Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience

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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
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Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement. (Photo/Social media)
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Updated 07 April 2021

Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience

  • Use of drones by cameraman brings history to life in one of KSA’s most famous archaeological sites

MAKKAH: A Saudi aerial photographer’s passion for history has won him global acclaim for images revealing the secrets of AlUla Old Town.

Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement.

AlUla Old Town, located in the north of the Kingdom about 20 km from the archaeological site of Mada’in Salih, is seven centuries old and filled with mosques and markets that reflect its beauty and heritage.

Rich in history, the region was an ancient trade station linking the north and south of the peninsula and one of the main stopping-off points for pilgrims traveling between Syria and Makkah.

Al-Suhaimi told Arab News that his inspiration to photograph the area from the air came from his deep-rooted desire to find out more about the country’s ancient civilizations.

“The idea from the onset revolved around simulating the history of AlUla region, which has become one of the most important heritage attractions on a local and international level.

“The location includes stone landmarks and high mountains which set a breathtaking rocky harmony depicted by the drones of aerial photographers.

“It was the place of people who set the link with us on architectural and human levels. 




The region is one of the great forgotten treasures of antiquity. (Social media)

They built a town which bears witness to the magnificence and cultural depth and momentum of its human legacy,” he said. Studies of AlUla’s castles have proved that the site was once a thriving community, Al-Suhaimi added. “Photographing these places in all their detail only adds to my enthusiasm for transmitting images to a world craving for the secrets of these places of old times to be unveiled.”

The high-flying lensman has snapped all of AlUla Old Town’s castles and villages, as well as the castle of Musa bin Nusayr, and the Aja and Salma mountains which rise to 1,000 meters.

By using drones, Al-Suhaimi has been able to get close-up pictures of the houses and buildings that occupy the site. “There are monolithic houses that reflect the depth of relationships that linked those people who fused with each other as if they were one family.”

HIGHLIGHT

AlUla Old Town, located in the north of the Kingdom about 20 km from the archaeological site of Mada’in Salih, is seven centuries old and filled with mosques and markets that reflect its beauty and heritage.

He pointed out that although the houses seemed to be randomly clustered together, they were actually “architectural enigmas” which had been cleverly designed to ensure a smooth flow of air in and around them.

Aerial photographs of the town had also raised questions about how its people had been able to move around from building to building in such a close-knit environment.

Al-Suhaimi said he had gained all the necessary licenses to operate drones in the area. “We were keen on taking pictures and transmitting them to the whole world, as internationally it is one of the most outstanding Islamic cities. Its mud houses are living witnesses that resisted time.”

He added that he had been astonished by the positive global feedback from his photographs of the region. One notable feature of AlUla Old Town is the Tantora sundial. The shadow that it cast was used to mark the beginning of the winter planting season.

“They set stones atop one another so that the shadow would be projected on the tip of the stone once per year, which is evidence of the astronomy legacy of the people of the region,” said Al-Suhaimi.


Saudi, Belgian artists showcase women-centric artworks

Updated 1 min 12 sec ago

Saudi, Belgian artists showcase women-centric artworks

  • Skna Hassan’s artwork is colorful while Andrea Hulsbosch’s is mysterious with dark colors

RIYADH: For Europe Month 2022, Belgian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dominique Mineur invited visitors to an art exhibition titled “Belgian and Saudi Face to Face” at Lar’t Pur Gallery, which commenced on May 17 and will last for a week.

“The Belgian Embassy is delighted to collaborate with the EU and Saudi Arabia to hold an exhibition featuring Belgian and Saudi artists in conjunction with the European Union month,” Mineur told Arab News.

The exhibit features abstract women-centric art pieces by Belgian artist Andrea B. M. Hulsbosch and Saudi artist Skna Hassan.

“Both artists are portraying women in their respective contexts, and I think the dialogue between them is inspiring, and there is no better way than art to create links between two countries,” Mineur said.

Hassan’s artwork is colorful and showcases Arabian women dressed in traditional yet modern attires on large-scale canvases, while Hulsbosch’s artwork is mysterious with dark colors on small canvases. 

“I believe that Skna and I are very complementary. Her artworks are large and bright while mine are intentionally smaller and more sober. My work requires a symbiotic connection with my collaborators and a level of intimacy with the audience which generates a sense of mystery, while Skna’s art makes an immediate impression. But both focus on women, and I feel that’s what connects us — telling stories as women and about women transcends borders,” Hulsbosch said.

Hassan is known for her female representations in her artwork as she always shows traditions, especially Najdi culture in her artworks.

“My work represents the Saudi woman and her life and culture. I am glad they called me and that the Belgium Embassy chose me to represent the Saudi woman. I feel that it was convenient to do it with Andrea because her pieces are about women and their cultures,” said Hassan.

Europe Month celebrates the founding of the EU on May 9 to celebrate peace and unity in Europe and cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The celebration runs until June 9, and is centered around the exchange of cultural experiences and encouragement of further communication between Europe and the Kingdom to improve mutual understanding and strengthening relations.

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Jeddah Pier attraction adds to thrills of city’s festival season of activities

Updated 14 min 55 sec ago

Jeddah Pier attraction adds to thrills of city’s festival season of activities

  • Musical parades including acrobats, and people dressed as trees, zombies, and track-suited monkeys are an integral part of the zone’s events
  • A fireworks display backed by US rapper Pharrell Williams’ song ‘Happy’ was another of the Jeddah Pier attractions

JEDDAH: Visitors to the Jeddah Season of activities now have a new entertainment attraction to add to the growing list of festival events.

