Presidency of Grand Mosque, King Salman Global Academy Sign MoU to Promote Arabic Language

Worshippers perform Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Worshippers perform Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Presidency of Grand Mosque, King Salman Global Academy Sign MoU to Promote Arabic Language

Worshippers perform Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Worshippers perform Friday prayers at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque signed a memorandum of understanding with King Salman Global Academy for the Arabic Language to promote the language, reported the Saudi Press Agency on Tuesday.

The agreement will kick off activities, programs and training courses in Arabic language and calligraphy. It covers lessons and lectures in Arabic language at the Two Holy Mosques, writing and publishing Arabic books, and building written or audio linguistic blogs.

The MoU will enrich the experience of visitors of the Two Holy Mosques and Umrah pilgrims by teaching them the Arabic language and calligraphy.



Bavarian Hammersmith Forges Wrought-Iron Pans at a Mill More Than 500 Years Old 

A view of handmade pans by hammersmith Andreas Rohrmoser stand in a hammer forge, in Bad Oberdorf, Germany, Monday, Sept. 18, 2023. (AP)
A view of handmade pans by hammersmith Andreas Rohrmoser stand in a hammer forge, in Bad Oberdorf, Germany, Monday, Sept. 18, 2023. (AP)
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Bavarian Hammersmith Forges Wrought-Iron Pans at a Mill More Than 500 Years Old 

A view of handmade pans by hammersmith Andreas Rohrmoser stand in a hammer forge, in Bad Oberdorf, Germany, Monday, Sept. 18, 2023. (AP)
A view of handmade pans by hammersmith Andreas Rohrmoser stand in a hammer forge, in Bad Oberdorf, Germany, Monday, Sept. 18, 2023. (AP)

Andreas Rohrmoser has been forging thousands of wrought-iron pans the old-fashioned way in his centuries-old hammer mill in the Bavarian village of Bad Oberdorf near the Austria border.

The 53-year-old German hammersmith took over the mill from his predecessor two years ago but had been working there for 15 years already.

The red-roofed mill itself, nestled in a valley in the foothills of the Alps, is more than 500 years old, he said in an interview on Monday. It sits on a canal of the Ostrach river that was built centuries ago specifically to power the mill.

The canal’s water power, channeled through a mill wheel, drives a gigantic hammer inside the building punching down on the anvil. There, in his blacksmith shop, Rohrmoser flattens and shapes his famous skillets.

“The secret of my pans is that they don’t have any kind of coating and therefore you can heat them to a much higher temperature than most other industrially made pans,” Rohrmoser said.

Rohrmoser also used to make horseshoes in the past, but the demand for his skillets has been so strong that he only focuses on them now.

His pans come in different sizes and cost from about $50 to $100.

Among the many dishes he recommends making with his skillets are Bavarian Kaiserschmarrn pancakes, steak and home-fried potatoes.

“The strong heat will make the different dishes — like the fried potatoes — so much crunchier and better,” he said.


12th Conference of Ministers of Culture of the Islamic World Kicks off in Doha

A picture shows a view of the sunset in Doha from the old city port on September 22, 2023. (AFP)
A picture shows a view of the sunset in Doha from the old city port on September 22, 2023. (AFP)
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12th Conference of Ministers of Culture of the Islamic World Kicks off in Doha

A picture shows a view of the sunset in Doha from the old city port on September 22, 2023. (AFP)
A picture shows a view of the sunset in Doha from the old city port on September 22, 2023. (AFP)

The 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture of the Islamic World kicked off in the Qatari capital Doha on Monday, reported the Saudi Press Agency.

The event is organized by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and hosted by the Qatari Ministry of Culture under the theme “Towards Renewing Cultural Work in the Islamic World”.

The two-day event is being attended by a number of ministers of cultural affairs, delegations of ISESCO member states, and representatives of a host of related regional and international organizations.

The conference reviewed ISESCO's efforts to support cultural work in light of its vision and strategic directions, as well as the report of its affiliate Heritage Committee and the document of guidelines for cultural policies.


