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Dhi-Ain to be preserved with local help.

RIYADH: RASHID HASSANThe Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) has joined hands with locals to preserve the village of Dhi-Ain.

The village lies on the King Fahd Highway, which links Baha province's low-lying areas with high lands, 20 km from Baha city.

The SCTA is implementing a recreation and conservation project worth more than SR4 million for conserving Dhi-Ain's local mosque, establishing a museum and paving cobble-stone walkways.

According to the SCTA, the village is built of stone and overlooked by juniper woods of neighboring forests. Its apertures are decorated with triangle-shaped quartz.

Dhi-Ain is also home to a fortresses, which was built centuries ago.

"The SCTA seeks to preserve the village's antiquities, which have been neglected over the past three decades and which have been subject to weather changes, by implementing recreational projects on heritage village sites," an official said yesterday.

He said local villagers have cooperated extensively with SCTA officials to develop the heritage village.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, SCTA president, last week said: "The happiness the locals have expressed at having their age-old village redeveloped mirrors their sense of national loyalty." Prince Sultan addressed a press conference after laying the foundation stones for the Dhi-Ain village development project, saying: "This project is a page from our recreated historical scriptures. Dhi-Ain villagers are significantly contributing to national history. Today, we see them recreating the village's heritage and we see them being reunited with their resplendent history." "Their fervency to preserve this site speaks volumes of their awareness on the importance of heritage. This has made us all the more keen to embark on this initiative," he added.

According to the SCTA, the village lies above neighboring villages and features heritage edifices and fecund farms that thrive thanks to the village's springs.

Water is distributed among farmers according to an age-old system conceived by Dhi-Ain's forefathers.

The village is located at the foot of a white marble hill and comprises 59 houses of varying heights which are linked with several pathways that make the village pedestrian-friendly.

The local mosque is centrally located and is surrounded by houses and lemon and banana farms.

Being situated in a low-lying area, the village experiences hot summers with heavy rainfall and thunder and cold winters with occasional rainfall.

Its rainy summers are attributed to it being surrounded by mountains that help form clouds.

The Baha province also took part in the village conservation project, which included founding a model garden, constructing a village ring road and digging a channel for rainwater disposal.

Villagers established a Dhi-Ain cooperative association in 2010, which improved living conditions and drew investments to the village.

For instance, the Al-Mukhawa Governorate recently introduced lighting in the village by setting up 100 lanterns, which has boosted the village's beauty.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Dec 1, 2013
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