Five mosques in Makkah region to be restored as part of development project – Arab News


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RIYADH: Five mosques in the Makkah region will be restored as part of the second phase of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project for the Development of Historical Mosques, Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.
The project aims to protect and renovate the mosques, prolong their lifespan, and maintain their architecture that has been affected by the changing climate over past centuries.
Al-Baiah Mosque, built by the Abbasid Caliph Abu Jafar Al-Mansour near Jamarat Al-Aqaba in Mina, is the first mosque to be developed in Makkah as part of the second phase of the project.
The area of the mosque after renovation will remain the same at 457.56 square meters, and it will have a capacity of 68 worshippers.
Two mosques in Jeddah governorate are part of the five; Abu Inbeh Mosque in Harat Al-Sham and Al-Khadr Mosque on Al-Dhahab Street in Al-Balad neighborhood.
Abu Inbeh Mosque was built more than 900 years ago and stands at 339.98 square meters.
After renovation, its area will reach 335.31 square meters and it will facilitate 357 worshippers.
Al-Khadr Mosque, around 66 kilometers from the Grand Mosque in Makkah, was built around 700 years ago.
Post-renovation, it will have an area of 355.09 square meters and a capacity of 355 worshippers.
The Prophet Muhammad is said to have prayed at the Al-Fath Mosque in Al-Jamoum governorate during the year he conquered Makkah.
Its area is expected to increase from 455.77 square meters to 553.50 square meters and its capacity will also increase from 218 to 333 worshippers.
Al-Jubail Mosque, which was built more than 300 years ago, is also part of the project and its post-renovation area will be 310 square meters. Its capacity will remain the same at 45 worshippers.
A total of 30 mosques will be included in the second phase of the development project that covers all regions in the Kingdom.
The project aims to highlight Saudi Arabia’s rich culture, restore historical mosques for worship and prayer, preserve the original features of historical mosques, and enhance their religious and cultural status.
RIYADH: Top local and international artists are set to perform at AlUla to celebrate the 92nd Saudi National Day later this month, it has been announced.
The lineup was broadcast on Riyadh Boulevard City’s 82 screens with a five-minute performance by female Saudi violinist and DJ, KAYAN, who played against a backdrop of AlUla’s iconic Elephant Rock.
In its second edition, Azimuth, amplified by MDLBEAST, will include regional and local artists KAYAN, Dorar, Solskin, Dish Dash, Baloo, Biirdperson, Nomad, Gooner, Nightmare on Wax Live, ANMARZ, Vinyl Mode, Damian Lazarus, DJ Snake and Parov Stelar.
The event will start on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following day. On Friday, the show will run from 4:30 p.m. until 6 a.m. on Saturday.
Saudi DJ Baloo, the man behind Azimuth 2022, said: “We’re really excited to be throwing Azimuth this year on the national day weekend, in the breathtaking and enchanting AlUla.”
The festival is set to take place in the same valley where Desert X AlUla art exhibition was hosted earlier this year.
“Everything that’s been developed for AlUla is above par and coming into this place as a music programmer we had to come in and create a festival so special to fit the magical space we’re given,” he added.
Dorrar, Solskin, DJ Snake, Dish Dash, Damian Lazarus, and Vinyl Mode will be performing on day one of Azimuth.
On day two, KAYAN, Biirdperson, Gooner, Nightmare on Wax Live, Parov Stelar, ANMARZ, and Baloo will take the stage.
Philip Jones, Royal Commission of AlUla chief management and marketing officer, told Arab News the main difference between MDLBEAST Riyadh and MDLBEAST in AlUla was that “while you might have 30,000 people in Riyadh, there will only be around a thousand in AlUla.”
Jones said it is more of an individual, tailored experience with smaller crowds.
“What we offer is very experiential that it will set us apart because it fits the brand of AlUla as a premium luxury destination, so think of it as a premium luxury festival.”
This year, AlUla Moments will present several festivals and events: Azimuth, Winter at Tantora, AlUla Wellness Festival, and for the first time The Ancient Kingdoms Festival which is inspired by 7,000 years of successive civilizations on the Arabian Peninsula and the famed incense trading route.
