a blend of modernity and traditions.

FASTFACTS

• At-Turaif and Bujairi Terrace will open their doors to the public on Dec. 4. 

• The Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council is taking place for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

• At-Turaif will offer 75-minute guided walking tours in both Arabic and English that will take visitors through the original seal of power of the Al-Saudi family.

“The people are very kind, they are very nice people. Sometimes when you come from a country like Mexico it’s hard to understand some things and it makes you fear, somehow, the way you will be treated and they (the Saudis) were really, really kind and nice people.”

Following the tours of At-Turaif and the performances there, the guests made their way to the gates of Bujairi Terrace, where Inzerillo and Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb gave inaugural speeches. Inzerillo began by praising the Saudi leadership.

“I want to praise and give thanks to our dynamic prime minister, our Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been instrumental in every single detail of the Vision 2030 master plan for Diriyah,” he said.

“And thanks to his support we are one of the giga projects that tonight — on this historic night, in the birthplace of the Kingdom, the birthplace of the Arabian Peninsula, the ancestral house of Al-Saud — we open assets of 2030 in 2022.”

Diriyah Gate Development Authority’s At-Turaif and Bujairi Terrace developments were officially unveiled on Monday. (DGDA)

Al-Khateeb said: “Today we are celebrating the opening of phase one, (which is) just 1 to 2 percent of the total project, and we thank you for being with us today.

“This is a testimony and proof that Saudi Arabia started its planning and now we are in the execution phase and you will see an opening in all of the giga projects every year. Diriyah is a good example, with the opening of Bujairi Terrace.”

Many DGDA employees could not hide their emotions as the doors of Buajiri Terrace opened to welcome the world.

Among the guests at the inauguration was Helena Zakade Inzerillo, the teenage daughter of the DGDA CEO. In 2019, at the age of 12, she spoke to Arab News during King Salman’s inauguration of the Diriyah Gate project and told how proud she was of her father and his mission to transform the city “with his heart and soul.”

Three years later, she was delighted to be at Bujairi Terrace to see her father’s passion and ambitions come to life.

“When I first came four years ago and saw Diriyah I was absolutely in shock,” she said. “I mean, this is an absolutely beautiful place that nobody really knew about outside of the Kingdom.

“I really believe that people should be seeing this place, people should know about this place and the significance of it.

“To see it come to this, to see the success, to see so many people come from around the world, and to see people’s perspectives completely change upon arriving in Saudi Arabia, and seeing the hospitality of the people here and seeing the significance of our country here, it means so much to me.”

Diriyah has long been renowned for its hospitality and generosity, its strength and its power — now it opens its gates to the world. (DGDA)

Helena said she truly believes in her father’s mission to spread to the world the message and meaning of Diriyah and its importance to the Kingdom.

“This means so much to me, to my family as a whole,” she added. “We have seen the process over the past four years, the amount of hard work, the tireless hours of my dad’s work for the past four years here in Saudi.

“And we have seen the transformation of Riyadh, of Diriyah, and the passion of the place that my dad has spread and how much he loves this place.”

The scent of bukhour filled the air and the sounds of ardha music echoed through Wadi Hanifah as history and modernity merged in the form of the many luxury dining experiences. Following a gala dinner in Bujairi Terrace, a light show illuminated the pathways and walls of At-Turaif.

The laser and firework display lit up the Najdi architecture of Salwa Palace, and the sky above it, with the words “The city of the earth,” “Only one Diriyah,” and simply “Diriyah.”

“As a 2030 giga project, we are already opening assets in 2022,” Inzerillo said. “So Turaif, all redone; Bujairi district, 20 new restaurants and after tonight we will take a few days and open to the public in a few days; 2 km of the Wadi Hanifah; new sales centers; welcome centers; community centers. So 2030 is now 2022.”

Visitors to the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit enjoy a taste of traditional Saudi hospitality in the Kingdom’s birthplace. (DGDA)

At-Turaif and Bujairi Terrace will officially open to the public on Dec. 4, and Inzerello outlined what is next in store.

