International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property

Saudi Arabia

N.B.: General country data and external links have been provided by the Member State. * Uploaded: 06/2020

General Country data

The main cultural assets of Saudi Arabia

Having sat at the crossroads of great civilisations for millennia, Saudi Arabia is at the heart of Arab culture today. It is a land of untapped cultural treasures, heritage and tradition. All of which have been passed down through generations, preserving teachings, customs and concept of family. Saudi culture is characterized by its rich elements of physical and human heritage, traditions and urban civilization, with continuous growth in many cultural sectors including visual arts, music, performing arts, artistic production movements, publishing, literary and intellectual composition and many others. The number of public libraries, museums and cultural events that highlight Saudi Arabia’s diverse culture is rapidly increasing. In recent years, culture in the form of fashion and the visual arts, for example, has developed, whilst the Kingdom has continued to preserve its unique heritage and culture. Numerous institutions and cultural bodies have been established to harness these efforts and have made significant progress in various cultural areas.

The legal framework on cultural heritage conservation

The protection of cultural heritage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is defined by the Law of Antiquity issued by Royal Decree 26 in 1972, and its subsequent amendments in 2015. The governmental bodies that are concerned with national heritage have issued several decrees and curricular devoted to the issue of the protection of cultural heritage. The concerned parties and Ministries have adhered to these circulars. These administrative documents have proven highly effective in helping to save many monuments and sites, and greatly reducing their degradation.

The cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List

There are five sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in Saudi Arabia as of 2020 that are classified under the Cultural Heritage Category. The Kingdom was among the first UNESCO State Parties to ratify the World Heritage Convention in 1972. Located along the ancient trade route, the first site recognized in Saudi Arabia is Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madain Saleh) in 2008, an archaeological site that originated in the 2nd century AD during the pre-Islamic era. The At-Turaif District in Addiriyah was recognized as a Heritage Site in 2010. It is recognized for its Najdi architectural style reminiscent of prehistoric Arabia. In the Hijaz region, along the coastal plains of eastern shore of the Red Sea, Historic Jeddah and the Gate to Makkah was recognized as a Heritage Site in 2014. Rock Art in the Hail Region, North of Saudi Arabia, was recognized as the first serial property in Saudi Arabia in 2015. The entire land area site spans 2 043 hectares and consists of inscriptions and rock art petroglyphs that represent the early Holocene area. Al-Ahsa Oasis, an Evolving Cultural Landscape was recognized as the first Cultural Landscape in Saudi Arabia in 2018. It is a serial property comprised of gardens, canals, springs, wells, a drainage lake, historical buildings, urban fabric and archaeological sites.

Adhesion to ICCROM

Saudi Arabia is a Member State of ICCROM since 18/02/2000


Mandates in ICCROM Council since 1958:

  • 2004-2005: Mohammed A. Al-hamdan

ICCROM Staff since 1959: - None -

Involvement of Saudi Nationals

Activities in/with Saudi Arabia since 2002

Activities details

Activities details

  • 2002 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2004 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2009 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2010 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2011 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2013 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2015 - 2 Mission(s)
  • 2019 - 1 Mission(s)
  • 2021 - 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2022 - 3 Course(s), 3 Mission(s)
  • 2023 - 10 Mission(s)
  • 2024 - 3 Mission(s)

External links

Governmental Cultural Institutions

Museums and Cultural Heritage Institutions

* ICCROM reserves the right to moderate the content provided by Member States for country profiles to ensure that they remain within the scope of ICCROM’s mission and pertinent to cultural heritage. However, ICCROM does not take responsibility for the accuracy and validity of the content supplied. The ideas and opinions expressed are those of the Member States.