Picasso Masterpiece Begins Pre-auction Tour in Dubai

A visitor looks at Pablo Picasso’s painting “Femme à la montre” displayed for viewing at Sotheby’s Dubai on September 25, 2023. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)
A visitor looks at Pablo Picasso’s painting “Femme à la montre” displayed for viewing at Sotheby’s Dubai on September 25, 2023. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)
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Picasso Masterpiece Begins Pre-auction Tour in Dubai

A visitor looks at Pablo Picasso’s painting “Femme à la montre” displayed for viewing at Sotheby’s Dubai on September 25, 2023. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)
A visitor looks at Pablo Picasso’s painting “Femme à la montre” displayed for viewing at Sotheby’s Dubai on September 25, 2023. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

A Pablo Picasso masterpiece expected to fetch at least $120 million at auction went on show Monday in Dubai, kicking off a set of rare viewings outside the United States.

"Femme a la montre", the 1932 portrait of Marie-Therese Walter, Picasso's mistress and "golden muse", is being exhibited for two days before heading to Hong Kong and London.

The viewing is "the first time a painting of this caliber by the world-renowned artist has ever been exhibited in the UAE", Sotheby's Dubai said in a statement, noting it is the first time the portrait had been shown outside the United States in half a century.

"Over the years the UAE has earned the status of being a global art destination, which receives a further boost as this rare Picasso is unveiled here," said UAE Culture Minister Sheikh Salem bin Khalid al-Qassimi.

"Femme a la montre" will be sold in November as part of a two-day auction of late New Yorker Emily Fisher Landau's prestigious collection.

Walter met Picasso in Paris in 1927, when the Spaniard was still married to Russian-Ukrainian ballet dancer Olga Khokhlova, and when Walter was 17.

Walter, whose daughter with Picasso died last year, also featured in "Femme assise pres d'une fenetre (Marie-Therese)", which was sold in 2021 for $103.4 million by Christie's auction house.

"The market for Picasso is one of the most truly global of any artist. He is a worldwide phenomenon," said Julian Dawes, head of impressionist and modern art at Sotheby's.

Between 2021 and 2022 "we saw over 100 percent increase in bidders and buyers across all of our departments from the Middle East", Dawes added.

Fifty years after his death in 1973 aged 91, Picasso remains one of the most influential artists of the modern world, and is often hailed as a dynamic and creative genius.

But in the wake of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault, his reputation has been tarnished by accusations that he exerted a violent hold over the women who shared his life and inspired his art.


Four Tombs Discovered in Roman Necropolis in Gaza

The discovery marks the first complete Roman necropolis, or cemetery, fully unearthed in Gaza © MAHMUD HAMS / AFP
The discovery marks the first complete Roman necropolis, or cemetery, fully unearthed in Gaza © MAHMUD HAMS / AFP
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Four Tombs Discovered in Roman Necropolis in Gaza

The discovery marks the first complete Roman necropolis, or cemetery, fully unearthed in Gaza © MAHMUD HAMS / AFP
The discovery marks the first complete Roman necropolis, or cemetery, fully unearthed in Gaza © MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

Four Roman tombs dating back 2,000 years have been discovered in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian archaeologist said Saturday, bemoaning a lack of resources that has delayed excavations in the besieged territory.

"With the discovery of these four tombs, the total number of tombs in this Roman cemetery, dating from the period between the first century BC and the second century AD, now stands at 134 tombs," said archaeologist Fadel Al-Otol.

The discovery marks the first complete Roman necropolis, or cemetery, fully unearthed in Gaza, he told AFP.

"Fragments of pottery and metal pieces used in funeral rituals" have been found in the resting places, added Otol.

The cemetery is notable for its pyramid-shaped tombs. Inside them, a team of technicians, working under the direction of Otol, undertake restoration work using rudimentary tools.

"Two lead coffins, one adorned with clusters of grapes and the other with dolphins swimming in water, were recently discovered on the site," noted the Palestinian archaeologist, who lamented a lack of financial resources.

The funding for the excavation and restoration work comes from the British Council's Fund for the Protection of Culture.

 

 


UNESCO Adds 47 New Sites to World Heritage List, Including Saudi Arabia's Uruq Bani Ma'arid Reserve

UNESCO finalized the addition of 47 new sites to its World Heritage List, including Saudi Arabia’s Uruq Bani Ma'arid Reserve. (Getty Images/AFP)
UNESCO finalized the addition of 47 new sites to its World Heritage List, including Saudi Arabia’s Uruq Bani Ma'arid Reserve. (Getty Images/AFP)
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UNESCO Adds 47 New Sites to World Heritage List, Including Saudi Arabia's Uruq Bani Ma'arid Reserve

UNESCO finalized the addition of 47 new sites to its World Heritage List, including Saudi Arabia’s Uruq Bani Ma'arid Reserve. (Getty Images/AFP)
UNESCO finalized the addition of 47 new sites to its World Heritage List, including Saudi Arabia’s Uruq Bani Ma'arid Reserve. (Getty Images/AFP)

The UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) finalized the addition of 47 new sites to its World Heritage List, including Saudi Arabia’s Uruq Bani Ma'arid Reserve, reported the Saudi Press Agency on Saturday.

