Heritage Authority to unveil archaeological discovery

Time: 15 September 2020

Saudi Arabia is home to many archaeological treasures spread across its several regions.

Saudi Arabia’s Heritage Authority will unveil a new archaeological discovery made through the joint efforts of Saudi and international excavation teams.

The authority will divulge the details about the discovery at a press conference in Riyadh on Wednesday.

Dr. Jasser bin Sulaiman Al-Herbish, CEO of the authority, will reveal the location of the site. Representatives of the local and international media will attend the event and be briefed about the methods used to explore the ancient site.

The authority is a Saudi government body established in February 2020 with its headquarters in Riyadh. The authority aims to support efforts to develop the national heritage and protect it from extinction, and to encourage the production and development of content in the sector.

Saudi Arabia is home to many archaeological treasures spread across its several regions.

There are five sites in Saudi Arabia that are currently on UNESCO’s World Heritage List: Al-Ahsa Oasis, Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madain Saleh) in AlUla, Al-Turaif district in Diriyah, Historic Jeddah, and rock art in the Hail region.

Authorities in the Kingdom are making great efforts to preserve and highlight mankind’s shared history.

In 2019, Saudi Arabia was also elected to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

This article was first published in Arab News

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For climbing enthusiast, Saudi Arabia offers up a wealth of options

Time: 15 September 2020

  • It is more of a sport which is learned from other people and through experience

JEDDAH: Fear has held many people back from enjoying even the simplest activities with friends and family such as swimming, going to theme parks and many more.

Nasser Al-Zuhufi, a 29-year-old Saudi, told Arab News he had always been a scared anxious child and fear hindered him from joining in the fun with the rest of his friends and family members.

He decided to break away from his fears unconventionally. He picked up the adrenaline pumping sports rock climbing.

“For as long as I could remember, I was always scared of everything, literally everything. Cats, the mountainous road driving to Taif, speed and rollercoasters. They were unexplained fears. There were no reasons behind them.

“Growing up, this feeling bothered me so much, that I’m holding this much fear. I even adjusted my life to suit my fears, like when I’d go to the theme park, I’d only go to the arcade, not the rollercoasters.”

One day, he decided to face his fears one by one and rode his first rollercoaster at 24 when he was studying in the US.

“It was the first time I felt like I faced a fear. I decided I’ll try it and there’s no going back no matter how I feel. After that, I felt this amazing empowering feeling, it was so liberating. I never felt an adrenaline rush before. That 5-minute experience changed my life.”

His first rock-climbing experience outdoors was in Al-Shafa, a village in Makkah in the summer of 2019.

“The first time I climbed, I feared the height of the rock. I felt like I was going too high too fast and I had to take it very slow to get used to it at the moment. The fear was not overwhelming and it all went away when I reached the end of the route,” he said.

Al-Zuhufi’s most difficult climb was in Lebanon, and he said it was both physically and emotionally stressful. He highlighted the importance of trust between climbers and belayers.

Zaki Kazmi has trained many people for various levels of climbing. (Photo/Supplied)

“Physical because the route was very high so it drained my muscles by the time I got to the hardest point in the route, and emotional because the whole area was new to me, I was climbing with people that I had met for the first time so I did not spend enough climbing time with them to build the trust needed between the climber and belayer.”  “And I never finished that route,” he added.

Saudi-based couple from Pakistan 30-year-old civil engineer Zaki Kazmi and 24-year-old biologist Arshia Zahra Akhtar created an Instagram page (@ our_monkey_business) that documented their rock-climbing adventures in the Kingdom.

The couple said the climbing community is small in general and particularly in the Kingdom, however, it is now rapidly growing.

“It is more of a sport which is learned from each other and through experience. Thus, we always welcomed and supported new climbers. For 8 years in Saudi, I have already trained many people for various levels of climbing, especially outdoors. My wife has also served as a trainer for indoor climbing at a local ladies’ gym, Riyadh,” Kazmi told Arab News.

“We welcome and are available to guide anyone who is interested in the sport or just wants to try the experience,” he added.

