‘AlUla, Wonder of Arabia’ exhibition opens in Beijing

‘AlUla, Wonder of Arabia’ exhibition opens in Beijing
Madain Salih (Hegra). Jabal al Khraymat. (Royal Commission for AlUla)
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Updated 06 January 2024
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‘AlUla, Wonder of Arabia’ exhibition opens in Beijing

‘AlUla, Wonder of Arabia’ exhibition opens in Beijing
  • 236 rare artifacts, historical relics from northwest Saudi Arabia on show at Palace Museum

Riyadh: The “AlUla, Wonder of Arabia” exhibition recently opened at the Palace Museum in Beijing’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Forbidden City.

Promising a journey through AlUla’s 7,000 years of successive civilizations and 200,000 years of shared human history, the exhibition is a collaboration between the Royal Commission for AlUla, the Palace Museum and the French Agency for AlUla Development. It features hundreds of artifacts on display, some for the first time.

“AlUla, Wonder of Arabia” was previously held at the Arab World Institute in Paris from October 2019 to March 2020, and the new edition was curated by archaeologists Laila Nehme, senior research fellow at CNRS, and Abdulrahman Alsuhaibani, executive director of archaeology, conservation and collections at RCU.  

Alsuhaibani said that in its second edition, the exhibition will showcase not only AlUla’s natural landscapes, rare archaeological artifacts, and rich cultural heritage, but also around 50 items among the 236 exhibits that have never been displayed before.

He said that this extensive display will guide the Palace Museum’s visitors through an immersive journey of AlUla’s history and legacy, revealing recently excavated cultural relics and ancient animal bones dating to the prehistoric era, contributing to a deeper understanding of that time.

Apart from the newly exhibited artifacts, the exhibition showcases rare sculptures, pottery, rock paintings, inscriptions, bronze relics, immersive multimedia, and works by renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, presenting the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of AlUla.

Through the expertly curated chronological layout of the exhibition, visitors can seamlessly explore the geographical intricacies and environmental settings that facilitated the earliest human settlements in AlUla. Visitors move from one space to another, following a chronological and thematic layout, with stops at the four main heritage sites in the AlUla Valley: Dadan, Hegra, Qurh, and Old Town, exploring in each stop many secrets of the ancient civilizations that inhabited these sites.

The Dadan ruins have revealed a large number of crafted sculptures and artworks, and visitors can witness the prosperity of the Dadan and Lihyanite dynasties through these works. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Hegra is an ancient city renowned for its stone-carved facades of tombs and well-preserved funerary monuments.

The exhibition also serves as a reminder of the legacy of trade that once connected the Arabian Peninsula with China. AlUla lies along the ancient Incense Road and later routes of pilgrimage to Makkah, and its historical significance as a trading hub is evident from the myriad of caravans that traversed the landscape. These routes enabled the transport of Chinese silk and ceramics to the Arabian Peninsula, and Arabian frankincense among other precious goods, to China.

Subsequently, AlUla emerged as a crucial hub where traders, pilgrims and travelers converged, leaving behind a mosaic of cultural and commercial exchange.

Abdulrahman Altrairi, chief of communications and PR at the RCU, said: “AlUla, a brilliant cultural gem in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, has historically been a convergence point for various civilizations. The development of AlUla is now an important part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan. We are delighted to present AlUla’s enduring historical and cultural treasures to a Chinese audience.

“This exhibit will enhance AlUla’s international prominence, solidify its status as a home to a rich history and cultural heritage, and lay the foundations for enhanced exchanges between China and Saudi Arabia in archaeology, culture, tourism, and the arts.”

Lou Wei, executive vice president of the Palace Museum, said: “Hosting the ‘AlUla, Wonder of Arabia’ exhibition will further deepen cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and foreign cultures, making a significant contribution to promoting people-to-people connectivity along the Belt and Road Initiative and building a community with a shared future for humanity.”

Simond de Galbert, first secretary of the French Embassy in China, said: “By choosing for its exhibition the Forbidden City, one of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage sites, AlUla confirms once again its ambition to share with an international audience the vast extent of its dazzling heritage. China’s hosting of ‘AlUla, Wonder of Arabia’ is a new and prestigious launch pad for the exhibition’s journey to the rest of the world.”

The opening ceremony was held in the presence of Abdulrahman Alharbi, the Saudi ambassador to China; Hussain bin Ibrahim Alhammadi, the UAE ambassador to China; with representatives from Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and French embassies.

Visitors to Beijing’s Forbidden City can attend the exhibition until March 22.


Saudi FM receives Montenegrin counterpart in Riyadh

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets with his Montenegrin counterpart Filip Ivanovic in Riyadh on Thursday. SPA
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets with his Montenegrin counterpart Filip Ivanovic in Riyadh on Thursday. SPA
Updated 7 sec ago
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Saudi FM receives Montenegrin counterpart in Riyadh

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets with his Montenegrin counterpart Filip Ivanovic in Riyadh on Thursday. SPA
  • During the meeting, the two officials reviewed cooperation between their countries and ways to enhance and develop it in various fields

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received his Montenegrin counterpart Filip Ivanovic in Riyadh on Thursday.

During the meeting, the two officials reviewed cooperation between their countries and ways to enhance and develop it in various fields.

They also discussed regional and international developments and efforts made in this regard.


Governor of Taif meets with Saudi cultural director

Governor of Taif meets with Saudi cultural director
Updated 55 min 53 sec ago
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Governor of Taif meets with Saudi cultural director

Governor of Taif meets with Saudi cultural director
  • Prince Saud bin Nahar was briefed on SASCA’s strategy and initiatives aimed at fostering and empowering talent in the cultural and artistic fields
  • A cooperation agreement was signed between SASCA and Taif University

RIYADH: Governor of Taif Prince Saud bin Nahar bin Saud met Princess Haifa bint Abdulmohsen, the director of development and partnerships at the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, at the governorate’s headquarters on Thursday.

The governor was briefed on SASCA’s strategy and initiatives aimed at fostering and empowering talent in the cultural and artistic fields, in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

The parties were also present at the signing of a cooperation agreement between SASCA in Taif and Taif University.


Saudi FM receives phone call from Belgian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Belgian counterpart Hadja Lahbib on Thursday.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Belgian counterpart Hadja Lahbib on Thursday.
Updated 18 April 2024
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Saudi FM receives phone call from Belgian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Belgian counterpart Hadja Lahbib on Thursday.

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Belgian counterpart Hadja Lahbib on Thursday.

During the phone call, the two officials discussed  developments in the region, particularly developments in the Gaza Strip and efforts made in this regard.


ilmi, PNU launch museum studies program

ilmi, PNU launch museum studies program
Updated 18 April 2024
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ilmi, PNU launch museum studies program

ilmi, PNU launch museum studies program
  • New micro-credential courses open to all high-school graduates, undergraduates
  • Program includes Arabic, English, in-person, remote, long and short-term courses

RIYADH: A new museum studies program in Saudi Arabia has opened for registration, offering micro-credential and long-term courses.

It is the result of a partnership between ilmi, a center for science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and mathematics learning, and Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University.

ilmi — meaning “my knowledge” in Arabic — is a science and innovation center that aims to empower young people in Saudi Arabia.

A philanthropic NGO initiative created by Princess Sara bint Mashour bin Abdulaziz, wife of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ilmi is incubated, supported and funded by the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation, Misk, as a subsidiary, and operates in partnership with Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City.

The museum studies program includes micro-credential, diploma, minor and elective courses.

It is open to recent high-school graduates and university undergraduates keen to secure entry-level positions in museums, as well as professionals seeking new skill sets and career paths.

Created by ilmi and PNU experts from Saudi Arabia and around the world, the program offers a blend of online and in-person learning, alongside Arabic and English tuition options.

Micro-credential courses will blend online and in-person learning, and are available to applicants over the age of 18.

Courses include museum impact studies, museum education and awareness, an introduction to museum technologies, fundamentals of museum management and integrating digital technology.

Courses on offer for PNU students include an introduction to museums elective and specialist minors in museums and digital technology, exhibit design and content development.

A two-year diploma in museum management will also be available for both PNU students and recent high-school graduates.

Registration has opened for the first online micro-credential course starting this month: Fundamentals of museum management.

All further micro-credential courses will take place in May and June, with the diploma, minor and elective programs starting in September at the beginning of the academic year 2024/25.

Program graduates can also apply to work alongside ilmi experts as they design and launch unique, informal learning programs across the Kingdom.

For more information and registration, click here.


KSrelief, WFP to support malnutrition treatment in Yemen

KSrelief, WFP to support malnutrition treatment in Yemen
Updated 18 April 2024
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KSrelief, WFP to support malnutrition treatment in Yemen

KSrelief, WFP to support malnutrition treatment in Yemen
  • Allocation of $4.85 million to treat malnutrition in children aged under five as well as pregnant and lactating women in Yemen
  • Agreement was signed by Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, adviser at the Royal Court and KSrelief’s supervisor general, and WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain

PARIS: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center signed a joint cooperation agreement with the World Food Programme allocating $4.85 million to treat malnutrition in children aged under five as well as pregnant and lactating women in Yemen.

The signing took place on the sidelines of the International Conference for Sudan and Neighboring Countries, which was organized by France and the EU in Paris.

The agreement was signed by Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, adviser at the Royal Court and KSrelief’s supervisor general, and WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain.

It aims to improve the nutritional situation for Yemen’s most impoverished people by providing supplements in targeted areas, benefiting 86,985 people.