Yanbu is situated on the West shore of Saudi Arabia and it is amongst the oldest cities in the Kingdom. T.E. Lawrence is commonly known as “Lawrence of Arabia” was born in Tremadoc, Whales in 1888, and lived in the conventional Arab house in old town Yanbu, on the Red Sea between 1915 and 1916. He called himself a normal guy but lived an amazing life. When the World War I happened, Turkey was on one side and England and France was on the other. When the Arab Revolt took place, which was led by Prince Faisal against the Turkish Army, Lawrence was promoted to an intelligence representative in Cairo who then helped the Arabs attain military success.
He used his knowledge of Arabic language, interviewed Turkish prisoner and became familiar with the Turkish army locations and strengths which helped him a lot. The British and the Arab forces were connected because of Laurence living in Yanbu during the Revolt of 1916-1918. Laurence was as a visitor in the Arab globe to help them, but the government that time did not support him in completing his promise and historic mission with innovative Arab army which was started in Yanbu. There are rumors about that house; nobody wants to go there even for one night because there are evil feelings which disturb anyone who tries to go near the house. Residents of Yanbu said that after Laurence, the house is empty till today and nobody even came there since he left.
Basically, the house has been neglected in recent years; the condition of the house is friable and barren. The outside gate is wrecked and the ceiling has collapsed. In the front of the house is a sea. The building has two floors and the ground floor contains a bedroom and a living room. Hundreds of years have been passed since Lawrence of Arabia last stayed there. Now the residence needs re-construction. An unexpected visit was made by Prince Sultan Bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage some time back.
According to the historian’s point of view, the authority should take the matter of house as a serious issue. They should re-establish or renovate the house and make it available for all the visitors and tourists. Tourists should be able to see, visit and take pictures of the historic house where Laurence used to live hundred years ago. Not only foreigners but Saudi locals can also visit the ancient house to enjoy the attraction and its history.
The ancient house of Yanbu gains its value from its past and many of the foreign travelers like to visit the home in the memory of the well-known British officer. A historian of Madinah, Adnan Bin Isa Al-Omari, said that the building needs reconstruction and should be sealed as an ancient place and a witness to a significant period in the past of Saudi Arabia. Sameer Al- Anina, Yanbu branch Executive of Tourism and general Heritage Commission, said that the house is one of the interesting places for tourists to visit.
Source: Saudi Gazette
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