Manama: Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz has partially reshuffled the government, giving Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Al Saud the portfolio of the newly-established ministry of culture after extracting it from the Ministry of Information and Culture.

All activities related to culture will be transferred to the new ministry in a move that highlights the growing significance culture is gaining in the kingdom.

Minister of Labour and Social Development

The royal orders early on Saturday saw the appointment of Ahmad Al Rajhi Minister of Labour and Social Development, replacing Ali Al Ghafees.

Abdul Lateef Al Shaikh was appointed Minister of Islamic Affairs.

Al Shaikh had headed the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice whose powers were seriously curbed two years ago as the kingdom embarked on a massive reform drive.

King Salman also appointed Nasser Al Dawood deputy interior minister, and Abdullah Al Motani Shura Council deputy chairman.

The Saudi monarch ordered the formation of a royal commission for the city of Makkah and the holy sites whose members will be appointed by the prime minister.

An administration for preserving historical areas in the Red Sea city of Jeddah to be affiliated to the Ministry of Culture, was also ordered to be formed.

The old houses of historic Jeddah, some rising to a height of more than 30 metres, serve as an authentic and genuine art form. The houses here were built using rocks quarried from the nearby lake. The builders used clay dug out from the bottom of Bahr Al-teen to bind the rocks. Jeddah's old houses are how part of the Unesco world heritage site. 

Under the royal orders, six nature reserves have been designated in order “to re-establish wildlife, enhance their development and promote eco-tourism.”

The reserves are believed to have an area of around 265,000 square kilometres.