Kazmi said he enjoyed climbing in Tanomah, a small town in the south, between Baha and Abha. “I call it the “Yosemite of Saudi Arabia”. I first climbed there in 2016 before it was completely developed by the Saudi Climbing Foundation.”

“The supportive community, dynamic landscape and the rapid development of new climbing places should position Saudi Arabia in one of the top adventure travel destinations.”

He said rock climbing is therapeutic and a chance to connect with nature, away from city distractions.

“Rock climbing is a sport which is nearest to nature. It gives climbers a chance to get away from the city lights and hustle-bustle and get their dose of weekly meditation. It is not just a sport of physical exertion, but also mental strength. A person can strengthen their mental and physical health with continuous climbing therapy.”

Akhtar is currently pursuing her MD/Ph.D. in the US and continues to rock climb there. She said the Kingdom has ideal rock climbing spots and the Saudi climbing community is extremely supportive and welcoming.

“I have climbed in Massachusetts and Texas in the US, while studying here, and I can say Saudi Arabia does have quality rock climbing locations. The country has endless potential and so many places are yet to be explored, so it is definitely a hidden gem,” she told Arab News.

“The Saudi climbing community is extremely supportive and welcoming, along with the availability of a vast range of climbing and bouldering routes. So if you are an adrenaline junkie, looking for new climbing routes and are down to explore untouched places; you need to climb in Saudi,” she added.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Al-Fouta’s facelift: Riyadh’s historical district slated for renovation

14/09/20

The buildings are sorely in need of repair to restore them to their former glory, experts say, adding that the project will contribute significantly to the preservation of Saudi culture. (Supplied)

  • Prince Badr said that the restoration process will meet international standards for the restoration of historic buildings

RIYADH: A major project is set to bring back the glory of 15 old palaces in the Kingdom’s capital.

The work is part of broader restoration work in the historical districts of central Riyadh, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Minister of Culture and Chairman of the Heritage Authority, announced on Sunday.
Managed by the Ministry of Culture, represented by the Heritage Authority, in partnership with the Royal Commission for Riyadh and the Riyadh municipality, the project comes as part of King Salman’s keenness to preserve Saudi heritage and falls under the direction of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
From 15 palaces, seven in the western district of Al-Fouta date back to 1944, while three in eastern Al-Fouta date back to 1935. The project will also restore five royal palaces: King Fahd Palace, King Abdullah Palace, Princess Haya bint Abdulrahman Palace, Prince Sultan Palace, and Princess Al-Anoud Palace in Dhahira, Al-Fouta, and Umm Salim districts.

The district of Al-Fouta has a charming, antiquated atmosphere that transports the visitor into another era. Here you’ll find the oldest park in Riyadh, Al-Fouta Park, and the historic Red Palace, which was a gift to King Saud from the Kingdom’s founding father, King Abdul Aziz, which opened its doors as a museum in March of last year, as well as mosques and government offices.

FASTFACTS

• The district of Al-Fouta has a charming, antiquated atmosphere that transports the visitor into another era. Here you’ll find the oldest park in Riyadh, Al-Fouta Park, and the historic Red Palace, which was a gift to King Saud from the Kingdom’s founding father, King Abdul Aziz, which opened its doors as a museum in March of last year, as well as mosques and government offices.

• The work, which envisages the comprehensive restoration of the buildings in two phases over 24 months, starting in January 2021, will commence by conducting a complete study of all heritage buildings of importance in the center of Riyadh.

