MAKKAH: Saudi heritage chiefs have unveiled plans to take over the running of several historical and archaeological sites in the Kingdom and restore them as tourist destinations.
Among palaces earmarked by the Heritage Commission are Al-Bogari, Al-Kaaki, and Jabra in Taif, Mardhyah palace in Al-Ahsa, the Nabonidus site, and properties in Al-Hait.
Jasir Al-Harbash, the commission’s CEO, has agreed procedures for representatives to be identified for each property and committees set up to oversee the handovers in negotiation with the existing owners.
General director of the Center for the History of Makkah, Fawaz Al-Dahas, told Arab News that the move would benefit the economies of numerous cities while preserving Saudi cultural heritage.
And he highlighted the importance of sites in Makkah, Madinah, and Taif and their links to the Prophet Muhammad and Arab history.
Mahdi Al-Qurashi, a Saudi researcher specializing in the history of Makkah, noted that heritage sites were essentially open museums that told the stories of previous civilizations.
He said: “Expropriating some of these sites in Makkah aims to restore them, thus qualifying them to play a tourism and heritage role.
“That comes in the framework of the competent authorities’ efforts, in line with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s comprehensive vision for all sectors, including the antiquities and tourism sector.
“It is everyone’s duty to advance these historical sites. It is also necessary to preserve historical and archaeological sites, revive them, and establish heritage cultural centers that play their tourism, educational, and economic roles in the most complete manner,” Al-Qurashi added.