SCTH, Japanese university to explore Saudi heritage

Tourism in the Kingdom could be boosted by heritage-oriented adventure holidays.
Updated 13 May 2018
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SCTH, Japanese university to explore Saudi heritage

  • The exhibition was largely by Arab ambassadors, Japanese academics and archaeologists
  • Prince Sultan also toured the Kingdom’s pavilion at the National Museum of Japan

JEDDAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and Japan’s Waseda University have agreed to carry out joint archaeological and exploration work at Al-Hawraa site in the Saudi province of Umluj.

The signing ceremony took place on the sidelines of the visit of SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman to Tokyo.

It is the latest in a series of cooperation programs between the Kingdom and Japan in the field of archaeology.

Under the terms of the agreement, a team from the university and a Saudi team will participate in the archaeological survey and exploration works on the site, as part of the joint Saudi international missions operating in the Kingdom under the supervision of SCTH.

In the same vein, the Kingdom also signed with Japan a joint scientific cooperation agreement in the field of archaeological research and studies by virtue of which the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to perform three excavations to survey old Arabic patterns and Islamic writings in Najran and Madinah.

Prince Sultan also toured the Kingdom’s pavilion at the National Museum of Japan. He did so during his visit to an exhibition on Saudi heritage and culture organized by the SCTH and held by the Arab Islamic Institute in Tokyo. Prince Sultan was received by the institute’s director, Nasser bin Mohammed Al-Amaim.

The exhibition was largely by Arab ambassadors, Japanese academics and archaeologists. The prince praised Al-Amaim for the institute’s contribution to the events accompanying the exhibition, the pavilion and cultural seminars. 

The director thanked Prince Sultan for visiting the pavilion and for praising the institute’s work.

He explained that the Institute contributed to the establishment of the Saudi pavilion over a period of more than two months, along with the exhibition that was largely visited by Japanese visitors who have seen the pavilion’s activities, Arabic calligraphy paintings and a collection of national antiques related to Saudi folklore. 

Al-Amaim said that the Institute organized a symposium titled “The masterpieces of the effects of Saudi Arabia through the ages” attended by a number of Arab ambassadors, Japanese academics and a group of archaeologists.


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.