The buildings are sorely in need of repair to restore them to their former glory, experts say. Rana Alkadi, a specialist in heritage architecture, said that the project will contribute significantly to the preservation of Saudi culture.
“Reviving the heart of Riyadh city heritage will preserve its identity and enhance its historical cultural bonds to the past,” she said.
Saudi historian Majed Al-Ahdal called the renovation “an important step forward,” emphasizing the importance of respecting and understanding one’s past to fully appreciate the future.
“I would argue that the future is open to those who know their past well and use the insights the past provides to move forward with confidence. Though renovating the buildings may seem like a purely aesthetic endeavor on the surface, architecture is one of the most fundamental ways of measuring urban progress,” he said.
“These palaces oversaw countless important events and dates, and thus fully deserve to be restored to their former glory.”
Prince Badr expressed his gratitude for the support provided by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the culture and heritage sector.
In a press statement issued today, the minister said that the restoration process will meet international standards for the restoration of historic buildings.
The work, which envisages the comprehensive restoration of the buildings in two phases over 24 months, starting in January 2021, will commence by conducting a complete study of all heritage buildings of importance in the center of Riyadh.
The project aims to preserve the heritage buildings of architectural and historical importance and transform them into an economic, social, cultural, and tourism resource, reasserting their cultural identity in the context of the history of Riyadh.
The ministry’s efforts to preserve Saudi architectural heritage have increased significantly over the past year.
On Thursday, Prince Badr announced in a tweet that: “Having previously won membership on both UNESCO’s Executive Board and the World Heritage Committee, Member States have now elected KSA for membership of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Committee.”
In 2019, Arab News reported that SR50 million ($13.33 million) had been pledged by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to support the restoration of Jeddah’s historic Al-Balad district, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site.

This article was first published in Arab News

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The Place: Thi Ain Heritage Village in KSA’s Al-Baha dates back hundreds of years

12/09/20

  • This photograph was taken by Susan Baaghil as part of the Colors of Saudi collection

Thi Ain Heritage Village in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Al-Baha province dates back hundreds of years. It is one of the most mesmerizing and dramatic archeological sites in the Kingdom which includes old buildings, agricultural lands, springs, distinctive cultural and natural landscapes, gardens and a visitor’s center.
The village is located on a hill and surrounded by banana and other trees. For those interested in history, the village is a treasure trove of information about architecture.
This photograph was taken by Susan Baaghil as part of the Colors of Saudi collection.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabian Voyagers Association launched

12/09/20

  • Al-Mutairi called on all travelers in the Kingdom to participate in the association’s work, and to benefit from the services provided to its members

JEDDAH: The Saudi Arabian Voyagers Association was launched on Friday in Riyadh. The association is intended to be the main resource in the country for travel and tourism locally, regionally and globally.
It is an independent travel organization — in accordance with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 — and will serve as an official “umbrella” for travelers in all regions of the Kingdom.
Members will include a group of “highly qualified experts,” according to a press statement, which added that the association aims to “unify efforts and establish new standards for the concept of travel and tourism.” It will also be responsible for the promotion of the Kingdom’s tourist attractions, including archaeological sites.
The newly formed association will provide services and logistical support to travelers, and — according to the press statement — will include training for Saudi travelers to be “the best ambassadors for the ‘Kingdom of Humanity.’”
The association’s chairman, seasoned traveler Ibrahim Al-Mutairi, said the association’s official inauguration is a turning point for Saudi travelers.
“Among the goals of the association is to work on organizing the current work of travelers and those interested in the field —which in most cases is nothing more than individual diligence — and to change it into an institutional and more firmly controlled work, in a way that achieves the common goals of individuals and society,” he said.
Al-Mutairi said that the association’s mission includes setting new standards for tourism through a highly qualified group of experts in the field, in addition to providing consultation, courses and lectures aimed at increasing community awareness.
He explained that the objectives of the association have been set in line with the national aspirations of the travel and tourism sector in the Kingdom. He added that the association hopes to establish several strategic partnerships with relevant organizations from the public and private sectors.
Al-Mutairi called on all travelers in the Kingdom to participate in the association’s work, and to benefit from the services provided to its members.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia’s ‘natural sculptures’ with a 15,000-year-old secret

12/09/20

The artistic sculptures have been formed by erosion factors over the years, giving the viewer a magical sight. They act as wonderful tourist attractions where visitors can marvel at the beauty, says an archaeology expert. (Supplied)

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Rare books provide insight into Saudi Arabia’s past

Time: 10 September 2020

The King Abdul Aziz Public Library in Riyadh has acquired a new collection of rare books that sheds important new light on the history of the Arabian Peninsula. (SPA)
  • The collection contains archaeological and linguistic information about ancient civilizations

JEDDAH: Books and libraries play a key role in nation building. For nations to prosper, it is necessary to delve deeper into the past to lay foundations of a stronger future.

