Saudi Exhibition With 7,000-Year-Old Artifacts Sets Sail to Paris
The Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in Paris is currently hosting “Al-Ula: Marvel of Arabia” exhibition, a doorway to the unknowns of Saudi Arabia’s heritage.
Al-Ula, a site known as Madain Saleh to locals, is an archaeological hotspot in northwestern Saudi. Home to a number of artifacts from several civilizations, Al-Ula is one of the lesser-known heritage destinations within The Kingdom. Until recently, Al-Ula was not on the international radar, but with Saudi Arabia opening up to the world, the 7,000-year-old site is making its debut on the world map.
Sitting on a natural oasis, this region was an optimum home for many peoples over the years, from Lihyanites, Nabataeans, Romans as well as Arabs.
The Nabataeans, a Semitic ethnic group known for their out-worldly artistry, had left their mark at Al-Ula, crafting grandiose tombs into the red rocks of the desert — a scene found in no other place but Jordan’s Petra, which was built by older generations of the Nabataeans as well.
Ruins of a Roman fort remains standing at Al-Ula, marking the southern limits of what once was the greatest empire in the world.
In more recent times, when the Ottomans decided to build the first railroad through what was then called Al-Hijaz, the tracks stopped at Al-Ula. Some of it remains till this very day.
The IMA’s exhibition introduces the site to visitors all the way to Paris, with a number of artifacts from the different time periods Al-Ula had witnessed over its millennia of existence. These include seashell ornaments and ex-voto figures from the Lihyanite period in addition to pictures of the Nabataeans tombs.
Saudi’s decision to introduce this UNESCO World Heritage Site to the world could not be sounder, as it can only mean more cultural tourism to The Kingdom and a chance for archaeologists to dig deeper into the pristine site in search for treasures hidden under its sands.
“Al-Ula: Marvel of Arabia” at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris will take place from Wednesday, 9th of October until Sunday, 19th of, January 2020.