Cultural Heritage Development Projects

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cultural Heritage Initiative is implemented by SCTH within the four major sectors representing the elements of Kingdom’s cultural heritage. The sectors are:
  1. Antiquities.
  2. Museums.
  3. Urban heritage.
  4. Handicrafts.

Firstly: Antiquities Sector:

SCTH works based on specific strategy to develop this sector, including  setting an approach for dealing with the antiquities in a way compatible with the latest international standards and expertise, proposed regulations, policies and special directives for historic, archeological and urban heritage sites, in addition to museums, preservation, restoration, documentation, registration and management of the sites and relics.

1- National strategy for developing antiquities and museums sector:
It includes:

  • Developing organizational structure of antiquities sector.
  • Improving human resources sector.
  • Expanding financial base of museums and antiquities sector.
  • Developing archeological scientific research, survey and excavations.
  • Developing and improving ways of performance correction and monitoring.
  • Enhancing antiquities protection and preservation.
  • Improving ways of antiquities and urban heritage display.
  • Improving work techniques.
  • Raising awareness on the importance of antiquities and museums.

2- Registering Kingdom’s archeological sites in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List:
  • Registering Madain Saleh in the World Heritage List in 2008.
  • Registering Historic Diriyah in the World Heritage List in 2010.
  • Registering Historic Jeddah in the World Heritage List in 2014.
  • Registering Hail Rock Art Sites in (Jiba and Shiwaimis) in the World Heritage List in 2015.
  • Registering Al-Ahsa Oasis in  the World Heritage List in​ 2018.
  • Preparing 10 sites for registration in the World Heritage List.

3- Antiquities Exhibitions:
  • “Roads of Arabia” in Louvre Museum, Paris, France.
  • “Roads of Arabia” in Barcelona, Spain.
  • “Roads of Arabia” in Hermitage Museum in Russia.
  • “Roads of Arabia” in Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany.
  • “Roads of Arabia” in Washington as first US city to host the exhibition
  • “Roads of Arabia” in Fine Art Museum in Houston.
  • “Roads of Arabia” in Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas.
  • “Roads of Arabia” in Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.
  • “Roads of Arabia” in Vittoriano Museum in Rome, Italy.
  • "Roads of Arabia” Exhibition in the National Museum in Beijing, China
  • “Roads of Arabia” Exhibit in National Museum in Seoul, South Korea
  • “Roads of Arabia” Exhibit in National Museum in Tokyo, Japan
  • "Roads of Arabia" Exhibit in Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

4- National heritage preservation:
  • National heritage preservation regulations and agreements.
  • Expropriation of archeological sites owned by citizens.
  • Monitoring and guarding archeological sites.
  • Fencing archeological sites.
  • Regulating antiquities trade.
  • Preserving Islamic history sites.
  • Antiquities preservation projects.
  • Partnership with government agencies in the antiquities preservation

5- Pay due consideration to Antiquities:
1. To recover national antiquities from inside and abroad, includes:
Launching a campaign to recover national antiquities.
Recover archeological objects.
Recover Islamic art objects. 
2. To rehabilitate and restore historic and archeological sites, including:
Historic Diriyah in Riyadh province.
Al Hijir (Madain Saleh) in Al Madinah.
Fed in Hail province.
Al Okhdood in Najran province.
Hadaj Well, Al Hamrah Palace and Tem’a Village in Tabuk province.  
Sisra Well, Zabal Castle, Al Rajajeel, and Al Saidi Castle in Al Jouf province.
Heritage villages in Al Ghat, Al Ula, Rejal Alm’a, Jiba, and Ze Ain.

6- Establishment of Antiquities’ record:

7- Survey and excavation in archeological sites:

SCTH has implemented joint program with 30 foreign scientific teams from 10 countries, including:
  • Saudi-French excavation team in Madain Saleh, Al Ula.
  • Saudi-German excavation team in Tem’a site in Tabuk.
  • Saudi-French mission for surveying archeological sites in Kalawah in Tabuk.Saudi-American excavation mission in Jarash site in Asir.
  • Saudi-French mission for surveying ancient Arabic inscriptions in Hama Well in Najran province.
  • Saudi-British mission from Exeter University, UK for surveying archeological sites in Fursan Islands in Jazan and Amlaj areas.
  • Saudi-Italian-French excavation mission in Domat Al Jandal and Al Jouf.