“After tonight we are going to open up a lot of assets,” he said. “We have the first hotels under construction that will open next year, the first museums that will open next year, we have already planted 6 million trees on our way to 50 million trees, plants and bushes.

“Every year now we will open assets, we will ground-break assets and we will announce assets every year until 2030.”

Diriyah has long been renowned for its hospitality and generosity, its strength and its power — now it opens its gates to the world to give visitors a taste of the past and a glimpse of the future.


Tuwaiq Academy in Riyadh launches 20 boot camps to boost tech skills

Twitter (@TuwaiqAcademy)
Twitter (@TuwaiqAcademy)
Updated 30 November 2022

Tuwaiq Academy in Riyadh launches 20 boot camps to boost tech skills

Twitter (@TuwaiqAcademy)
  • Applicants must be a student or graduate from one of the technical disciplines, and have previous knowledge of or a background in programming

JEDDAH: The Tuwaiq Academy, under the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, will launch 20 technology boot camps in partnership with major tech firms, including Amazon, Huawei and Alibaba.

The boot camps will offer participants the latest knowledge and expertise, and bridge the gap between modern technologies and business requirements.

Trainees will also develop their skills in advanced technology.

Boot camps will be held at the academy’s headquarters in Riyadh and will target about 500 trainees who will undergo training for about three months.

Accredited certificates of attendance will be provided by the academy at the completion of each boot camp.

The academy is offering a variety of boot camps, including Tuwaiq Camp, Alibaba Cloud Computing Camp, Tuwaiq Amazon Computing Camp, Solutions Architect (Associate), Solutions Architect (Professional), Systems Operation (Associate), AI Camp, Huawei Network Security Camp, and Website Development Camp.

Training will take place between Dec.11 and Jan.15, 2023.

Online registration for the camps can be accessed through the link: https://bootcamp.sa/bootcamps

Technical training programs will be provided in Arabic or English. Applicants must be a student or graduate from one of the technical disciplines, and have previous knowledge of or a background in programming.

Some boot camps require applicants to be graduates with a bachelor’s degree or higher in one of the technical and informatics disciplines, as well as proficiency in the English and full-time learning.

More than 3,000 people benefit from the Tuwaiq Academy through camps and programs it holds in partnership with major international companies specializing in digital, cybersecurity, emerging technologies, programming and drones.

 

 


Saudi Authority for People with Disabilities organizes sign language workshop for government agencies

Saudi Authority for People with Disabilities organizes sign language workshop for government agencies
Updated 29 November 2022

Saudi Authority for People with Disabilities organizes sign language workshop for government agencies

Saudi Authority for People with Disabilities organizes sign language workshop for government agencies
  • The workshop aims to teach the fundamentals of communication with deaf people and those with hearing impairments

RIYADH: The Saudi Authority for People with Disabilities organized a workshop for a variety of government sectors titled Fundamentals of communication in sign language” in Riyadh.

The workshop aims to teach the fundamentals of communication with deaf people and those with hearing impairments, as well as to raise awareness in government sectors about dealing and communicating with deaf people.

The workshop was attended by several government agencies, including the National Center for Events, the General Entertainment Authority, the National Center for Measuring the Performance of Public Agencies, the General Authority for Visual and Audiovisual Media, and many others.

The participants had hands-on experience with people with hearing impairments and how to communicate successfully with them.

This program also aims to create awareness among government agencies on the rights of people with hearing disabilities to achieve an inclusive society with sustainable service delivery.

The authority has worked on several awareness workshops for interacting with people with disabilities to achieve an inclusive society that promotes integration and is in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Saudi Vision 2030 objectives.

Sulaiman Alrumaikhan, a social communication manager at the authority, told Arab News: “The workshop … is a clear step toward ensuring the integration of people with disabilities into society.”

Sulaiman Alrumaikhan, a social communication manager at the Saudi Authority for People with Disabilities. (Supplied)

The establishment of such workshops has a tremendous impact on boosting awareness and, as a result, the integration and inclusion of people with disabilities into the labor market and society, he added.

Alrumaikhan added that sign language could be used in various sectors by having their relevant authority train them in the language.