The Custodian’s Program of Kingdom’s Cultural Heritage Care

Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities had proposed an initiative for taking care of the cultural heritage in the Kingdom and submitted it for the Royal approval. Subsequently a Royal decree (No. 42779 dated 29/08/2011) was issued ordering the formation of a Ministerial Committee comprising of (the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the Ministry of Culture and Information), in addition to King Abdul Aziz Dara and SCTH in order to study the proposal.

After several meetings, the Committee endorsed SCTH’s proposal and assigned it to undertake the execution and supervision the program within a period of three years in collaboration with several relevant government authorities.

  • SCTH President’s SpeechOpen or Close

    SCTH President in a press statement on this occasion said:
     both resolutions stressed State's concern on tourism and the national heritage

    His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of SCTH, has praised the two recent resolutions made by the Council of Ministers yesterday, Monday, 13th Jan, one approved King Abdullah Project for Care of Cultural Heritage of the Kingdom, and the other approved the provision of financial and administrative support to SCTH to enable it to carry out its mandates.

    HRH President of SCTH in his statement on this occasion has further stated that, the two resolutions stressing the State’s concern towards the development of the national tourism and enhancing status of the national cultural heritage as an important national treasure, adding that, sequence of resolutions by the State in support of the tourism and the national heritage represent as significant indicator to its attention towards economic and cultural issues.

    Describing the resolutions as an extension to the great attention enjoyed by the national heritage as it is considered to be a key component of the Saudi national identity and the great support to the national tourism as a key economic sector, and as such attention by the government is expected to contribute greatly to the development of these important sectors.

    HRH President of SCTH added that, the (King Abdullah Project for Care of Cultural Heritage of the Kingdom?) is seen as one of the most significant achievements of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and it will be connected to his great accomplishments in support of the national history and heritage.

    "The launch of this historic program is consistent with the great efforts by the State and the Saudi people in the restoration of the awareness on the importance of the national heritage. Today we are working under the wise leadership and directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and HRH Crown Prince (May Allah Protect Them) in order to change people’s views on the cultural dimension of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to consider it as one of the most important features of this blessed State, including its physical and cultural heritage, which embrace antiquities, urban heritage, and handicraft".

    "The resolution crowns a huge efforts that have been made to create a quantum leap in the course of attention towards the tangible heritage and its development in order to make it part of people’s life since SCTH had taken responsibility over this sector in 2007. Now our efforts are crowned by this project in its final form and it includes a set of programs and projects aimed at raising awareness and promoting national heritage protection and rehabilitation. It also aims to create integration between government institutions and citizens in this respect".

    He pointed out that this program had a follow-up of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense and the Chairman of King Abdul Aziz Dara who pays a great interest in Islamic history and heritage sites in all regions of the Kingdom besides his care for the national history of the Kingdom.

    HRH continued, “The project aims to instill such awareness of national heritage for future generations in cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Education, under the leadership and support of His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, besides aiming to achieving a number of goals through creating close partnership with a number of different government institutions on specific projects will be announced by SCTH during the next three months according to a specific work program for all projects included in the project.”

    Regarding the Cabinet’s resolution to support SCTH financially and administratively to enable it to carry out its mandated tasks, HRH the President of SCTH, said, “This resolution is an extension of the successive resolutions adopted by the state recently to support the national tourism as an important tributary president of the national economy and for its ability to create employment opportunities for the citizens in various regions of the Kingdom.

    HRH President of SCTH added that the resolution came on the recommendation of an independent committee that was formed by the Royal Decree chaired by late HRH Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz (may Allah have mercy on him). The committee comprised of academics, experts and representatives of the private sector to undertake a comprehensive study to support domestic tourism.  The committee at the end of its task has recommended the Cabinet to issue this resolution which reflects the State and citizen' views for accelerating State's support for the development of the national tourism because of the great benefits, economically and socially that the tourism is expected to bring about.

    HRH Prince Sultan said that everyone shall feel the impact of these decisions, God willing, through the development of tourism facilities and services, and accelerated development of the national tourism in light of the overwhelming response and the increasing of Saudi citizen towards tourism in his home country with increased awareness on the great and various tourism potential that his country enjoys.

    In conclusion, the President of SCTH in his statement thanked all those who contributed to the issuance of resolutions, especially government agencies that participated in the committees that studied these subjects during the four years, including ministries of (foreign affairs, education, municipal and rural affairs, interior, higher education, finance, culture and information, water and electricity, transport, labor, economy and planning, commerce and industry, and the general Secretariat of the economic Council), in addition to King Abdul Aziz Dara, Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority, expert  bodies in the Council of Ministers, which all agreed on the importance of supporting the activities of the Commission and to accelerate the launch of the program of King Abdullah Project for Care of Cultural Heritage in the Kingdom.

  • Introducing Program

  • Program ObjectivesOpen or Close
    • To enhance citizen’s awareness on the glorious unity of his homeland.
    • To rehabilitate and operate State’s historic palaces and buildings in the reign of King Abdul Aziz and transform them into cultural centers to highlight different stages of the national unity and show the extent of the association of these sites with the Saudi people’s historic sacrifices to bring about the national unity.
    • To protect and preserve the antiquities, display them nationally and internationally, and recover the illegally smuggled out antiquities.
    • To pay special attention to the Islamic history sites.
    • To rehabilitate and prepare archeological sites and ancient trade routes and employ them in the comprehensive development.
    • To establish, develop and operate museums across the provinces and municipalities.
    • To develop heritage villages, historic city centers, and popular souks.
    • To preserve handicrafts in order to create job opportunities for Saudi people and transform them into an effective element of the national economy.
  • Program MissionOpen or Close

    To rehabilitate, develop and preserve the components of cultural heritage. To raise awareness of its importance and make it a part of people’s daily life and memory and being proud of it. To achieve a quantum leap in the care of the heritage and link it to tourism industry in order to contribute to the comprehensive development of economy.

