The ancient caravan route between Taif and Makkah

The ancient road was used regularly by pedestrians up to the 1960s. (SPA)
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Updated 07 May 2021

The ancient caravan route between Taif and Makkah

  • Hussein bin Salameh ordered the construction of two paths — one for camels and one for pedestrians — to facilitate the exchange and trade of goods in the Kingdom.

JEDDAH: The ancient stone road known as the “caravan route” linking Taif and Makkah is a cultural legacy of great historical value. It was constructed more than 1,000 years ago and was used regularly by pedestrians up to the 1960s.

At the time the road was built, movement between Taif and Makkah was restricted by Al-Qarah Mountain, researcher Hammad Al-Salimi explained. So Hussein bin Salameh ordered the construction of two paths — one for camels and one for pedestrians — to facilitate the exchange and trade of goods in the Kingdom.

The winding road made it possible to cross the mountain and was a remarkable feat of engineering, considering the limited technology available at the time of its creation.

“The roads were paved with stones, which made them resemble staircases winding between the top of the mountain in Al-Hada, the Karr below Al-Qarah Mountain, Shaddad and then Wadi Noman,” Al-Salimi said, adding that a third road, for cars, was built in the mid-1960s, during the reign of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.

Al-Salimi said that the two original paths are “important monuments, which should be preserved and maintained because they are part of the Al-Qarah Mountain system and complement the beautiful image of this mountain.”

Historian and writer Saleh Al-Judi explained that — before cars were common in the Kingdom — people would use the route to travel between the two cities, a journey taking around three days. The passage through the mountain, he said, is around six kilometers. In the middle of the route, he added, is a well-known site called Al-Rukb.

He said the route is mentioned in histories from the fifth Hijri century (1009-1106 CE), which say that it had room for pedestrians and animals alike. Al-Qathami stressed the importance of preserving the road as an historical landmark, as it is an important artery linking Taif and Makkah.


Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

Updated 19 June 2021

Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

NEW YORK: Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN in New York, congratulated UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on securing a second term.

Al-Mouallimi expressed the aspiration of the Saudi mission to continue working with the secretary-general in promoting peace and security around the world as well as ensuring the achievement of sustainable development goals.

Meanwhile, Al-Mouallimi chaired the virtual meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Contact Group with the UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener.

The meeting tackled the latest political developments in Myanmar and the humanitarian situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

 


Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Arifi, deputy director general at Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Public Administration

Updated 19 June 2021

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Arifi, deputy director general at Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Public Administration

Abdulrahman Al-Arifi is deputy director general for research and consultation at the Institute of Public Administration (IPA).

In 2001, he received a master’s degree in computer science from the University of New Orleans, US. In 2012, he obtained a Ph.D. in information systems from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia. His doctoral thesis was nominated for the QUT outstanding doctoral thesis award in 2015.

Al-Arifi joined IPA as a faculty member in 1996. Some of his main responsibilities are to oversee, evaluate and innovate IPA research and consultancy services that are provided to the public and private sectors.

He is chair of the scientific council and the supervisor general of the editorial board of the Public Administration Journal, which oversees IPA’s academic activities. He has also served as both member and consultant in many government committees.

Before his appointment, Al-Arifi served as IT director general, where he was responsible for overseeing and monitoring the execution of projects in the four departments of applications, operations, customer services and information security.

Through his research activities, he leads and assists in the production of authentic and in-depth studies that analyze and address administrative issues. He also supervises consultation activities and assists in providing professional consultations based on modern scientific methodologies.

Al-Arifi, a certified ITIL V3, has won several awards for his research. In 2015, he was recognized by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in Australia for his academic performance.


Saudi Hajj ministry warns against using fake registration links

Updated 19 June 2021

Saudi Hajj ministry warns against using fake registration links

  • More than 500,000 people have applied to perform the Hajj this year so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has warned citizens and residents against dealing with bogus Hajj companies that are not listed on the online portal for pilgrims.
The ministry also urged all citizens and residents to be wary of unlicensed adverts on social media that do not have official endorsement.
It advised people to report any agency, company or link claiming to provide permits or services to pilgrims for Hajj 2021 outside the framework of the portal.
Deputy Hajj minister Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat said that pilgrims should only book the services of Hajj companies and institutions through the authorized online registration portal for pilgrims.
More than 500,000 people have applied to perform the Hajj this year so far.

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Saudi Arabia's air defenses destroy 17 Houthi drones targeting the Kingdom from Yemen

Updated 20 June 2021

Saudi Arabia's air defenses destroy 17 Houthi drones targeting the Kingdom from Yemen

  • Iran-backed Houthi militia have consistently launched attacks against the Kingdom
  • The militia once again face international condemnation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defenses destroyed 17 Houthi drones launched toward the Kingdom’s southern region on Saturday.
A booby-trapped drone targeted Khamis Mushait early morning before seven more targeting the southern region were intercepted in Yemeni airspace during the afternoon.
Khamis Mushait was again targeted by two drones in the evening.

Another drone targeted Najran late evening before six more were shot down near midnight.
The Houthi militia’s deliberate and systematic escalation against Yemenis constitutes a war crime, the coalition said, adding that it was taking measures to protect civilians from hostile attacks.
The Iran-backed Houthis have been attacking the Kingdom with explosives-laden drones on an almost daily basis in recent weeks despite US, UN and Saudi calls for a ceasefire in Yemen.

They again faced international condemnation on Saturday for the latest round of attacks.

Kuwait said it supported all the measures taken by Saudi Arabia to maintain its security and stability. Bahrain praised the vigilance of the coalition forces to intercept and destroy the drones.

The UAE condemned the militia for "systematically targeting civilians," while Jordan said any threat to the security of Saudi Arabia was a threat to the entire region.

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Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths

Updated 19 June 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths

  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 454,404
  • A total of 7,663 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 13 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,153 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 335 were recorded in Makkah, 266 in Riyadh, 148 in the Eastern Province, 119 in Asir, 84 in Jazan, 63 in Madinah, 27 in Najran, 23 in Tabuk, 17 in Hail, 12 in Al-Baha, 10 in the Northern Borders region, and four in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 454,404 after 1,145 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 7,663 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 16.4 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.