Member states nominated 50 natural, cultural, and mixed sites during the 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh from September 10 to 25.

The committee postponed the addition of one of the sites, rejected another, and approved the extension of five other World Heritage sites, UNESCO said in a statement.

The new additions included two Arab sites besides the Saudi reserve -- Palestine’s Ancient Jericho and Tunisia’s Djerba Island.

Mohlago Flora Mokgohloa of South Africa, who presided over the session adding the Saudi reserve, expressed gratitude for the delegations participating in the meetings and hailed Kingdom’s warm hospitality.

“We feel inspired by all the developments we see in the Kingdom,” she said. “These are big steps towards expanding the biodiversity and environmental preservation.”


Rare Truman Capote Story from Early 1950s Is Being Published for First Time 

Author Truman Capote, shown in his apartment on July, 23, 1980. (AP)
Author Truman Capote, shown in his apartment on July, 23, 1980. (AP)
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Rare Truman Capote Story from Early 1950s Is Being Published for First Time 

Author Truman Capote, shown in his apartment on July, 23, 1980. (AP)
Author Truman Capote, shown in his apartment on July, 23, 1980. (AP)

Along with such classics as “In Cold Blood” and “Breakfast at Tiffany's,” Truman Capote had a history of work left uncompleted and unpublished.

Capote, who died in 1984 shortly before his 60th birthday, spent much of his latter years struggling to write his planned Proustian masterpiece “Answered Prayers,” of which only excerpts were released. As a young man, he wrote a novel about a love affair between a socialite and a parking lot attendant that was published posthumously under the title “Summer Crossing.”

Shorter work, too, was sometimes abandoned, including a piece released this week for the first time.

Capote was in his mid-20s and a rising star when he moved from New York City to Taormina, Sicily, in 1950 and settled in a scenic villa named Fontana Vecchia, once occupied by D.H. Lawrence. Acclaimed for his debut novel, “Other Voices, Other Rooms,” and for his eerie short story “Miriam,” Capote would describe the move to Europe as a needed escape from the American literary scene, which he likened to living inside a light bulb, and an ideal setting to get work done: He wrote the novel “The Grass Harp” in Sicily and worked on numerous short stories.

“I am so happy to be writing stories again — they are my great love,” he wrote to a friend.

One story from Sicily, “Another Day in Paradise,” is an unfinished work that appears in the new issue of The Strand Magazine. Written at a time of relative contentment for Capote, “Another Day” is a narrative of disillusion and entrapment: The middle-aged American heiress Iris Greentree has used her inheritance — a small one because her mother didn't trust her with money — to buy a villa in Sicily. She will end up betrayed by the local man who persuaded to invest her money, Signor Carlo Petruzzi, and too broke to sell the home and return to the US.

“The past had trained her to envision an affair from a futureless angle; at the most, she hoped such episodes would end in friendship. It was so humiliating that Carlo should have turned out not to be a friend. She’d trusted him to the extent of her capital: let him sell her the land, allowed him to build the villa, supply, at pirate prices, the native paraphernalia that furnished it,” Capote wrote.

“He was an emotional crook and, beyond that, a common gangster who’d pocketed at least half the money supposedly spent on Belle Vista. All this she could forgive him — could, but didn’t. The unforgivable aspect of the ghastly man’s behavior was that it had destroyed the meaning of these lines in her journal: `I belong. At last, somewhere.'”

Much of Capote's fiction was set in New York or in the American South, but “Another Day in Paradise” has the easy pace, decorative language and cutting — sometimes cruel — humor of his best known work, and the themes of loneliness, fear and regret. Thomas Fahy, author of “Understanding Truman Capote,” says that the author likely related to Iris Greentree's sense of displacement and alienation.

“He was constantly moving around as a child, from New Orleans to Alabama to New York to Connecticut,” Fahy says. “You could see how his life became very lonely and isolated.”

The Strand has published rare works by Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck and many others. Managing editor Andrew Gulli found the Capote story in the Library of Congress, inside an “old red- and gold-scrolled Florentine notebook,” he writes on the Strand editorial page. The handwritten manuscript, worked in pencil, was at times so hard to make out that Gulli needed a transcriber to help prepare it for publication.

Fahy says that Capote’s time in Sicily, where he remained for just over a year, left him with the kind of feelings many authors have when away from their native countries — a heightened sense of distance from home that likely helped inspire “Another in Paradise,” and a heightened clarity. which he drew upon for “The Grass Harp” and its memories of his years in Monroeville, Alabama.


Saudi Arabia Launches Ambassadors of King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism Program

The Architecture and Design Commission
The Architecture and Design Commission
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Saudi Arabia Launches Ambassadors of King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism Program

The Architecture and Design Commission
The Architecture and Design Commission

The Architecture and Design Commission has launched the "Ambassadors of the King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism" program during a ceremony held at the Saudi National Museum in Riyadh.
In the presence of the Commission's CEO, Sumaya Al-Sulaiman, the names of 16 ambassadors selected based on their experiences and contributions in the architecture sector were announced.
Al-Sulaiman said that the program's launch stems from the commission's commitment to support and empower the architecture and design community and achieve its ambitious vision for the advancement and development of the sector.
The ambassadors expressed their gratitude to the commission for choosing them and stressed their commitment to realizing the vision of the charter, which is to create architectural excellence and improve the quality of life for all people through forming architectural environments that build on cultural and environmental heritage and emulate the future.
The ambassadors' program aims to raise awareness of the charter's methodology within the architecture and design community by highlighting its vision and six core values: authenticity, continuity, human centricity, livability, innovation, and sustainability.
The ambassadors' role will primarily focus on increasing knowledge and promoting the best urban practices included in the charter's methodology.


Ancient 'Power' Palazzo on Rome's Palatine Hill Reopens to Tourists

Visitors admire the newly restored domus Tiberiana, one of the main imperial palaces, during the press preview on Rome's Palatine Hill, in Rome, Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Visitors admire the newly restored domus Tiberiana, one of the main imperial palaces, during the press preview on Rome's Palatine Hill, in Rome, Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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Ancient 'Power' Palazzo on Rome's Palatine Hill Reopens to Tourists

Visitors admire the newly restored domus Tiberiana, one of the main imperial palaces, during the press preview on Rome's Palatine Hill, in Rome, Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Visitors admire the newly restored domus Tiberiana, one of the main imperial palaces, during the press preview on Rome's Palatine Hill, in Rome, Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

An ancient Roman imperial palazzo atop the city's Palatine Hill was reopened to tourists on Thursday, nearly 50 years after its closure for restoration.

The nearly 2,000-year-old Domus Tiberiana was home to rulers in the ancient city’s Imperial period. The sprawling palace allows for sweeping views of the Roman Forum below.

The public is now able to tour it, following decades of structural restoration work to shore the palace up for safety reasons. Excavations uncovered artifacts from centuries of Roman life following the decline of the empire.

The director of the Colosseum Archeological Park, which includes the Palatine Hill, in a written description of the restored palazzo, dubbed it “the power palace par excellence.”
On the eve of the reopening, the official, Alfonsina Russo, quoted a first-century Roman poet as saying the sprawling palace seemed “infinite” and that "its grandiosity was just like the grandiosity of the sky.”

Although the domus, or residence, is named after Tiberius, who ruled the empire after the death of Augustus, archaeological studies indicated that the palace's foundations date from the era of Nero, shortly after the fire of 64 A.D that devastated much of the city.

After the demise of the Roman Empire, the residence suffered centuries of abandonment, until when, in the 1500s, the Farnese noble family developed an extensive garden around the ruins.

Thanks to the palazzo's reopening to the public, visitors today can get a better idea of the path ancient emperors and their courts enjoyed en route to the domus.

The English word “palatial” is inspired by the sumptuous imperial residence atop the Palatine, one of ancient Rome's seven hills, The Associated Press reported.

The domus, built on the northwest slope of the hill, is considered to be the first true imperial palace. Besides the emperor's residence, the complex included gardens, places of worship, quarters for the Praetorian Guard that protected the ruler and a service district for workers that overlooked the Roman Forum.

Excavation and restoration work, carried out also during the coronavirus pandemic when for months tourism was at a minimum, helped archeologists piece together what Russo calls centuries of history in a place that “somehow went forgotten.”