  • Program MessageOpen or Close

    To achieve a breakthrough in the care of Kingdom’s antiquities, museums, handicrafts and urban heritage, and rehabilitate them in a way that contributes in the comprehensive economic development and create a national memory that is proud of cultural heritage of the Kingdom.

  • Program Routes

  • 1- Caring of Islamic History SitesOpen or Close
    • To document and record the Islamic history sites.
    • To rehabilitate water wells and water resources related to Prophetic Sira times.
    • To rehabilitate Prophet’s Hejra (Migration) route.
    • To register Islamic history sites in the National heritage records.
  • 2- Establishment, rehabilitation and preparation of museums and archeological sites across the provinces and municipalitiesOpen or Close
    • To develop Khozam Palace in the city of Jeddah and transform it into a museum of Islamic Heritage.
    • To rehabilitate the Photo Museum in Al Badiyah Palace.
    • To rehabilitate King Abdul Aziz Palace in Al Kharj and transform it into a museum and a cultural center in Al Kharj down town.
    • To rehabilitate King Abdul Aziz Palace in Al Ma’abda and transform it into a museum for Makkah.
    • To establish 8 new museums across the provinces.
    • To develop 6 existing museums.
    • To equip, prepare, display museum exhibits in the regional museums (14 museums).
    • To establish Qur’an Oasis.
    • To rehabilitate a number of archeological sites.
    • To rehabilitate trade and Haj ancient routes.
    • To rehabilitate archeological objects.
    • To rehabilitate museums the municipalities that are located in the State’s historic buildings.
    • To expand National Museum.
  • 3- Operation and maintenance of museums and archeological sitesOpen or Close
    • To ensure museums and archeological sites are well equipped and provided with security guards.
    • To undertake operation and maintenance of museums and sites opened for visitors.
    • To undertake “rescue restoration” of archeological sites.
  • 4- Preservation of urban heritage sites and development of heritage villagesOpen or Close
    • To classify and record urban heritage sites.
    • To document urban heritage buildings.
    • To rehabilitate and develop models of heritage towns and villages.
    • To undertake urgent rescue works for heritage and ramshackle buildings.
    • To conduct urban heritage exhibition and forums.
    • To rehabilitate citizens’ heritage buildings that are already handed over to SCTH.
    • To develop urban heritage in historic seaports at Red Sea coast (Yanbu, Amlaj, Al Wajh, Deba, Al Laith, and Al Ghonfoza).
    • To establish urban heritage centers.
  • 5- Record and preserve antiquities and archeological excavation and discoveriesOpen or Close
    • To provide antiquities’ monitors.
    • To recover national antiquities.
    • To survey and prepare (cadastral maps) in order to get ownership deeds for the archeological sites.
    • Survey and archeological excavations.
    • Specialized archeological studies.
    • To record further the Kingdom’s historic sides in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
    • To discover sunken antiquities.
    • To fence, install caution and information signboards at the archeological sites.
    • To expropriate the heritage and archeological sites owned by citizens.
    • To record heritage and archeological objects.
    • To apply archeological observation throughout Kingdom’s provinces.
    • To adopt scientific publication and development of ways of channels of publication.
  • 6- Museums and archeological sites programs and activities, including the followingOpen or Close
    • Museums and archeological sites’ operational programs.
    • Visiting exhibitions.
    • Technical support to private museums.
    • Technical equipment for museums and archeological sites.
    • Museum education.
    • Development of existing exhibits in the National Museum.
  • 7- Handicraft developmentOpen or Close
    • To establish handicraft centers in each of the provinces and municipalities in the Kingdom.
    • To develop handicraft business in popular souks.
    • To undertake audiovisual documentation of handicraft.
    • To invest in handicraft at urban heritage sites.
    • Handicraft regulation.
  • 8- Raising awareness on and introducing the urban heritage, through the followingOpen or Close
    • Enhance cultural dimension in the public educational programs.
    • Information campaigns.
    • Raising awareness and introducing Kingdom’s care towards the Islamic history sites inside and outside the Kingdom.
    • Producing series of documentaries on the Kingdom’s antiquities and heritage.
    • Kingdom’s Cultural Heritage Forum.
    • Series of lectures and symposiums.
    • To establish platforms for the Custodian’s Caring Program on the social media and update their content persistently.
    • Field communication with partners.
    • To communicate with the international media.
    • Production of print material on cultural heritage.
  • 9- Attracting and developing required human resources to manage the national heritageOpen or Close
    • To support all archeological sites in the Kingdom with qualified cadres.
    • To operate new museums with qualified cadres (18 museums).
    • To hire specialists for antiquities and heritage.
    • To support all urban heritage sites with qualified cadres.
    • To train national cadres in antiquities and museums sector in SCTH.
    • To train antiquities and heritage staff on English language.
    • To adopt joint training with the international museums.
  • 10- Cultural heritage eventsOpen or Close
    • Historic Jeddah festival.
    • Souk Okaz festival.
    • Antiquities and heritage sites events.

For review: Cultural Heritage Development Projects