Saudi Arabia: Beyond the Veil
November 2 – November 14, 2019
Led by: To be announced
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are countries of startling contrasts–barren sands masking great oil reserves, millennia-enduring archaeological sites sharing city blocks with modern engineering marvels, and conservative Islamic ideals juxtaposed by images of luxury symbols from the West. Our program sets out to examine these two countries with their differing responses to modernity and Islam. We begin in Jeddah, a commercial port-city whose old city is renowned for its traditional multi-storied dwellings made of coral. Enjoy the striking mountain scenery around Abha where tiny villages are nestled amidst green terraced fields. Follow an ancient trade route to Al Jouf, the ancient center of the country’s northern area. Its oases towns of Dumat Al Jandal and Sakaka have been magnets for settlements, tribes and trade since early times. Visit 6,000 year old Al Rajajil known as the Stonehenge of Saudi Arabia. Drive to Ha’il and en route explore the Jubbah rock carvings, a gallery of rock art dating back 80,000 years. Fly to Riyadh, the kingdom’s imposing capital that only sixty years ago was a remote walled village. In Dhahran to the east, become familiar with the immense Saudi oil industry, understanding its central role in Saudi life and how it has dramatically shaped modern Saudi Arabia. Travel over the 16 mile long King Fahd Causeway to Bahrain, the garden of the Persian Gulf comprised of 33 separate islands with a juxtaposition of ancient Islamic and modern architecture. Bahrain is a paradise of shady palm groves filled with brightly colored birds, flowers and fruits and also home to hundreds of ancient Dilmun burial mounds at A’Ali. Return home from Bahrain.
November 2: Saturday. Depart US.
November 3: Sunday. Jeddah. Movenpick Hotel.
November 4: Monday. Jeddah.
November 5: Tuesday. Abha. Abha Palace.
November 6: Wednesday. Abha.
November 7: Thursday. Al Jouf/Sakaka. Raoum Inn Sakaka Hotel.
November 8: Friday. Al Jouf/Sakaka.
November 9: Saturday. Ha’il. Millennium Hotel.
November 10: Sunday. Riyadh. Radisson Blu Riyadh.
November 11: Monday. Riyadh.
November 12: Tuesday. Riyadh.
November 13: Wednesday. Dhahran/Al Khobar. Intercontinental Al Khobar.
November 14: Thursday. Dhahran/Al Khobar.
November 15: Friday. Bahrain. Intercontinental Regency Bahrain.
November 16: Saturday. Return home from Bahrain.