8- Archeological discoveries:
  • Al Faw Village.
  • Ramses III inscription ear Tema.
  • Al Magar Civilization (origin of Arabic authentic horses).

Secondly: Museums:

1- National Museum Development:
After annexation of Antiquities to Museums sector, SCTH has set a strategic plan for the development of the National Museum, as well as its operation, increasing its activities and programs, activating its social, cultural, educational, awareness, entertainment and tourism roles through a series of major objectives to create proper environment in the Museum for achieving the following:
  • To provide visitor enjoyment.
  • To take care of collectibles.
  • Act for tourism.
  • To support educational process.
  • To raise awareness and education on Kingdom history, antiquities and heritage.

2- SCTH efforts in the development of existing museums and establishing new ones:
  • Developing existing museums in - Tem’a, Najran, Jazan, Al Ahsa and Al Ula.
  • Establishing five regional museums in - Dammam, Al Baha, Abha, Hail, and Tabuk.
  • The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Program for Caring of Kingdom’s Cultural Heritage has devoted a program to establish, develop and operate museums across the provinces and municipalities in the Kingdom, including the following: 
    • Prepare and establish exhibits in museums at Asir, Al Baha, Tabuk, Hail, Eastern Province, Al Qassim, Najran, Al Jouf and Northern Borders, and in the municipalities of Al Ula, Tema, Al Hofuf, Siba and Al Ahsa.
    • Establish two museums in Al Qassim and Northern Borders.
    • Develop Makkah Museum in Al Zaher Palace.
    • Develop Al Madinah Museum at Al Hejaz Railway Station.
    • Establish Qur’an Oasis Museum in Al Madinah.
    • Implement museum shows in 20 historic buildings across municipalities.
    • Operate and maintain museums across the Kingdom’s provinces. 
    • Implement antiquities exhibition.
    • Develop King Abdul Aziz Palace (Khozam) in Jeddah and transform it into a museum for Islamic heritage. 
    • Develop King Abdul Aziz Palace in Al Badiah and transform it into a museum and cultural center for historic photos.

Thirdly: Urban Heritage:

SCTH dealt with the urban heritage of the Kingdom through nine major themes, as follows:
  • Preservation and protection of urban heritage buildings.
  • Classification and registration of urban heritage buildings.
  • Raising awareness on the urban heritage.
  • Rehabilitation and development of urban heritage sites.
  • Investment and finance in urban heritage.
  • Training and rehabilitation of sector manpower 
  • Technical support to urban heritage buildings owners.
  • Create partnerships for the interest of the urban heritage.
  • To expand the events that are held at urban heritage sites.

1- SCTH role in the development and preservation of the urban heritage:
  • Including the urban heritage under authority of SCTH.
  • Stop random removal of buildings of urban heritage.
  • Launching leading initiatives for urban heritage.
  • Changing attitudes towards the urban heritage.
  • Developing the role of local communities and council.
  • Developing the role of colleges and educational specialized institutions.
  • Activating the role of partners from public and private sectors.
  • Developing the role of the private sector.
  • Establishing centers for national urban heritage.

2- SCTH's initiatives towards Urban Heritage:

Firstly: Samples of SCTH efforts in setting necessary regulations for the preservation of the urban heritage:
Setting a regulation to preserve the urban heritage.
Treating the properties of urban heritage sites owned by citizens.
Preparing required treaties with Arab and Islamic countries on the urban heritage.

Secondly:  Samples of projects reflecting SCTH efforts in urban heritage.
Historic Diriyah project.
Historic Jeddah project.
Hofuf downtown project.
Al Taif downtown project.
Al Ghat historic town project.
Rejal Alm’a Heritage Village project.
Ze Ain Heritage Village project.
Heritage Town in Jiba.
Al Ula Heritage Town development project.
Al Qaisariah Souq project in Al Hofuf.

3- Popular Souk Development and Rehabilitation Project:
  • Mahial Asir Popular Souk in Asir province,
  • Tuesday Weekly Souk in Al Makhwa, Al Baha province.
  • Thursday Souk in Al Qatif, Eastern Province.
  • Al Khoba Souk, Jazan province.
  • Dhahran Al Janoob Souk, Asir province.
  • Al Nariyah Souk, Eastern Province.
  • Souk Hail, Hail province.
  • Al Goz Souk, Makkah province.

