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Saudi Kingdom celebrates its urban heritage during 1st Urban Heritage Conference in the Islamic countries

Saudi Kingdom celebrates its urban heritage during 1st Urban Heritage Conference in the Islamic countries (Forimmediaterelease.net) Several Saudi provinces will celebrate the Kingdom's urban heritage by holding various tourism and cultural events in conjunction with the first International Conference of Urban Heritage in the Islamic Countries, which will be held under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdulla bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, and organized and hosted by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) during May 23-28, 2010 at the Riyadh Intercontinental Hotel, in which the role of urban heritage in the cultural, social, and economic development in the Islamic countries will be discussed.

In Riyadh city, SCTA will hold a major exhibition, which will include offers from international and national companies and establishments. In addition, a handicraft exhibition will be held in which live showings of construction and designs will be offered, and it will take place at Prince Sultan University. The accompanied activities of Riyadh municipality include various shows of folklore and heritage arts; additionally, the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) in collaboration with SCTA will hold the exhibition of Islamic Heritage Masterpieces in the National Museum.

Jeddah city will host various activities coinciding with the conference, which includes the “Week of Urban Heritage” in King Abdul Aziz University, while SCTA and Jeddah municipality will hold the exhibition of urban heritage in Historical Jeddah during May 24-28, 2010. The Chamber of Commerce in Jeddah, in collaboration with Jeddah PTO, will hold a symposium on Investment in Urban Heritage on May 24, 2010. In Al Madina, the Islamic University will hold the “Week of Urban Heritage.” Al Madina PTO will hold the exhibition of urban heritage in Al Madina from May 23-28, 2010, while the exhibition of handicraft will be held in Al Ola in the same period.

While in Al Ahsa, King Faisal University will hold the “Week of Urban Heritage,” while the schools of the Kingdom will mark the occasion by holding a drawing and painting exhibition for students which are devoted to Islamic urban heritage, organized by the local branch of ministry of education during May 23-26, 2010. In the same period, SCTA will hold the exhibition of Urban Heritage in Qasr Ibrahim (Ibrahim Palace).

In Al Jouf, Al-Jouf University will hold the “Week of Urban Heritage,” while Domat Al Jondal will host SCTA’s exhibition on urban heritage in the historical square of the city.

Tabouk province will also hold many events: an exhibition of urban heritage will take place in Al Hejaz Railways and a lecture on urban heritage will be held in Prince Fahad bin Sultan University, in addition to many other activities.

In Jazan, the Jazan University will hold the “Week of Urban Heritage.” While in Asir province, King Khalid University will hold the “Week of Urban Heritage” and SCTA will hold the exhibition of urban heritage in Al Moftaha village during the conference, in addition to the celebrations of the schools of the Kingdom in Urban Heritage.

The Historical Palace of Shubra in Al Taif will witness the holding of the exhibition of urban heritage, which will be organized by SCTA. The University of Al Taif will hold the “Week of Urban Heritage.” In Al Qaseem province, the College of Technology will hold the week of urban heritage. SCTA in Al Qaseem will hold the exhibition of urban heritage in the Center of Handicraft in Buraida during May 23-28, 2010, in addition to the exhibition of urban heritage in Al Masokaf Souk, which will be held at the same period. Al Qaseem schools, at all levels, will hold various activities to mark the occasion and to celebrate the urban heritage.

The significance of the first International Conference of Urban Heritage in the Islamic Countries lies on its efforts to highlight the importance of cultural, economic, social, and tourism factors of urban and architectural heritage as a key sector of development in Islamic countries and to generate a mutually-agreed upon policy, implementation mechanisms, and designation of joint projects between cooperating countries in the areas of urban heritage in the Islamic world.

The objectives of the conference includes the assessment of the current status of the urban and architectural heritage in Islamic countries, as well as determining the future frameworks for developing the economic, social, and cultural aspects of urban heritage. In addition, the conference will highlight the importance of preserving and rehabilitating heritage buildings in city centers and restoring traditional villages. And finally, the conference is aiming at utilizing the economic role of urban heritage in Islamic countries and the integration of efforts between the relevant authorities related to urban heritage in the Islamic countries, highlighting the social benefits, economic returns, and increasing job opportunities in conserving and resorting urban buildings, villages, and heritage sites.

SCTA is organizing the conference in collaboration with several private and public sectors such as ministries of municipal and rural affairs, finance, media, and information, King Saud University, and the Al-Turath Foundation, as well as international entities such as IRCICA, UNWTO, and the Arab urban Development Institute.

For more information, please visit: www.islamicurbanheritage.org.sa

Najla A. Al-Khalifah Email: najla@scta.gov.sa

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