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THE SAUDI CUL­TURAL CEN­TRE WOULD BE ES­TAB­LISHED IN THE AL ULA RE­GION

CEO Middle East - - CONTENTS -

SOTHEBY’S PLANS DESERT ART OA­SIS

SAUDI CROWN PRINCE MO­HAMMED BIN SAL­MAN HAS SET MUL­TI­PLE AM­BI­TIOUS AGEN­DAS for his desert king­dom. Turn­ing it into a ma­jor cul­tural des­ti­na­tion may end up be­ing one of the high­est-pro­file.

For part of the plan, the Saudi gov­ern­ment has turned to Sotheby’s, the big­gest US auc­tion house, and Al­lan Schwartz­man, the co-chair­man of its fine art divi­sion. He rose to fame by cre­at­ing an arts dream­land in the Brazil­ian jun­gle.

The Saudi cul­tural cen­tre would take root in Al Ula, an ar­chae­o­log­i­cally rich re­gion in the north­west of the coun­try. There, the Na­bateans, a for­merly no­madic tribe of skilled crafts­man and traders, carved elab­o­rate build­ings out of sand­stone more than 2,000 years ago.

The re­gion con­tains an an­cient city, Mada’in Salih, which was Saudi Ara­bia’s first Un­esco World Her­itage Site. The col­lab­o­ra­tion with Sotheby’s is in an “ex­ploratory phase,” Rosie Marsh, a spokes­woman for the royal com­mis­sion, said in an emailed state­ment.

Vi­tal in­dus­try The tourism sec­tor is a key part of Saudi Ara­bia’s Vi­sion 2030 eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion plans

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