Lawrence of Arabia’s house in Yanbu struggles for survival

Lawrence of Arabia’s house in Yanbu struggles for survival

Lawrence of Arabia’s house in Yanbu struggles for survival
Lawrence of Arabia’s house in Yanbu struggles for survival

Lawrence of ArabiaONE hundred years have passed since Lawrence of Arabia last stayed there. Despite an expected visit by Prince Sultan Bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, the historic residence in Yanbu is struggling for survival.

The neglected building has been the focus of a debate for some time now, with historians urging the authorities to restore the house and make it accessible to visitors.

British intelligence officer Thomas Edward Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, lived in the old town of Yanbu between 1915 and 1916.

Tourists can be seen visiting the house where he lived and taking photos, and they include not only foreigners but also local Saudis who share the fascination with the house and its history.

While many believe that Laurence was a guest in the Arab world to help the region, his government at the time did not support him to fulfill his promises through the historic mission with the revolutionary Arab army, which started in Yanbu.

Old residents of Yanbu say the house has not been occupied since the departure of the famous British guest. Nobody dared to live in it even for one night because of rumors that evil spirits haunt the house.

Lawrence of Arabia, who was a link between the British and the Arab forces during the Great Arab Revolt of 1916-1918, lived in the house. The building facing the sea has two floors and includes a bedroom, a living room on the ground floor.

In recent decades, the house has been largely neglected; the outside gate is broken and the ceiling has crumbled.

The residence derives its value from its history and a lot of foreign tourists like to stand in the home of the famous British spy.

Adnan Bin Isa Al-Omari, a Madinah historian, said the building needs to be restored and protected as a historical site and a witness to an important era in the history of Arabia.

Director of Tourism and National Heritage Commission Branch of Yanbu Samer Al-Anina said: “The house is among the monuments of interest to tourism.”