Saudi Arabia is well on the path to preserving the remnants of its rich past — in the form of heritage sites and collections of rare manuscripts about the region’s past.

In this regard, a new collection of rare books which the King Abdul Aziz Public Library in Riyadh has acquired shed important new light on the history of the Arabian Peninsula. The collection contains archaeological and linguistic information about civilizations that once thrived in the northwest of the Kingdom.

Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Orabi, a professor of modern history and international relations at King Abdul Aziz University, said: “Many of these rare books are written by travelers of different nationalities: English, French and German. Their explorations led to many discoveries.”

Sean Foley, a professor of the Middle East/Islamic history at Middle Tennessee State University, told Arab News: “The new collection will help scholars around the world to further understand the Kingdom.”

“(It) will be welcomed by scholars like me, who focus on Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and world history. It illustrates clearly that there has long been an interest in the history of the Kingdom — seen as a mysterious and distant land by audiences around the world,” he said.

The northwestern areas of the Kingdom have always been a destination for Western travelers, foreign missions, and orientalists, led by their passion and thirst for knowledge. Muslim travelers also wrote extensively about this region’s history and geography but their works, unfortunately, were never translated into Latin, which was then Europe’s lingua franca. This led to a knowledge gap, which motivated Westerners to explore this part of the world.

One of the books is “Travels in Arabia Deserta” by Charles M. Doughty, who visited the north of the peninsula between 1875 and 1877. He wrote about the archaeological treasures of Madain Saleh.

Around the same time, French traveler Charles Huber also undertook a scientific trip to the area accompanied by M. Euting, an expert in Semitic inscriptions, which they detailed in a book titled “Journal of a Journey to Arabia” in 1891.

FASTFACT

Most of the books were written by Western travelers and give an informative account of their journeys to regions that are part of Saudi Arabia today.

In 1907 and 1914, Jaussen and Savignac were sent to the same region to finish what Doughty, Huber, and Euting had started. Their detailed study was written up in the three-volume “Mission Archeologique en Arabie” in French.

The book mentioned that the inscriptions and antiquities found in the area reflected the site’s resemblance to Petra. Some inscriptions even mentioned the name of the sculptor.

“Their writings deal with the transcripts and civilizations of the Tayma, Tabuk and Madain Saleh regions. Their books were registered officially and preserved for generations,” Al-Orabi told Arab News.

The expeditions of Western travelers took place between the end of the 15th century and the first half of the 20th century, for individual, religious, political, scientific, or historical purposes.

“Recent years have seen a proliferation of new scholarly works on the Kingdom and its history. The new collection will undoubtedly help scholars better understand the Kingdom and its important place in the history of the Middle East and the world,” Foley said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi director’s journey with drones yields amazing shots of ancient sites

Time: 09 September 2020

Nezar Tashkandi has worked with the Saudi Ministry of Tourism shooting aerial photos and videos of top tourist destinations, covering historical places such as AlUla and areas unknown to many such as Dee Ain. (Supplied)
  • Tashkandi bought his first drone in 2017, had a rough start, not knowing it would be his ticket to stardom

JEDDAH: Drone technology has come on leaps and bounds in the past decade, bridging the gap from niche and military use to business and personal.

In 2010, a French company released the first ready-to-fly drone fully controlled using a smartphone, and the world has never been the same since.

Its commercial success was immediate and since then, drones have developed in many ways, from size to quality and function, from use a delivery tools to mobile cameras.

The idea of working amidst the clouds appealed to Nezar Tashkandi, a native of Jeddah, ever since he worked as a flight paramedic in Omaha, Nebraska, responding to emergency rescues while working as an assistant director at a media production company on the side.

“Most of my work was in the helicopter responding to a lot of cases. I saw that the vision from the sky is different from the ground. So I thought there should be some way I could make a film from the air,” Tashkandi told Arab News.

“I realized that drones were an opportunity for me to expand my knowledge and my vision,” he added.

He started as an assistant director then headed straight for the drone industry. “My first job was a reporter drone pilot to respond to crime scenes and film them with the drone, and I started doing that for news companies.”

He bought his first drone in 2017, and had a rough start, not knowing it would be his ticket to stardom.