Mobile amusement park Jeddah Pier is the latest zone to open to fun seekers in the Red Sea port city.

Located on the Jeddah shoreline, it offers 39 rides, a variety of games some with soft-toy prizes, along with shops, and an array of cafes and restaurants.

For adrenaline junkies there is a roller coaster, plus a swing carousel, Ferris wheel, and pendulum ride. 

Located on the Jeddah shoreline, mobile amusement park Jeddah Pier offers 39 rides, a variety of games some with soft-toy prizes, along with shops, and an array of cafes and restaurants. (Supplied/Mohammed Al-Manea)

Shah Hussain, an English actor, was playing fictional pirate Long John Silver from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “Treasure Island” in one of the zone’s experience areas, the Abandoned Island.

He said: “The pier itself has so many attractions, but the Abandoned Island is one of the most thrilling for visitors to experience. It is not for the faint-hearted.”

However, Hussain pointed out that he had been struggling to adjust to temperatures in the city. “I have only just acclimatized to Jeddah. I came from 17 degrees weather to 44 degrees. People should come well-equipped with water, and we will also be ensuring that because we want everyone to have fun.” 

Located on the Jeddah shoreline, mobile amusement park Jeddah Pier offers 39 rides, a variety of games some with soft-toy prizes, along with shops, and an array of cafes and restaurants. (Supplied/Mohammed Al-Manea)

Madda Rashwan, 22, was visiting Jeddah Pier with her friends and family, and said the attraction offered a welcome distraction from work while reminding her of childhood experiences.

“I wanted to see how good it was, as my family and I have a thing for amusement parks. To be fair the amusement park scene in the city was not too good but the pier offers a lot of great rides,” she added.

Musical parades including acrobats, and people dressed as trees, zombies, and track-suited monkeys are an integral part of the zone’s events. 

Located on the Jeddah shoreline, mobile amusement park Jeddah Pier offers 39 rides, a variety of games some with soft-toy prizes, along with shops, and an array of cafes and restaurants. (Supplied/Mohammed Al-Manea)

Friends Yosuf Kutbi, 14, and Abdullah Alharbey, 15, visited Jeddah Pier on its opening day.

“I was looking forward to the Ferris wheel the most, even when the place was under construction, and that was the first ride I went to when we entered,” Kutbi said.

Alharbey said: “This place is one hour away from where I live, but because my friend was visiting, I came with him, and so far, coming here was worth the time.”

He added that he was looking forward to visiting other Jeddah Season events.

A fireworks display backed by US rapper Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” was another of the Jeddah Pier attractions.

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KSrelief delivers $3.2 million worth of aid to the Philippines

Updated 18 min 36 sec ago

KSrelief delivers $3.2 million worth of aid to the Philippines

  • Aid includes medical and protective equipment and devices with a value of $1.7 million to fight COVID-19
  • Filipino officials praised the Saudi support, extending their sincere appreciation to the Kingdom

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) delivered humanitarian assistance worth $3.2 million to the Philippines on Thursday.
The aid included medical and protective equipment and devices with a value of $1.7 million to fight COVID-19.
A further $1.5 million is earmarked to support the Philippine’s Ministry of Health alleviate the impacts of the Typhoon Rai that recently hit the country, and to help health relief and emergency works in Marawi City.
Director of the Department of Health and Environment Assistance at KSrelief Dr. Abdullah Al-Muallem handed over the financial and in-kind support to the Philippines in the presence of the Kingdom’s ambassador to the country Hisham Al-Qahtani.
Filipino officials praised the Saudi support, extending their sincere appreciation to the Kingdom for its generous support and solidarity with the Philippines in addressing health and natural crises in the country.

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US defense secretary says he shares Saudi concerns over Iran’s destabilizing activities in region

Updated 19 May 2022

US defense secretary says he shares Saudi concerns over Iran’s destabilizing activities in region

  • Austin: “The US is committed to our strong partnership with Saudi Arabia”
  • He welcomed the Kingdom’s constructive efforts in advancing the current truce in Yemen

RIYADH: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he shares Saudi Arabia’s concerns over Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region on Thursday.
In a tweet, Austin added that he welcomed the Kingdom’s constructive efforts in advancing the current truce in Yemen which came into effect on April 2. He said the truce should be extended.
Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman earlier met with the defense secretary during his visit to Washington for the US-Saudi Strategic Joint Planning Committee.
The officials reviewed the Saudi-US partnership, and ongoing and future strategic military and defense cooperation between the two countries.
Austin said it was a pleasure to meet with Prince Khalid and that the “US is committed to our strong partnership with Saudi Arabia.”


Saudi Shoura Council committee members meet visiting Japanese diplomats

Updated 19 May 2022

Saudi Shoura Council committee members meet visiting Japanese diplomats

RIYADH: Board members of the Saudi Shoura Council’s specialist foreign affairs committee recently met a delegation of Japanese diplomats visiting the Kingdom.

Chairing the meeting, Huda Abdulrahman Al-Helissi welcomed the Japanese officials to Saudi Arabia who in turn expressed their thanks for the hospitality they had received while in the country.

The role and regulation of the Shoura Council and the work of its specialized committees was among items discussed along with its efforts to develop parliamentary links between the Kingdom and countries around the world to help promote peace and prosperity.

At the end of the meeting, board members took part in a question-and-answer session with the Japanese diplomats in relation to the responsibilities of the foreign affairs committee and other Shoura Council bodies.

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