Riyadh’s Masmak Fort becoming popular tourist destination

Updated 29 January 2014
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Riyadh’s Masmak Fort becoming popular tourist destination

Masmak Fort in Riyadh has become a model for modern museums in the Kingdom since its revamping by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) in 2012. Many of the most important historical artifacts related to Kingdom’s foundation and unification are found here.
“Masmak Museum is an important tourist destination for visitors of the Saudi capital, residents and students. Since its restoration in 1995 Masmak Fort has received around 1.3 million visitors,” said Nasser A. Al. Arifi, director of Masmak Museum.
With an aim to promote historical and cultural heritage of the country, the Ministry of Tourism has licensed a number of tour operators throughout the Kingdom to conduct periodic and systematic excursions to important places and cities in the country. These tours are becoming increasingly popular among youth and foreigners.
This year, an exceedingly large number of groups of expatriates joined the exposure visit to Masmak Fort accompanied by official tour operators. The Ministry of Tourism had appointed these operators for cultural exchange.
“The Kingdom has a rich potential for tourism. Displaying the country’s culture will help in its overall economic development,” said Salwa Hamad Al-Qunaibit, tour manager for Haya Tours.
Guided tours are increasingly becoming popular among inhabitants in the region.
Attending a line of display at Masmak Fort, Arab News talked to a group of tourists about their experience with tourism in Saudi Arabia.
“Tourism in Saudi has an interesting range that stretches from deep seas to endless deserts, rocks and mountains to holy sites. I have undertaken snorkeling and scuba diving excursions along the coral reefs in the Red Sea and I have made memorable visits to Madain Saleh and Taif with a couple of colleagues,” said Ed Young, a SABIC employee from England.
According to Mark Reilly from Scotland, who works for Al-Khorayef Company, “Visiting sites with tour guides is helpful. I have visited a number of tourist destinations in Saudi Arabia with tour operators. They provide accurate and detailed guidelines about the history, traditions and culture of the ancient and modern Saudi Arabia.”
Gerard van Heijster from the Netherlands, who works at SABIC Head Quarters in Arizona Resort, said, “I believe we have all gained extensive knowledge about the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abul Aziz Al-Saud. The pictures and data in the different halls provided detailed information.”
Esabel from Germany shared, “I appreciate the English transcripts with various artifacts and exhibits in the museum. It really helped us understand the basic details about the historic displays.”
“I particularly liked the presentation on King Abdul Aziz and the men in armor, also the Najdi architecture reflected in the little triangular ventilators was fascinating,” said Erica Renbarger from California, a faculty member at Al-Faisal Academy in Riyadh.
Jade from England, who works as an English teacher at Princess Noura University, said, “It is enriching to utilize our stay in the country and learn about the richness and goodness of the Kingdom.”
Masmak Museum consists of several halls. The first recaptures Riyadh in its early days, the second showing the storming of Masmak Fort. A third hall explores the comrades of King Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who had participated in the recapture of Riyadh. There is a hall of Riyadh history, a hall highlighting the fort itself; how it was built and the material used in its construction. Another hall shows the building's various uses and purposes during King Abdul Aziz’s reign, in addition to a hall depicting the photographs of King Abdul Aziz in different stages of his reign.
With the rapid developments in the tourism industry, especially in Riyadh, there is immense scope for a better future and economic returns for tour operators in the Kingdom.


Asir’s ancient villages revived under tourism plan

Governorates of the region have introduced programs and activities aimed at visitors and tourists. (SPA)
Updated 16 June 2019
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Asir’s ancient villages revived under tourism plan

  • The municipality of Dhahran Al-Janoub has equipped the ancient palace on King Khalid Road to be the headquarters for all activities of the initiative

DHAHRAN: A “Hospitality” initiative, implemented by Prince Turki bin Talal, governor of Asir region, under the slogan “Hello 1000,” has restored ancient sites and villages to boost tourism in Asir.
Governorates of the region have introduced programs and activities aimed at visitors and tourists.
In Dhahran Al-Janoub governorate, officials and residents have focused on restoring ancient sites in the area, including the Elephant’s Road, mountain inscriptions and archaeological villages.
Dhahran Al-Janoub Gov. Mohammed bin Falah Al-Qarqah, said that summer activities made the Hospitality initiative a basic pillar, and a starting point for all programs and events.
The municipality of Dhahran Al-Janoub has equipped the ancient palace on King Khalid Road to be the headquarters for all activities of the initiative. The palace contains a museum and a historic photo gallery.

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Folklore and poetry evenings are also held every Monday evening during summer.

Al-Qarqah said that large numbers of tourists are keen to visit the area, especially in summer.
A “Tourist Caravan” takes visitors to sites and archaeological villages every Tuesday, using special cars with tour guides.
The initiative includes a “Helping the Visitor” program implemented by Al-Bir Charity Association in Dhahran Al-Janoub to provide assistance to visitors in case of emergency, including financial aid, housing and transportation.