Murabba Palace: The historical divan of King Abdul Aziz



JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS

Published — Monday 24 September 2012

Last update 25 September 2012 8:00 pm

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The Murabba Palace played a significant role in the early history of the Kingdom as the Founder, King Abdul Aziz had the palace as his divan. The palace was the hub of all administrative decisions besides the Al-Hukum Palace. King Abdul Aziz used to receive kings and heads of state who visited him and make historical agreements at the Murabba palace.
The palace was built in 1936 when the king ordered construction of a new building complex. The old Riyadh city had become too crowded to accommodate any more buildings and the city walls had only five gates. The new palaces were built outside the city in a single compound.
These buildings were called the Murabba Complex and one of these palaces housed the king’s administrative headquarters. It was Prince Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman who first built a palace outside the city and it was named Atiqah Palace followed by Prince Saud Al-Kabeer with the construction of Al-Shamsiah Palace. Another palace built in the same period was Al-Badiah Palace as a guesthouse for visiting dignitaries.
The palace complex was built on a plot called ‘Murabba Al-Sufyan,’ which was used for farming during rainy season, according to the documents at the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah).
The location is only two kilometers from the old city and was surrounded by gardens in the south, the Batha valley in the east, and Wadi Abu Rafie in the west and small hills on the north. Built in the Arab architectural style, the two-story palace has 32 rooms. The materials used in the construction of the palace included bricks, indigenous stones, tamarisk trunk and palm-leaf stalks.
The king’s audience hall, offices of administrative affairs, communications and guest chambers were on the upper floor while the ground floor had the offices for palace utilities, security and administration.
The major decisions taken in the palace included the setting up of a separate Ministry of Defense, launch of the Saudi Broadcasting and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, and the issuing of an independent Saudi currency.
This was also the palace where King Abdul Aziz received kings and heads of various state, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

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