“One of the things we want to do is nurture and develop the entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia, and because AlUla lends itself to such amazing backdrops with film and entertainment and videos, we wanted to use it as an opportunity to really highlight that aspect of it and develop the existing local talent and showcase it,” said Jones.
Tickets are on sale at experiencealula.com.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a cable of condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the death of former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the Saudi Press agency reported early Friday.
“We send to Your Excellency, the family of the deceased and the Russian people, our deepest and sincere condolences,” the king said.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to the Russian president.
Gorbachev, who as the last leader of the Soviet Union waged a losing battle to salvage a crumbling empire but produced extraordinary reforms that led to the end of the Cold War, died Tuesday. He was 91.
The Central Clinical Hospital said in a statement that Gorbachev died after a long illness. No other details were given.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that Russian President Vladimir Putin offered deep condolences over Gorbachev’s death and would send an official telegram to Gorbachev’s family.
(With AP) 
RIYADH: The Saudi Organization for Chartered and Professional Accountants has launched a new academic curriculum for universities to aid the development of the industry and better support its members.
Commerce Minister Majid Al-Qasabi, who chairs the SOCPA, said the government attached great importance to accounting and regarded it as an “essential component of the economy.”
He was speaking at an event to celebrate the achievements of 1,733 men and women who recently completed their professional qualifications. 
SOCPA CEO Dr. Ahmed Almeghames told Arab News that the new curriculum would help universities to produce graduates who are better suited to working in the accounting profession.
It will bridge the gap between education and the labor market, and provide students with the grounding they needed to succeed in their professional studies, he added.
Almeghames described the acquisition of professional credentials in accounting and auditing as “crucial in the labor market,” as that is what businesses and industries desire. 
At the awards ceremony he acknowledged the achievements of the attendees, including the recipients of the excellence award in the fellowship exam, the VAT certificate and accounting certificate.
The event also witnessed the signing of separate agreements between the SOCPA and the Social Development Bank and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.
Each was designed “to support licensed accountants through funding programs and enable them to benefit from the self-employment program,” the SOCPA said.
According to its website, the professional body “aims to improve and contribute to the development of the practice of the profession while monitoring its performance quality … in serving the community and the national economy.”
JEDDAH: Luxury items from designer brands are increasingly finding their way into the mainstream as younger, cost-conscious consumers look for bargain prices on “pre-loved” fashion, jewelry and accessories, inspired in part by celebrities who flaunt vintage designs on red carpets.
Amused — launched in Jeddah in July 2020 by Saudi-British couple Sara Teymoor Banaja and Mansoor Banaja — is an online business that connects buyers and sellers of authentic, pre-owned designer items across the Kingdom.
“After moving to Saudi Arabia, I asked people what they did with their unused luxury items and the answers I got really surprised me,” Sara told Arab News. “They would either give them to charity, ship them to resellers abroad or wait until they traveled to take them with them to sell.”
The market for luxury goods in Gulf Cooperation Council member nations was valued at $7.4 billion in 2020, according to management consulting company Bain and Company.
“Our closets are some of the most valuable in the world, with people in GCC nations spending more on luxury per capita than any other area,” said Sara. “We want to create a more sustainable and rewarding way to consume luxury.”
According to Sara, the younger generation is particularly interested in the timeless beauty of pre-loved luxury items.
“What is beautiful about pre-loved luxury is that we have grandmothers sharing their beautiful and rare vintage collections with us that they are no longer using and the Gen Zs are buying them, which is creating a truly circular fashion economy,” she said.
Older designs that cannot be easily replicated and are not being made any more are among her own particular favorite pre-loved luxury items.
“The older, the better when it comes to luxury,” she said. “After seeing hundreds of luxury pieces pass across our desks, you really see how beautiful the older pieces are and how well they stand the test of time. They truly become more beautiful with age.”
She highlighted Chanel as a prime example of this.
“Some of their pre-2008 items contained 24-karat gold. These pieces are just not made anymore with that level of craftsmanship and quality.”
Saudi consumers are increasingly becoming a part of a growing circular economy for fashion, Sara said.
“During our recent community fashion event, Absolutely Fashion, which is a monthly event we host, a customer stated that shopping with Amused is like shopping with a friend,” she added.
