‘Roads of Arabia’ Expo

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The "Saudi Archaeological Masterpieces through the Ages", also called, the “Roads of Arabia Expo”, is considered as one of the most important Saudi exhibitions highlighting the cultural heritage of the Kingdom in several European countries as well as the US.  It is presenting as an important opportunity to introduce the national heritage of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the world, as it enjoys a great cultural heritage and deep-rooted history. 

The importance of “Roads of Arabia” lies in the Kingdom’s great heritage and antiquities, which date back to ancient and successive civilizations of great cultures that had taken place in the Arabia through the ages.   However, these invaluable archeological treasures are not widely known to a large number of countries in the world.  Thus, it becomes vitally important to introduce to the world countries to the Kingdom’s great heritage and its leading role in the Islamic civilization. 

The idea of the exhibition sprang into being in 2006 in response to the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz (may Allah rest his soul in peace).  It also came in response to the suggestion of the former French President Jacques Chirac on his visit to the Kingdom during the opening of the exhibition, “Masterpieces of Islamic Art ", which was organized by SCTA at the National Museum in Riyadh on 6th March, 2006.

Showcasing a large number of archaeological elements of exceptional importance - that are exhibited for the first time outside the Kingdom came as an extension to the Kingdom’s international presence and its eminent position in the Islam as the host country of the Two Holy Mosques. Besides, it’s current economic weight and its significant impact on the human communication that rests heavily due to the Kingdom’s unique geographical location.  This makes it a major economic and cultural hub, as well as a communication bridge between the West and the East.

The exhibition, "Saudi Archaeological Masterpieces through the Ages" displays over 320 archeological masterpieces, for the first time outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Most of them are taken from the National Museum in Riyadh, King Saud University Museum, in addition to a number of regional museums throughout the Kingdom.

The relics cover many historical periods starting from the ancient Stone Age (One million BC) until the Saudi Renaissance time. This long period includes, the Stone Ages, the Slave Age (5th Millennium BC), the Delmon period, early middle and late Arabian kingdoms. Then follows the prophetic age, the Umayyad, Abbasids, middle and late Islamic periods. Lastly, the Unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is followed by significant progress and prosperity in various walks of life, especially in the service of the Two Holy Mosques.

Since its launch in 2010, the exhibition has been held in ten different countries, in Europe and the United States of America. It was kicked off in Europe first time at the Louver Museum in Paris in France on 13th February 2010, followed by at la Caixa Foundation in Barcelona, Spain, then the Hermitage Museum in Petersburg, Russia and Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany. 

In the United States of America, the exhibition was firstly hosted by Sakler Museum, in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC,  followed by Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, then the Fine Art Museum in Huston Texas, followed by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and finally at Asian Arts Museum in San Francisco.  

In Europe: