World News Makkah museums elevate pilgrims’ experience

MAKKAH: Makkah’s museums attract Muslims from across the world and enrich the pilgrimage experience. They also offer revealing insights into the Kingdom’s history and its dedication to Hajj and Umrah performers.

Dr. Fahd Al-Maliki, vice chairman of the Saudi Historical Society and professor of graduate studies at Umm Al-Qura University, told Arab News that the emergence of museums in the Arab world was slowed by political, economic, social, educational, and religious challenges.


Worshippers from around the world flocked to the Grand Mosque in Makkah for ‘Laylat Al-Qadr’ prayers that was observed in the wee hours of Saturday. (SPA)

The latter, Al-Maliki said, included some factions viewing the collection of artifacts and statues as reminiscent of pre-Islamic idol worship. This led to the destruction of such items in many Arab countries, driven by fears of paganism, which hindered the development of museums in the region.

“However, this dynamic shifted with a growing societal consciousness, prioritizing the preservation of countries’ historical narratives and cultural legacies,” he explained. Consequently, concerted efforts were directed towards cultural preservation and archaeology.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Some of the precious artifacts on display date back more than 1,400 years, and they play a pivotal role in educating visitors, broadening their understanding of the Kingdom.

• Makkah’s Islamic Heritage Museum is renowned for its rare archeological and prehistoric artifacts. It also highlights the architectural splendor of the Grand Mosque and celebrates the Kingdom’s contributions to serving the Two Holy Mosques.

In Saudi Arabia, the establishment of museums, and of archaeology departments within universities, emerged, thanks to a heightened interest in the preservation of cultural heritage. Museums — both government-run and privately owned — have since proliferated throughout the Kingdom, with 57 now established across the country.


A glimpse of one of the museums in Makkah that is housing hundreds and thousands of years old carefully preserved and restored artifacts. (Supplied)

Saad Al-Sharif, a professor of Islamic history, emphasized the crucial role these museums play in “showcasing Saudi Arabia’s cultural and pioneering spirit.”

In the heart of the holy city, several museums welcome visitors from around the world and offer comprehensive insights into thousands of years of history.


A glimpse of one of the museums in Makkah that is housing hundreds and thousands of years old carefully preserved and restored artifacts. (Supplied)

Some of the precious artifacts on display date back more than 1,400 years, and they play a pivotal role in educating visitors, broadening their understanding of the Kingdom.

One of the most popular museums in Makkah is the Alssalamu Alaika Ayyuha Annabi (Peace be upon you Prophet) Museum, which houses a rich collection of Qur’anic verses and 1,500 artifacts originating from the era of Prophet Muhammad.


A glimpse of one of the museums in Makkah that is housing hundreds and thousands of years old carefully preserved and restored artifacts. (Supplied)

The Umm Al-Qura Museum, housed in King Abdulaziz’s palace, meanwhile, features collections of metal tools, Islamic inscriptions, rock drawings, and historical tombstones dating back more than seven centuries.

Located adjacent to the pilgrims’ visitation area in Makkah’s central district is the Clock Tower Museum, a four-story establishment that was opened roughly four years ago and has already become a notable landmark in the city. It plays a crucial role in determining prayer times, especially during sunrise and sunset.


A glimpse of one of the museums in Makkah that is housing hundreds and thousands of years old carefully preserved and restored artifacts. (Supplied)

The museum hosts a rich array of exhibits related to eclipses, planets, and lunar phenomena, and is equipped with a telescope for live stargazing experiences. Visitors can also delve into scientific journals and papers that explore the movements of stars and planets.

Makkah’s Islamic Heritage Museum is renowned for its rare archaeological and prehistoric artifacts. It also highlights the architectural splendor of the Grand Mosque and celebrates the Kingdom’s contributions to serving the Two Holy Mosques.

 

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