“Trust and customer experience is our priority and this shows in the fact that 40 percent of our sales are from repeat customers that are returning on a monthly basis.”
Hatoon Abdullatif, a Saudi national, founded The Nostalgia Club this year. Based in Jeddah it is an online store that sells a curated collection of pre-loved luxury, vintage designer items, which it ships to customers worldwide. Its specialties are heirlooms, family treasures, precious gifts and once-in-a-lifetime finds.
It also invites people to offer their own vintage items for sale but most importantly, said Abdullatif, The Nostalgia Club is a community or a club for passionate fans of vintage items, collectibles and art.
She said her passion for vintage luxury goods was inspired by the love her mother, Hasna, had for luxury fashion. Hasna, who studied fashion design and merchandising in the US, loved all high-end brands but Versace was her particular favorite.
“The seeds my mother planted grew into my own love of luxury fashion, so while in Switzerland studying for my Bachelor of Arts I added an extra year to my degree to enroll in a new major they were offering: luxury management,” said Abdullatif.
“I felt my mother was with me as I learned about authenticity, counterfeiting and all of the origin stories of luxury brands.”
Her passion developed over time, especially during COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, when she found herself with plenty of time to research the pre-loved luxuries marketplace. With the knowledge she gained from this she decided to “open The Nostalgia Club and give these unique pieces a second life.”
The continuing popularity of vintage items and designs is obvious on fashion runways where they continue to serve as strong sources of inspiration, said Abdullatif.
“In my opinion, vintage and classic items are the main pillars from which styles were derived and tailored,” she explained.
“This means that the essence of creativity in the world of fashion is inspired by previous eras and I believe we should safeguard these iconic items.”
Every vintage item has a unique story to tell, according to Abdullatif.
“Perhaps a grandmother received a vintage necklace as a nervous young bride before her husband went off to war, or a handbag might have been clutched while taking a flight across the ocean to start a new life,” she said.
“All vintage treasures have stories and we want to honor the lives of those who have loved them before and give our customers a chance to be part of their timeless tales.”
It is this sense of history and human experiences that is key to Abdullatif’s mission with The Nostalgia Club.
“Each item has traveled through time and been loved along the way. In a world where so many things are made to be disposable, our mission is to honor the quality and history of these one-of-a-kind, authentic, luxury pieces.”
In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, her business serves another important purpose.
“At the heart of our mission is sustainability,” said Abdullatif. “We believe that to transform our world and the fashion industry, we must intentionally invest in products that were not made for the landfill but rather were crafted with enough care to last many lifetimes.
“These timeless treasures have more love to give and we want to share them with the world.”
The vintage luxury item that Abdullatif herself treasures the most is a bag that belonged to her mother.
“She used to carry a Walter Steiger clutch when we went to weddings,” she said. “I still remember my father handing it to me after she passed away.
“I placed it on my shelf, where it sat, looking at me. I never wanted to use it; it was a treasure I kept nearby to remind me of her. I believe this bag was why The Nostalgia Club had to be born — I wanted to honor her memory.”
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Film Commission is taking part in the 79th Venice International Film Festival, which begins on Aug. 31 and continues until Sept. 10 in Italy.
Organized by La Biennale di Venezia, it is the world’s oldest film festival, and attracts each year a large audience through events that include screenings and panel discussions.
Through its participation in this festival, the Film Commission aims to strengthen its presence in international forums and enhance its relations with filmmakers worldwide.
It also seeks to promote its incentive program to attract international film productions to the Kingdom.
The commission will present workshops at the festival to showcase the program’s advantages to international filmmakers.
During its participation, the commission will highlight the film industry in the Kingdom and its successes.
It also aspires to support Saudi talent by enhancing its presence in major film platforms and finding opportunities for development and growth through international partnerships.
According to the La Biennale di Venezia website, “the aim of the festival is to raise awareness and promote international cinema in all its forms as art, entertainment and as an industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue.
“The festival also organizes retrospectives and tributes to major figures as a contribution toward a better understanding of the history of cinema.”
A number of films from the Middle East have been announced as part of this year’s line-up.

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