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Saudi Heritage: Silent Thamud Inscriptions Speak of Hail’s Ancient Cultural Heritage

MAKKAH: Ancient Thamudic inscriptions and designs adorn almost every street and alley in Hail, a testament to the region’s ancient cultural heritage, which is attracting increasing numbers of tourists to the area.

This cultural and diverse production of the Thamudic language is present in all the services and products provided by the various government sectors.

Saud Al-AliGeneral Supervisor of Media and Corporate Communications at the Municipality of Hail

This city in the north of the country has thousands of Thamudic inscriptions dating from the 8th century BC to the 3rd century AD, outlining in detail the social life of various communities. It is the richest and most diverse rock art found in Saudi Arabia, according to UNESCO.

Saud Al-Ali, the Hail Municipality’s general supervisor of media and corporate communications, told Arab News that the designs and inscriptions have been incorporated into public spaces. “This cultural and diverse production of the Thamudic language is present in all the services and products provided by the various government sectors,” he said.

Hail artists use Thamudic to adorn the city’s landmarks, including its gates, the regional airport, and King Fahd Road.

QUICKFACTS

• Hail has thousands of Thamudic inscriptions dating from the 8th century BC to the 3rd century AD, outlining in detail the social life of various communities.

• It is the richest and most diverse rock art found in Saudi Arabia, according to UNESCO.

• Several inscriptions are also found in different places, “enriching this ever-renewing cultural diversity of a city deeply rooted in history”.

“Several inscriptions are also found in different places, enriching this ever-renewing cultural diversity of a city deeply steeped in history,” he said. “Citizens and visitors to Hail have been truly impressed by these inscriptions which link the present to the past.

Al-Ali said these works of art have boosted the city’s status as a tourist destination, which has recently also been highlighted by the Dakar International Rally using it as part of its route.

Al-Ali said the late artist Youssef Al-Shugdali oversaw many works of art in the city and created a massive mural using some of these inscriptions to reflect his love for the area and his “spirit of welcome and hospitality”.

Al-Ali said that the Umm Sinman mountain in Hail had many Thamudic inscriptions. “These murals, far from being silent, are expressive,” he said. It inspired young people to learn the language, he added.

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