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Makkah has ‘major role to play in Vision 2030’

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MAKKAH: More than 40 largely unknown archaeological and historical sites in Makkah could play a major part in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy, according to experts.
The sites represent a rich economic and historical resource that could be promoted among pilgrims and other visitors to the city, the specialists said.
Fawaz Al-Dahas, director of the Center for the History of Makkah, told that the city’s wealth of archaeological sites include some of the most important locations in Islam’s history.
Visitors to the sites could discover Makkah’s rich history. Improving safety measures at some sites, especially those that are difficult to reach, such as Mount Thor and the Cave of Hira, was essential, Al-Dahas said.
Saad Al-Joudi, a history researcher, said that the construction of a cable car for the Cave of Hira and Mount Thor was one of several ideas to promote historical sites in Makkah. Information centers would be managed by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).
Graduates from the departments of Islamic antiquities at Saudi universities would be employed to educate visitors on the historical sites and Islamic monuments, helping to “fight against superstitions that come from abroad.”
In a lecture on Wednesday at the Makkah Cultural Club, Dr. Adnan Al-Sharif, professor of history and civilization at Umm Al-Qura University, said that the city is unique. “It is Umm Al-Qura (mother of all towns) which is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and Hadith, and has a special status due to its rich cultural, humanitarian and historical components,” he said.
Al-Sharif said Makkah’s Grand Mosque, landmarks and distinctive urban architecture had a role to play in Vision 2030 .”The city is not only a place for religious rituals, but also a rich addition to the Kingdom’s economic and cultural life,” he said
He pointed to three types of historical sources about Makkah. The first talks about its virtues, the second explores the history of the city, and the third discusses its famous people.
Al-Sharif said the history of Makkah is divided into three phases: the pre-Islamic era, Islamic era and the modern era. Makkah’s importance was established in the Islamic period, which extended to the end of the Ottoman era. In the Saudi era, the city enjoyed unprecedented and continuing prosperity.

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