Happy with the inclusion of the rock art of Saudi's Hail region in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List, which is the second entry in consecutive years as the Historic Jeddah was listed last year, a wider-section of Saudi society hailed the decision as “unique achievement” for Kingdom in two successive years.
Reacting to the big announcement, Education Minister Azzam Al-Dakhil expressed his pleasure on such a great cultural accomplishment and appreciated the key role played by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) and Hail governorate paying great attention to the registration of these sites for the 39th session of UNESCO world heritage committee in Bonn.
He described the initiative of registration as a civilized and conscious effort that constitutes an important step in to exhibiting the abundant heritage of the Kingdom.
“It offers to the world a true picture of enlightened Islamic principles that do not clash with others and this does not contradict with the teachings of Islam,” the minister said.
Al-Dakhil further maintained, “Such a great accomplishment highlighting Saudi history and its deeply rooted heritage, confirms the Kingdom’s position at the crossroad of civilizations and the rock engravings that are registered today are a sufficient witness as these date back to approximately 10,000 years ago.”
Hail Gov. Prince Saud bin Abdul Mohsin considers the registration of Hail rock art in the World Heritage List as a great accomplishment that reflects Kingdom’s deeply rooted civilization and its richness in human heritage.
“Such an international recognition crowns the blessed efforts of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, who pays great attention to everything related to the national heritage and necessity of being introduced to Kingdom’s current and future generations,” Prince Saud underlined.
He also extended his appreciation to Prince Sultan bin Salman, SCTNH president, for his great efforts towardthe preservation of the national heritage as this site represents fourth in a row to join the prestigious UNESCO list following Madain Saleh, Historic Diriya and Historic Jeddah.
“These important sites should be provided with integrated network of infrastructure and basic services besides raising the awareness of local people on the importance of such an ancient place,” he added.
Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Ghabban, SCTNH vice-president and supervisor of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque program for caring of Kingdom’s cultural heritage, who also headed the team for the registration of Hail rock art in the World Heritage list, commented that inclusion of the rock art represents a new historic and heritage milestone for the Kingdom.
“It is a unique achievement of its kind as the rare drawings depict the daily lives of the ancient time during prehistoric age,” he observed.
Al-Ghabban disclosed that the UNESCO heritage committee members representing 22 countries unanimously approved the registration of the site and commended its cultural and humanitarian importance as these arts represent a graphic record of man practicing his activities, his adaptation to environment and the cultural level during the neolithic age.
“The Hail rock art’s inclusion has left a great responsibility on SCTNH, its partners and the local community regarding site’s protection and preservation, while at the same time it also represents a great opportunity for development in the region as well as creating job opportunities for locals,” he pointed.
[This story has been edited from the source material.]
By Rashid Hassan
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