Historic Taif fortresses were built to last

In this photo is one of the fortresses of the village of Maysan in southern Taif, which is built atop a high mountain. (Wikimedia Commons/Fawaz Alsharif)
Updated 01 December 2017
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Historic Taif fortresses were built to last

JEDDAH: Taif city is rich with antique fortresses and castles that have withstood the test of time over many historical periods. These fortresses and castles, considered very interesting touristic landmarks, have always attracted visitors.

The architecture of these castles and fortresses relied on designs that focused on providing protection from battles, and were also used as control towers, in addition to their strategic importance of being a residential building, making them one of Islamic culture’s best architectural systems.

Saad Al-Joudi, a modern history teacher, told Arab News: “The forts in the south of Taif are known to be the biggest buildings not only for residence. They were built by a group of skilled constructors to protect residents from any interior or exterior assault.”

Al-Joudi also indicated that “the people of Taif built their forts in a special architectural way, benefitting from the richness of the mountain belts in their regions, creating cone-shaped buildings of different scales.”

He added that strong men would push the heavy stones; then the constructors would build the forts using the stones (reaching sometimes 15 meters high). They would use the thick stones first and the less-thick later, as the height increased in order to create a strong and stable defensive base ready to face the enemy.

Mona Osairy, a history scholar, told Arab News that the forts have the capacity to handle the low temperatures in winter and the high heat of summer since the thickness of stones blocks wind, storms, cold temperatures and strong sun rays.

Osairy also said that during wars, forts were used as control towers, stressing that one of the most important architectural designs of the forts is a surveillance chamber on the upper floor, allowing the owner to monitor any possible assault.

She indicated that on the inside of these houses, there is wood paneling that reflects the cultural period, which is something that attracts many European visitors.

Osairy concluded: “What makes Taif stone houses very special is the colored decoration everywhere on the inside and outside of these houses. While men were responsible for the construction, women handled the decoration, and thus the pictures on the forts’ walls reflect the skills of women who expressed themselves by carving in wood.”


Saudi Arabia's KSRelief distributes assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon

KSRelief distributed assistance to Syrian refugees. (SPA/file)
Updated 21 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia's KSRelief distributes assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon

  • KSRelief seeks to ensure that the living conditions of Syrian refugees are in accordance with international specifications
  • The center also distributed 3,500 cartons of dates in the villages of Izzala Al-Jumah in Yemen

JEDDAH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) distributed humanitarian aid including birth kits, personal bags and baby blankets to Syrian female refugees staying in Osman Hospital and Central Hospital in Kattermaya, Kharoub province of Lebanon on Friday.

This distribution is within the framework of the assistance provided by the center for displaced Syrians and refugees in neighboring countries. 

KSRelief seeks to ensure that the living conditions of Syrian refugees are in accordance with international specifications through various relief programs. 

Earlier, winter blankets, jackets, jumpers, hats and other items were distributed to meet the basic needs of refugee families.

The center also distributed 3,500 cartons of dates in the villages of Izzala Al-Jumah in Al-Mukha directorate in Taiz governorate, benefiting 21,000 people.

In addition, 36 trucks with 469,483 kg of relief, shelter and medicines crossed Al-Wadiaa border on Thursday evening as part of the KSRelief plan to help Yemenis.

Of this total, 26 trucks with 500 food baskets, weighing 375 tons, in addition to 43,173 kg of shelter items, will be heading to Maareb province, and ten trucks carrying 42,221 kg of shelter items and 9.89 tons of medications will go to Aden.

On Thursday, the Bahraini Royal Charity Foundation and the Khalifa bin Zayed Foundation for Humanitarian Affairs signed an MoU for the establishment of the Bahrain Health Center in Aden, Yemen, at a cost of $2 million, in the presence of Ahmed bin Ali Al-Bayez, assistant general supervisor of operations and programs at KSRelief, and a number of officials. SPA, Jeddah