The vast Red Sea Project encompasses urban development, mass tourism and the ‘greening’ of an entire region — in addition to the cultural dimension: A major potential draw for around 7 million dive tourists to Saudi Arabia.
No fewer than 1,600 archeological sites have been identified in the region, of which 20 have been narrowed down as potential touristic attractions. These include Nabataean and other pre-Islamic remains as well as Islamic-era ports and castles.
Perhaps the most significant of these is an early 18th Century shipwreck, discovered in 2016 and very likely of Egyptian origin. The ship’s construction has apparently no parallels and continuity with present-day traditional Arab boats, judging by the massive dimension of its frames and the presence of unusual architectural elements.
“We don’t know a lot about this period in Saudi history,” Michael Slage of The Red Sea Development Company told Arab News, “or what life…