Pilgrims prepare for the final stages of Hajj

Update Pilgrims prepare for the final stages of Hajj
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The symbolic stoning of the devil marks the final days of Hajj pilgrimage and the start of the Eid Al-Adha celebrations for Muslims around the world. (AFP file photo)
Update Pilgrims prepare for the final stages of Hajj
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All Muslims are required to make the Hajj once in their lives if they are physically and financially able to do so. (Huda Bashatah/AN)
Update Pilgrims prepare for the final stages of Hajj
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All Muslims are required to make the Hajj once in their lives if they are physically and financially able to do so. (Huda Bashatah/AN)
Update Pilgrims prepare for the final stages of Hajj
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All Muslims are required to make the Hajj once in their lives if they are physically and financially able to do so. (Huda Bashatah/AN)
Update Pilgrims prepare for the final stages of Hajj
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A Muslim pilgrim picks up pebbles for the symbolic stoning of the devil. (Huda Bashatah/AN)
Update Pilgrims prepare for the final stages of Hajj
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Muslim pilgrims pick up pebbles for the symbolic stoning of the devil. (Huda Bashatah/AN)
Update Pilgrims prepare for the final stages of Hajj
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A Muslim pilgrim picks up pebbles for the symbolic stoning of the devil. (Huda Bashatah/AN)
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Updated 16 June 2024
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Pilgrims prepare for the final stages of Hajj

Pilgrims prepare for the final stages of Hajj
  • Pilgrims spent the night in Muzdalifah, under the open sky, where they took the time to rest and refresh

MAKKAH: Hajj pilgrims have begun preparing for the final stages of this year’s pilgrimage, arriving in Muzdalifah after spending the entire day performing prayers and supplications in Arafat.

After they arrived in Muzdalifah, pilgrims performed Maghrib and Isha prayers and collected pebbles for the stoning rituals at the Jamarat area in Mina, which begin Sunday morning.

These stones are used once they reach Mina, where pilgrims perform the “first throwing” of Jamarat, before heading to the Grand Mosque in Makkah for tawaf (circumambulation) and “sacrificing the lamb,” a commemoration of the sacrifice Prophet Ibrahim had intended to make of his son Ismail as an act of obedience to Allah.

Pilgrims spent the night in Muzdalifah, under the open sky, where they took the time to rest and refresh.

The first day in Mina, the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, marks the first day of Eid Al-Adha. On this day, pilgrims sacrifice animals. Male pilgrims have their heads shaved and take off their ihram clothes. Female pilgrims cut only a portion of their hair.

Hisham Thamin, an Indian pilgrim living in Qatar, told Arab News that it had been a seamless Hajj experience.

“It’s a very nice (and) very spiritual feeling. I’m enjoying the vibes here. The people here are very calm. It’s a very peaceful atmosphere.”

Thamin said that he was initially concerned about the arrangements given the heat and high numbers of people, but he was pleasantly surprised by the coordination and organization by the Saudi government.

“I’m glad the Saudi government has made very good arrangements. There’s cold water, cold juices, and breakfast boxes for everyone. They have spread out all the sheets on the sand, to make sure it’s comfortable for everyone. So I’m liking it very much. And it’s not what I expected, it’s much better than what I expected.”

Nawaf Alhabib, a Saudi pilgrim, said his experience had been “perfect.”

Alhabib planned to walk to Mina on Sunday morning before Fajr prayer.

“By 12 in the morning, we will finish from Muzdalifah and make our way towards Mina. We will rest and then perform Jamarat and it will hopefully be a beautiful day tomorrow.”

Saudi pilgrim Tawfeeq Alquraishi said he was proud of the developments and initiatives fulfilled by the Kingdom.

“The services provided to ensure a smooth Hajj experience for pilgrims is something I am so proud of as a Saudi national. This is a successful and comfortable Hajj.”

Waleed Mohammed, a pilgrim from Egypt, was grateful for being able to perform Hajj.

“This is a feeling I cannot explain. Thank God for everything,” he said. “This is an experience that everyone dreams of … everyone is happy and the organization is beyond our expectations.”


Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh

Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh
Updated 19 sec ago
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Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh

Saudi defense minister meets with French ambassador to Kingdom in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met with the French ambassador to the Kingdom, Ludovic Pouille, in Riyadh on Monday.

During the meeting, they reviewed relations between Saudi Arabia and France and discussed a number of issues and topics of common interest, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The meeting was also attended by Prince Abdulrahman bin Mohammed bin Ayyaf, the deputy minister of defense and the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili.

The assistant minister of defense for executive affairs, Khalid bin Hussein Al-Bayari and the director general of the office of the minister of defense, Hisham bin Abdulaziz bin Saif were also in attendance.

On the French side, it was attended by the military attache to the Kingdom, Jean-Christophe Guerdet and the ambassador’s adviser Wassim Zammat.


Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award

Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award
Updated 22 July 2024
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Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award

Saudi Real Estate Registry clinches prestigious Esri GIS Award
  • Accolade, awarded at the international Esri User Conference in the US, recognizes the registry’s innovative application of geographic information system technology
  • RER CEO Mohammed Al-Sulaiman: It supports our vision of creating a comprehensive real estate registry for all property data and information in the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Saudi Real Estate Registry has been honored with the 2024 Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award, presented by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The accolade, awarded at the international Esri User Conference in the US, recognizes the registry’s innovative application of geographic information system technology.

