Roads of Arabia lead to the Louvre museum

As part of a 2004 accord between the Louvre museum and Saudi Arabia, the ancient past of this very secretive country is at the heart of an exhibition in Paris, which is showing works that have never been displayed abroad before.


One of the most devout and insular countries in the world, Saudi Arabia has emerged from being an underdeveloped desert kingdom to one of the wealthiest nations in the region thanks to vast oil resources.

Now an exhibition at the Louvre museum in Paris is showing a new dimension to this historically closed country for those willing to put aside the sensational stories surrounding it. More than 7,000 years of Arabian history have been put on show.

"Roads of Arabia, Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” displays three hundred works that have never left the country before. Many have never even been seen back home. The exhibition includes statues, gravestones, jewellery, manuscripts, textiles, glass and bronze statues - many predate the birth of Islam in the seventh century.

The exhibition falls into two parts: the pre-Islamic period and the Islamic one. The works reveal little-known aspects of a prosperous and flourishing pre-Islamic Arab world.

To see another side of Saudi Arabia and find out the story of the different cultures and civilisations that inhabited the Arabian Peninsula, the Roads to Arabia exhibition is on at the Louvre until 27 September.

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