AlUla's Dream Comes True as Top Global Tourist Destination

AlUla includes the ancient Nabataean city of Hegra or Al-Hijr, registered as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Kingdom, and the Dadan archaeological site, which contributed to developing and enriching the Arabic language.(SPA)
AlUla includes the ancient Nabataean city of Hegra or Al-Hijr, registered as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Kingdom, and the Dadan archaeological site, which contributed to developing and enriching the Arabic language.(SPA)
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AlUla's Dream Comes True as Top Global Tourist Destination

AlUla includes the ancient Nabataean city of Hegra or Al-Hijr, registered as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Kingdom, and the Dadan archaeological site, which contributed to developing and enriching the Arabic language.(SPA)
AlUla includes the ancient Nabataean city of Hegra or Al-Hijr, registered as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Kingdom, and the Dadan archaeological site, which contributed to developing and enriching the Arabic language.(SPA)

The people of AlUla Governorate, located in the northwest of the Kingdom, have long dreamt of seeing the region as a global tourist hub for worldwide visitors. This dream came true thanks to the support provided by the wise leadership, transforming AlUla into one of the most prominent and important global tourism destinations, as it has witnessed a remarkable tourism boom, according to recent statistics.
The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) aims to raise the number of tourists to 2 million visitors by 2035, SPA said.
Hundreds of young men and women work in various fields to promote tourism in this governorate, which still preserves its antiquities and history dating back thousands of years.
It offers outstanding archaeological sites and unique tourist attractions, being one of the largest living museums in the world due to its antiquities, cemeteries, sculptures, and rock formations. It also includes the ancient Nabataean city of Hegra or Al-Hijr, registered as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Kingdom, and the Dadan archaeological site, which contributed to developing and enriching the Arabic language.
The new identity of the 93rd National Day this year, under the slogan "We Dream, and We Achieve," was inspired by Saudi projects that were accomplished and turned from a dream into a reality, including AlUla projects empowered by the efforts of the RCU that aim to strengthen its position as one of the global archaeological, cultural, and natural tourist destinations.
The "AlUla Vision," launched by the Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman earlier, reflects AlUla's historical status embodied through the essential stages of achieving AlUla's vision, including the "Journey Through Time" plan.
This plan also aims to preserve AlUla as a unique natural and cultural environment that can develop cultural heritage for the world and achieve the goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030. Upon its completion, it will realize an economic return by attracting more tourists and providing multiple job opportunities for local community members, in addition to contributing to the Kingdom's GDP.


Dubai Culture, UAE Falcons Federation Join Hands to Preserve Emirati Heritage

The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority
The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority
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Dubai Culture, UAE Falcons Federation Join Hands to Preserve Emirati Heritage

The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority
The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority

Dubai Culture and Arts Authority has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UAE Falcons Federation to strengthen collaboration in promoting awareness of Emirati heritage among the public, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Thursday.

Both entities will work together to organize a series of initiatives and activities focused on preserving Emirati heritage and culture, WAM said. This partnership reflects the commitment of both parties to instill a deeper sense of national identity in society and contribute to the preservation and promotion of heritage sports, the news agency added.

The MoU defines the roles of both parties, allowing the UAE Falcons Federation to use facilities at Dubai Culture's museums to organize a range of events, workshops, and activities aimed at introducing visitors and local community members to heritage sports and falconry competitions.

Mansoor Lootah, CEO of the Operations Support Sector at Dubai Culture/Acting Director-General of Dubai Culture, affirmed the importance of partnerships formed with heritage entities in the country, strengthening the role of the authority in motivating the public to explore the elements of Emirati heritage and culture in all its beauty and authenticity.

Lootah said: "Heritage sports are an integral part of our culture and history; they are customs passed on through several generations and still maintain an important role in the Emirati society. Dubai Culture is keen to introduce them by highlighting their artistic aspects, history, and presence in the local scene, contributing to raising awareness of the importance of heritage sports that we cherish."

"Falconry, as a traditional and heritage sport, is closely tied to our culture, history, and national identity. This MoU represents an opportunity to continue introducing this sport, its details, and practices, especially in light of the increasing interest of the younger generation in various technological advancements,” said Secretary-General of the UAE Falcons Federation Rashid bin Markhan.

“This amplifies our responsibility to create innovative solutions and initiatives to instill the importance of heritage sports and their noble values in the hearts of future generations. It also aligns with our joint strategic goals to promote the culture of falconry and familiarize people with its principles."