Foreign visitors climb the historic Jabal Al-Noor in Makkah. Misconceptions are rife among many tourists and pilgrims that the historic mountain also has religious significance attached to it. – ArchivesTaxi drivers act as guides, cheat people
MAKKAH – Makkah’s archeological sites need more attention and services for the large influx of visitors and Umrah performers who visit these locations during Ramadan – and a project to provide them will soon be executed, an official said.
The sites also need tourist and religious guides to dispel some visitors’ misconceptions and religious innovations that have nothing to do with Islam.
Seven years ago, Sa’ad Jameel Al-Qurashi, Chairman of the National Committee for Haj and Umrah, submitted a religious, scientific and tourist study to Prince Abdul Majeed Bin Abdul Aziz, the late Emir of Makkah, about establishing a cable-car system to carry people up the mountain and large showrooms for visitors to explain the archeological elements of Al-Noor Mountain.
“The study was commended by the Institute of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Makkah Mayoralty,” he said. “The project will be implemented soon, now that it has been adopted by the SCTA.”
The study suggested that visitors should realize that these are mere historical sites and no prayers should be practiced at them.
Archeological sites fall under the responsibility of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, which said it has not received complaints from visitors that they fell victim to fraudulent practices by taxicab drivers or private-vehicle drivers, Al-Qurashi told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
Provision of tourist guides at these sites is the responsibility of the institutes, colleges and universities supervised by the SCTA, Al-Qurashi added.
Some taxicab drivers have decided to act as religious and tourist guides at the Mountain of Al-Noor, site of Hera Cave, and the Mountain of Thoar at Arafat; this happens more frequently during Ramadan.
Some visitors have wanted to visit these locations have been fooled by people who take them to other places that are not archeological sites. Some visitors want to pray at these sites to get closer to Allah; authorities should send religious guides to these locations to dispel these myths.
The Bicycle Roundabout in Jeddah is a prominent site where ignorant visitors are fooled and believe the bike belongs to Prophet Adam. __