According to the SPA, Mohammed Al-Sulaiman, CEO of the Saudi Real Estate Registry, received the award from Esri CEO Jack Dangermond, highlighting the organization’s exceptional use of spatial technologies and AI-supported geospatial data predictive analysis. The registry has developed a detailed geospatial map of Saudi Arabia’s real estate using ArcGIS and Esri technologies.

“This award confirms our world-class implementation of GIS technologies,” Al-Sulaiman said. “It supports our vision of creating a comprehensive real estate registry for all property data and information in the Kingdom, with geospatial surveying as the foundation for property registration.”

Since its inception, the Real Estate Registry has employed a range of advanced technologies in executing geospatial operations, including drones, digital geospatial solutions and systems, remote sensing, AI and satellite-based GPS, the SPA reported.

The registry aims to produce a reliable and updated real estate map, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, covering more than 100,000 sq. km of urban areas, encompassing 8 million plots and generating 5,000 terabytes of data.

Al-Sulaiman said that the initiative will enhance transparency and reliability in the real estate sector, ensuring its sustainability, and boosting its investment appeal and contribution to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product, in line with the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.


Last group of Hajj pilgrims leaves via Madinah airport

Hajj pilgrims depart from Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening. (SPA)
Hajj pilgrims depart from Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening. (SPA)
Updated 22 July 2024
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Last group of Hajj pilgrims leaves via Madinah airport

Hajj pilgrims depart from Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening. (SPA)
  • 320 pilgrims departed the holy city for Kertajati, Indonesia and a farewell ceremony was held for them by Saudia

RIYADH: The last group of Hajj pilgrims left the Kingdom via Madinah’s Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport on Sunday evening.

320 pilgrims departed the holy city for Kertajati, Indonesia and a farewell ceremony was held for them by Saudia, concluding its operations for Hajj 2024.

Saudia flights provided quality services to enhance the Hajj experience of pilgrims this year, including various educational programs in different languages, Saudi Press Agency reported.


Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List

Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List
Updated 22 July 2024
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Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List

Jeddah’s Historic District celebrates 10 years on UNESCO World Heritage List

JEDDAH: The Jeddah Historic District Program celebrated the 10th anniversary of the district’s inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The district was inscribed on the list in 2014 in recognition of its outstanding universal value.

According to a statement, the program oversaw the regeneration and preservation of the district’s cultural and urban heritage, transforming it into a global destination aligned with Saudi Vision 2030.

Historic Jeddah spans an area of 2.5 sq. km along the Red Sea coast. Serving as a major port for pilgrims arriving in Makkah and a hub for global trade routes between Asia and Africa since the 7th century, the district has been a center of cultural and economic exchange for centuries.

According to UNESCO’s criteria for inscribing the Historic Jeddah district on the World Heritage List, the area fulfills three key requirements — representing an important interchange of human values over time, being an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural ensemble, and being directly associated with events, living traditions, or artistic works of outstanding universal significance.

Facing numerous challenges, such as the need to save dilapidated buildings and improve infrastructure while preserving the area’s historical and cultural character, the program has implemented various projects within the framework of the regeneration plan. These efforts have enriched the visitor experience and enhanced the district as an attractive tourist destination, according to the statement.

The Jeddah Historic District Program has established four main pillars for the district’s restoration efforts: intangible cultural heritage, archaeology and excavation (the wall and historic gates), urban fabric (markets, squares, and streets), and historic buildings (houses, mosques, and endowments).

The program has also set standards for the preservation of the area’s heritage, including the use of traditional materials and the maintenance of original building heights.


Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30

Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30
Updated 22 July 2024
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Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30

Madinah Book Fair commences on July 30

Jeddah: The third Madinah Book Fair will take place from July 30 to Aug. 5, the Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission announced on Monday.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that the event promises to be a cultural extravaganza, featuring over 300 Arab and international publishing houses and agencies spread across more than 200 booths.

Mohammed Hasan Alwan, CEO of the commission, emphasized the significance of the fair, highlighting the continuous support the cultural sector receives.

He said the event showcases the cultural importance of Madinah and its role in enhancing the artistic movement and the Kingdom’s growing status in the publishing industry.

The fair has become an annual event, attracting thousands of visitors from all walks of life.

Alwan explained that the commission has ensured the latest edition provides a rich and integrated knowledge experience for visitors of all ages, building on the remarkable successes of previous fairs.

According to SPA, the Madinah Book Fair aims to be a cultural platform that encourages the community to take an interest in reading, highlighting the talents of Saudi writers and creators while attracting prominent writers and publishers from the Kingdom, the region, and the world.

The fair will feature cultural and intellectual activities aimed at enriching the cultural sector and knowledge production, promoting a reading culture.

A significant area is dedicated to children, offering educational and skill-based activities and workshops that boost children’s creative abilities.

The Madinah Book Fair announced the start of visitor registration for free entry tickets through the Discover Culture platform at: ‏https://dc.moc.gov.sa/home/ar/event-tickets/379/almadinah-book-fair-2024/