RIYADH: The “Roads of Arabia” exhibition of Saudi archaeological masterpieces currently being held in Seoul is wowing visitors, including South Koreans and Saudi students based in the East Asian country.
Korean visitors have expressed admiration for the archaeological pieces on display, saying they give the Korean people an opportunity to learn first-hand about Arab culture.
Speaking to Arab News on Monday, Youngjae Kim, minister-counselor and spokesman at the Embassy of Korea in Riyadh, said the Roads of Arabia exhibition in Seoul “is a very useful occasion to change the (stereotypical) image of Saudi Arabia.”
“The exhibition shows the students and families visiting the site that Saudi Arabia indeed has a long history of civilization and ample tradition and heritage,” Youngjae said.
“Koreans are reminded of the old folktale that Arabian merchants came to Korea to trade as (long ago as) the ninth century … The exhibition items suggest the old tale might be true.”
Korea is also proud of its long history of 5,000 years, he underlined.
Organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) with Saudi Aramco, the exhibition offers an opportunity for Saudi scholarship-program students in Korea to highlight the history and culture of their homeland, said the SCTH media department.
It was a proud moment for Saudi students touring the exhibition, said Faisal Al-Aowfi, a Saudi student studying at Korea University.
“The exhibition reflects the cultural and historical dimension of the Kingdom as the Koreans had little knowledge about the history of the Kingdom. Thanks to this exhibition, they now know much about the Kingdom and its deep rooted civilization,” he said.
“The Korean students and teachers whenever they see me, they used to talk about oil only, because they know nothing much about the cultural dimension of the Kingdom. I too was not ready to introduce them to our national heritage because I myself had little knowledge about it. The exhibition — with its valuable archaeological objects, which date back to over 10,000 years ago — has greatly contributed to broadening my knowledge and the Korean people’s knowledge about the history and culture,” he added.
“Roads of Arabia” was launched in 2010. Since then it has been hosted by 10 international museums in Europe and the US. It then moved to Asia, with the first stop in Beijing last year and now in Seoul.
The exhibition was inaugurated at the Seoul National Museum on May 8 by Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the SCTH, and South Korea’s then Deputy Prime Minister Yoo Il-ho. It will continue through Aug. 27.