Blast from the past: this is how Saudi cinema licenses looked like 44 years ago

Movie fans gather at a cinema of Riyadh Park mall after its opening for the general public on April 30 in Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 01 June 2018
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Blast from the past: this is how Saudi cinema licenses looked like 44 years ago

JEDDAH: Cinemas existed in Saudi Arabia half a century ago, however many of them were not real cinemas, they were movie theaters mainly found in sports clubs, foreign embassies or personally supported by individuals. 
Early movie theaters were not originally set up to be cinema halls; any large area could be converted into a movie theater. It is believed that a formal license was not necessary to set one up. 
However, Saudi electronic newspaper Sabq posted recently an old document of a building permit to establish a cinema hall in Riyadh 44 years ago. 
The building permit was issued by Riyadh Municipality in 1975, and it allowed the construction of a cinema behind King Faisal Road.
The document proves that the regulations in Saudi Arabia did not object to building cinemas in the capital decades ago. 

An old document of a building permit to establish a cinema hall in Riyadh 44 years ago. 


“Saudi Arabia lived in moderate Islam at the time before the Awakening movement spread in the region after 1979,” the newspaper stated. 
Religious and social changes took place in Saudi Arabia following the failed attempt by Juhayman Al-Otaibi and fellow extremists to capture the Grand Mosque in Makkah in 1979, which resulted in the closing of all cinemas in the Kingdom.
Cinemas were closed in all major cities and embassies closed their doors to members of the community. 
Movie screenings returned to the Kingdom on April 18 with the gala premiere of “Black Panther” in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia began issuing licenses again in March 2018 to operate cinemas in the Kingdom ahead of their reopening after a decades-long ban was lifted.
The document was widely shared on social media platforms and was surprising for many people.


DiplomaticQuarter: Mexicans in Riyadh celebrate 208 years of their country’s independence

Riyadh governor cutting cake with Mexican Ambassador Alfredo Miranda. (SPA)
Updated 3 min 54 sec ago
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DiplomaticQuarter: Mexicans in Riyadh celebrate 208 years of their country’s independence

  • Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar represented the Saudi government at the colorful celebration, marking the 208th anniversary of Mexico’s independence
  • The centerpiece of the festivities was a re-enactment of the “Cry of Dolores”

RIYADH: The Mexican community in Riyadh gathered at the official residence of Ambassador Alfredo Miranda on Sunday to celebrate their country’s National Day. They were joined at the event by VIP guests including members of the royal family, diplomats and business leaders.

Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar represented the Saudi government at the colorful celebration, marking the 208th anniversary of Mexico’s independence.

The centerpiece of the festivities was a re-enactment of the “Cry of Dolores,” a historic event in small town of Dolores on the morning of September 16, 1810, when Mexico’s founding father, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, issued a call to arms that signaled the start of the war of independence.

The rest of the National Day celebration was a Mexican-style fiesta, filled with color and music, with many of the guests dressed in traditional outfits. They enjoyed authentic Mexican food prepared by renowned chef Eduardo Perez, which offered a taste of the Mexican Gastronomic Festival at the city’s InterContinental Hotel from Sept. 17 to 22.

The entertainment also included the Kingdom’s first a live performance by a Mexican folkloric Mariachi band, a musical style recognized by UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage lists.