4- Rehabilitation of State historic buildings:
  • Al Musmak Palace in Riyadh.
  • Al Mugabe Palace in Riyadh.
  • King Abdul Aziz Palace in Al Badiah.
  • Abu Jafan Palace in Al Kharj.
  • Al Zaher Palace in Makkah.
  • Al Sagaf Palace in Makkah.
  • Shubrah Palace in Al Taif.
  • Khozam Palace in Jeddah.
  • Bait Naseef in Jeddah.
  • Bait Al Amari in Jeddah.
  • King Abdul Aziz Palace in Nata, Eastern Province.
  • King Abdul Aziz Palace in Um Ogal, Eastern Province.
  • Bait Al Mal in Al Hofuf. 
  • King Abdul Aziz Palace in Bagba, Al Qassim.
  • Al Ghat Al Amara Palace, Riyadh.
  • Al Jobiala Police in Al Diriyah.
  • Al Amara Palace in Wadi Al Dawasir.
  • Al Ghashla Building in Jeddah.
  • Al Ogair Customs Buildings in Eastern Province.
  • Al Amara Palace in Al Olaya Village in the Eastern province.
  • Ibrahim Palace in Al Ahsa, Eastern Province.
  • Shada Palace in Abha, Asir.
  • Al Amara in Al Rass, Al Qassim.
  • Al Gashla Building in Hail.
  • Al Amara Palace in Najran “Bani Madi Palace”.
  • King Abdul Aziz Castle in Deba, Tabuk.
  • King Abdul Aziz Castle in Hagle, Tabuk.
  • Al Amara Palace in Amlaj, Tabuk.
  • Al Amara Palace in Al Wajh, Tabuk.
  • Al Amara Palace in Al Haditha, Al Qurayyat, Al Jouf.
  • Al Amara Palace in Al Essawia, Al Jouf.
  • Kaf Palace, Al Qurayyat in Al Jouf.
  • Al Amara Palace in Lyna, Northern Borders.
  • Al Grain School in Shagra, Riyadh.
  • Al Sani School in Al Majm’a, Riyadh.
  • Dar Al Hana in Makkah.
  • Al Faleh Schools in Makkah.
  • Dar Al Tawheed in Al Taif.
  • Al Awlah School in Al Hofuf, Eastern Province.
  • Al Ameria School in Dheba, Tabuk.
  • Omar bin Al Khatab School in Al Qurayyat, Al Jouf.

5- Historic City Center Development Projects:
  • Riyadh city center.
  • Al Hofuf city center.
  • Al Taif city center.
  • Najran city center.
  • Tem’a city center.
  • Tabuk city center.
  • Abha city center.

6- Urban heritage development projects in historic seaports in Red Sea:
  • Yanbu historic seaport.
  • Amlaj historic seaport.
  • Al Wajh historic seaport.
  • Dheba historic seaport.

7- SCTH efforts in preservation of urban heritage buildings owned by citizens:
  • Support, rehabilitation and investment programs.
  • Alternatives of support and rehabilitation.
  • Setting potential frames for understanding between the owner and investor.
  • SCTH perception for project finance.
  • Initial list of targeted buildings by the project

Fourthly: Handicrafts:
  • Setting the national strategy for the handicraft.
  • Initiative of establishing permanent locations for artisans.
  • Periodic work program for handicraft.
  • Okaz Award for Creativity in Handicraft.
  • SCTH partnership with Saudi Post.
  • Participation of national artisans in investment festivals, events and forums.
  • Artisans’ engagement in heritage villages and urban heritage buildings in the Kingdom.
  • Home-based work of artisans.
  • Cooperating with malls to market handicraft products.
  • Working with Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, represented by provincial municipalities.
  • Putting into effect Cabinet resolution regarding gifts given to State guest to be taken from national handicraft products.
  • Call of His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz to activate integrated finance for leading, small and medium projects, engaging marketing companies and protecting trademarks under the slogan (Genuine Saudi craft).
  • (Made in Makkah and Made in Madinah) projects.