As part of the celebrations of Riyadh as Cultural Capital of the Arab World for the Year 2000, an exhibition of about 200 rare and unpublished historical photographs of Saudi Arabia opens today at the King Fahd National Library, and will run for four months. Over the past two years the Riyadh library has collected over 30,000 pictures dating back to 1880, and now has a total of about 800,000 items. The display will showcase early pictures of Riyadh, Abha, Qassim, and archeological sites in addition to unique photos of the Two Holy Mosques taken by visiting orientalists in the 19th century. The oldest picture was taken by Egyptian photographer Mohammed Saddeq, who came to Hajj in 1880, and is part of a collection bought recently in an international auction by Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary-General of the King Fahd Library Ali Bin Sulaiman Al-Suwaini said today that the pictures on display will convey to future generations a clear image of the Kingdom's civilizational and cultural development.