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

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 foreign minister in Indonesia

Indonesia President Joko Widodo welcomes Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir at presidential palace in Bogor, Indonesia, on Monday, October 22, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 9 min 58 sec ago

Saudi foreign minister in Indonesia

  • The Kingdom and Indonesia, the two OIC member nations, has had diplomatic ties since 1950

JEDDAH: Indonesian President Joko Widodo received Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir in Bogor on Monday. The Saudi foreign minister conveyed the greetings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Indonesian president and best wishes for him and the people of Indonesia.
The two leaders reviewed bilateral ties and ways of enhancing cooperation. They also discussed latest regional and international developments.
Saudi Arabia and Indonesia will hold their first joint ministerial commission meeting in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Riyadh and Jakarta have endorsed two major agreements this month. As per one of the agreements signed earlier this month, Indonesia will now allow domestic workers to again work in the Kingdom. The cooperation deal, which covers a number of domestic professions, was signed by Ahmad bin Suleiman Al-Rajihi, minister of labor and social development, and Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri, Indonesian minister of manpower and transmigration, in Jakarta on Oct. 11. AN Jeddah
This month, Indonesia also ratified a defense cooperation agreement that it had inked with Saudi Arabia earlier.
The Kingdom and Indonesia, the two OIC member nations, has had diplomatic ties since 1950. Indonesia seeks more engagement with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). As such, Indonesia is currently proposing to have a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the GCC countries.
According to the Indonesian Ministry of Trade Report, the volume of trade exchange between Indonesia and GCC last year amounted to $10.3 billion. GCC enjoyed a surplus of $3.3 billion mainly on account of its oil and gas exports.