“As soon as I flew it, I crashed it, and I was so devastated that I wouldn’t be able to continue. But the curiosity and the vision I had, it was all through the drones, and I had to learn the basics,” he said.

Throughout his journey, he has crashed many drones and faced many financial challenges to purchase more.

As soon as I flew it, I crashed it, and I was so devastated that I wouldn’t be able to continue. But the curiosity and the vision I had, it was all through the drones, and I had to learn the basics.

Nezar Tashkandi, Drone director

“None of my friends supported my idea, not even my family,” he said. “No one knew what I was going through with the drones. I was so ambitious to learn a lot about drones, it was so difficult to learn as well as there weren’t many people that had knowledge on them at that time. And I knew it was the opportunity for me to expand my vision and career in the media production field.”

He took his drone piloting career to the next level when he photographed the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

“I didn’t realize that this kind of career was so beautiful, but at the same time I took it to the next level when I made my first Rocky Mountain National Park aerial footage. I received some support from the park in Colorado, where they gave me access to the whole community.”

He added: “After a while, my friends and family started to notice and thought: ‘You know what? You actually might have a career in this thing, but stick to plan A as a flight paramedic because it has more income and a better life.’”

After working in the US as a drone pilot for two years, he came back to the Kingdom and worked as a paramedic at the Saudi Red Crescent Authority for a while. “The moment I came back to the country, I made connections to shoot films,” he added.

Through his knowledge and skill in the drone industry, he created an exceptional portfolio and showreel, which later gained him profound recognition as the first Saudi aerial director in August of 2019.

He’s worked with the Ministry of Tourism shooting aerial photos and videos of top tourist destinations since then, covering historical and ancient sites such as AlUla and areas unknown to many such as Dee Ain.

The ancient 600-year-old village in Al-Baha is surrounded by magnificent mountains with homes climbing upwards to resemble a high fortress. Tashkandi’s 360 degree view of the fortress has placed the village in the spotlight as a depiction of what ancient history the Kingdom can truly offer to its visitors.

This article was first published in Arab News

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New book features landscapes, ancient sites, illustrations of Saudi Arabia’s AlUla

Time: 08 September 2020

Photo/Supplied
  • AlUla is home to many relics, archeological wonders, and contemporary sites to see, including Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra, dating back to the Nabataean Kingdom

JEDDAH: The destination of AlUla, in collaboration with publisher Assouline, announced the September 2020 release of a luxury immersive book of photography and illustrations titled, “AlUla.”
With stunning images taken by renowned photographer Robert Polidori and interpretive illustrations by multidisciplinary artist Ignasi Monreal, “AlUla” virtually transports readers to the city, giving them a glimpse into its rich history and local culture.
Available in Assouline’s exclusive Ultimate and XXL formats, this oversized luxury volume is a celebration of human milestones and natural wonders. The Ultimate format is available in blue and beige covers, and the XXL format is available in blue and black boxes.
Nestled deep within the vast desert of northwestern Saudi Arabia, AlUla is known as a cultural oasis and living museum with more than 200,000 years of human history — from Paleolithic hunter-gatherers; civilizations such as the Nabataeans, Dadanites, and Romans; Muslim pilgrims on their way to Makkah and Madinah, and trade caravans traveling the Incense Route; to present-day communities who mingle and exchange cultural ideas with global travelers.

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

Enter

AlUla is home to many relics, archeological wonders, and contemporary sites to see, including Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra, dating back to the Nabataean Kingdom. Modern landmarks include the Maraya Hall, an award-winning, multi-purpose concert and entertainment venue that is also the Guinness Book of Records’ largest mirrored venue in the world.
Each page of this luxurious book delves into the destination’s ancient mystique, where innovators and artists lived and journeyed through its exceptional landscapes, leaving traces of their language, culture and way of life.
Images and illustrations captured in the book feature the monumental tombs carved into the outcrops of Hegra, Elephant Rock, and the many petroglyphs (or rock art) showcasing the animals that inhabited AlUla thousands of years ago.

I try to render what I call an emblematic image usually showing its entirety through its details and vice versa. I tried to give a timeless image.

Robert Polidori

Polidori began his career in the mid-1980s, when he photographed the Restoration of Versailles, and has since documented sites across the globe.
He has twice won the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography and has published over a dozen photo books. He has held major solo exhibitions in important galleries, and his work is featured in the collections of many prominent museums around the world.
“AlUla is just amazing and unparalleled,” said Polidori. “I try to render what I call an emblematic image usually showing its entirety through its details and vice versa. I tried to give a timeless image.”
Monreal is a multidisciplinary artist born in Barcelona and currently based in Rome. He works in various media including painting, design, creative direction, and film.
He created Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2018 campaign — the first of its kind to be fully digitally painted — for which he was short-listed for a Beazley Designs of the Year award. Since then, he has worked with brands such as Bulgari, Four Seasons and Airbnb, among others.
Polidori and Monreal share more of their experiences in AlUla in a video, which provides a look inside the book through select photos and illustrations.
For more information and to purchase, visit Assouline.com.

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Young Saudis help restore and preserve ancient stone castles in Jazan

Time: 08 September 2020

The 40-strong restoration team includes engineers, architecture enthusiasts and others. The youngsters were motivated to restore the castles due to a huge influx of Saudi and foreign tourists who visit the area each year to enjoy its architectural and artistic beauty. (Photos/Supplied)
  • Al-Dayer is a mountainous governorate that is home to a great number of stone palaces

MAKKAH: Forty young Saudis from Al-Dayer governorate in the south of the Kingdom have started restoration and preservation work on historical stone castles in the region, to help protect them from damage caused by heavy rain and floods.

Under the guidance of experts in the field, they began by repairing damaged canals.
“Al-Dayer is a mountainous governorate in Jazan that is home to a great number of stone palaces and castles, to the point where some people see it as the largest archaeological concentration of historical castles in the world,” said Yehya Sharif Al-Maliki, an adviser to the restoration team.
Almost every part of the region has forts and castles, he added. Al-Yehya area alone is home to a large number, along with five small villages.
“After noticing the effects of climate factors and manmade practices, the team fenced off the sites and began to restore the castles, in line with technical consultations, to preserve their very old, historical value,” he said.
The castles date back as far as 4,000 years and are renowned for their strength and outstanding durability, Al-Maliki added. In 1940, for example, an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 struck the area and the castles were not damaged at all.
He said the restoration team includes engineers, architecture enthusiasts and others. They were motivated to restore the castles by the large numbers of Saudi and foreign tourists attracted each year by their architectural and artistic beauty.

FASTFACTS

• Dating back as far as 4,000 years, these castles are renowned for their strength.

• The historical castles of Al-Dayer feature ancient inscriptions and engravings.

• Al-Yehya is on the slopes of Al-Areef mountains, surrounded by virgin forests to the east and water-rich valleys.

“The historical castles of Al-Dayer feature ancient inscriptions and engravings, reflecting the religious culture of the Himyarite and Sabaean civilizations,” said Al-Maliki. “Linarite, a type of stone known for being abnormally strong, was used in building these castles, thus preserving these inscriptions for thousands of years.”

The leader of the restoration team, Jaber Ali Al-Maliki, said some villages in the region have experienced natural disasters, which motivated the team to take the initiative to protect the castles from the effects of strong winds and heavy rainfall.
“The team has repaired the canals and fenced off the sites, especially the castles that are located in residential neighborhoods, which increases the chance of their collapse,” he said.
Local residents interested in preserving heritage and culture have joined the preservation efforts and a “plan of action has been developed to study the restoration priorities” he added
Al-Yehya is on the slopes of Al-Areef mountains, surrounded by virgin forests to the east and water-rich valleys, including a manmade valley to the west, created long ago, with lavish architecture that showcases the rich history of the area and its peoples.
Although the geographical location of the area provided it with some protection from invasion and conquest by the armies and nations that have ruled the region since ancient times, such as the Sabaeans and Himyarites, the influence of these eras and cultures can be seen in the architecture.
“These castles reflect the architectural advancement of the successive civilizations,” said Jaber Ali Al-Maliki. “Built with beautiful stones, some of these castles are higher than four floors, with wooden doors and geometric patterns.”

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