The Art of Masks
14 July 2020
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The Kingdom’s vast desert lands were home to generations of civilizations; through sandstorms and warm-desert breezes, Arabian stories were passed down; and inspiring myths and legends crossed the nation. In 1932, the young and resilient Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded. Nevertheless, before the bustling modern cities were erected and the wealth of the nation embraced the abundance of oil, the magnificent lands were home to rich societies and stories that have cultivated into beautiful heritage sites.
On April 18, the world annually celebrates the International Day for Monuments and Sites or World Heritage Day, with this year’s celebration dedicated to the theme of Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility
as an important expression of global unity in the face of the ongoing worldwide health crisis.
This day is a special day to discover the Saudi story, whereby the heritage sites are ancient letters gifted to today’s population of Saudi Arabia and beyond. From different corners of the country, we can explore the precious locations that resonate with the heart of every Saudi citizen—whether they can recollect stories from the sites or feel a connection to the unknown wonders of their lands. Throughout Saudi Arabia, foreigners embrace the beautiful and unique heritage of a rich culture. As the heritage sites become tourist spots, Ithra invites you to explore the beauty within the Kingdom online, and when the COVID 19 crisis is over, physically. From our finds to your curious eyes, read on to discover some of Saudi Arabia’s precious marvels.
With natural rock formations and dunes, Al-Ula offers a unique experience. Al-Ula heritage site was constructed within its natural beauty, an undisturbed canvas where modern villas and restaurants are designed to embrace the past and humbly surrounded by the untouched natural architecture. With 200,000 years of undiscovered history, it is a place to explore the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom, the Roman presence in Arabia, the Islamic and Ottoman period, and more that came alive from and into Al-Ula.
Nominated as one of the seven wonders of the world, Al-Ahsa Oasis presents a tranquil-like heritage site. With Saudi Arabia known as desert land, Al-Ahsa Oasis transforms its physical geography into a lush escape in the city of Al-Ahsa. The Oasis amasses palm trees that blanket the largest oases in the world. Since ancient times, Al-Ahsa embraced agriculture and farms millions of the finest sweet dates and upholds high skill in tailoring such as with the traditional bisht. Natural fresh-water springs have surfaced at oases in the region for eras and its paradise lands offer a step into a serene experience.
The hustle and bustle of Jeddah city radiate a modern beckoning and within its zooming traffic lies a historic past that traces to the heart of the Kingdom, the Gate to Makkah which signifies Jeddah as a heritage site. Over the years through history, Jeddah held a prestigious and symbolic role as a gate to Makkah for Muslim pilgrims. Jeddah became a cosmopolitan city, Muslims from neighboring countries resided and worked in Jeddah, modernizing the city yet maintaining its beauty within the Kingdom’s Islamic essence.
As the holy month of Ramadan is just around the corner, the current global pandemic has put a halt on the Hajj pilgrimage. Muslims across the globe may be restricted in visiting Makkah and performing their pilgrimage, however, you can enjoy a virtual tour of the beautiful city of Makkah. The virtual tour by BSocial will release April 23, just in time on the first day of Ramadan. You can experience Makkah during the peaceful holy month and safely at home: