Saudi Arabia grants permission for first history of science and technology museum

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has granted permission for the development of the country’s first Museum of History of Science and Technology in Islam.

The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage issued a license for the establishment of the Museum of History of Science and Technology in Islam at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh.

The project will be developed in collaboration with the Institute of Arab and Islamic Sciences History at Frankfurt University. It is set to be inaugurated by the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Details of the planned facility and its construction have not been disclosed. The museum will feature “ancient artefacts and historical masterpieces that exhibit the cultural dimension of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia throughout the ages”, according to Abdulaziz Al Hassan of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.

Increasing tourism has been a priority for Saudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is looking to diversify the economy from its reliance on oil. In April last year, he announced that a 334 sq km Entertainment City featuring a Six Flags theme park would be constructed outside Riyadh.

The following September the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage said that it will allocate $2.67bn to the development and rebuilding of tourism projects. A 35-year ban on cinemas has also been lifted, allowing Wanda Group to build and operate cinemas in the country.

International tourism in Saudi Arabia is forecast to grow by 5.8% per year from 2018 to 2022, according to a report from BMI Research.

The report notes that non-religious tourism in the kingdom will need to compete with other countries that have much more established tourism sectors such as Bahrain, Oman and the UAE.

Image: c. Zeyad Hussain.

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