ThePlace: Sakaka’s Zaabal Castle

The Zaabal Castle in Sakaka . (Getty Images photo)
Updated 24 November 2018
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ThePlace: Sakaka’s Zaabal Castle

  • Zaabal Castle's mud and stone-built walls tell tales of the past
  • The fort consists of a reservoir and four towers that are connected by a single wall

JEDDAH: Nestled atop a mountain in the city of Sakaka in northwest Saudi Arabia, Zaabal Castle is more than a centuries-old structure. Its mud and stone-built walls tell tales of the past.

The castle also happens to reside atop a water well system that spans the entire city and has been a source of supply to the city’s inhabitants for centuries. 

In fact, the wells are so large that you could walk through them, but they remain sealed off to the public because of health and safety reasons.

The fort consists of a reservoir and four towers that are connected by a single wall. Although the castle is believed to have been built 200 years ago, some structures are said to date back to the 1st-century Nabataean era. Indeed, the castle has stood the test of time and the perils of wars.

Aside from being an archaeological marvel, the fort sits at the highest point in the entire area, offering impressive panoramic views of the city. 

The castle is open for tourism for anyone fascinated by the rich Arab history this region has to offer.

 


Riyadh book fair hears lecture on Bahrain culture industry

Updated 21 March 2019
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Riyadh book fair hears lecture on Bahrain culture industry

  • Professor Diaa Al-Kaabi presented a survey of all aspects of Bahraini culture, from the early 19th century until the present day
  • She also highlighted the role of prominent Saudis in the founding of major cultural institutions in Bahrain

RIYADH: Riyadh International Book Fair on Wednesday hosted Dr. Diaa Al-Kaabi, who gave a lecture on the role of culture in Bahrain, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The academic, who is a professor at the University of Bahrain, highlighted the role of prominent Saudis in the founding of major cultural institutions in Bahrain. She named Muqbel Al-Zukair, and the families of Al-Gosaibi, Al-Bassam, Al-Ajaji, Al-Mashari and others, as pioneers.
She also mentioned the cultural agreement that was signed in 1974 between the Kingdom and Bahrain as the first such agreement signed between the two Gulf states.
Al-Kaabi presented a survey of all aspects of Bahraini culture, from the early 19th century until the present day. She highlighted major trends in Bahrain’s cultural industry, and the role of societies, theaters and universities, as well as state institutions, in promoting the nation’s culture to an international audience.
She addressed the beginnings of the cultural movement under Sheikh Issa bin Ali, which she considered as the founding of the country’s cultural consciousness. 
It heralded the age of enlightenment in Bahrain, which was part of the modern Arab Renaissance starting from the early nineteenth century, she said.
Al-Kaabi concluded her lecture by stressing that culture, if nurtured, could be a pillar of economic development as it provided many job opportunities and its revenues were high. 
Bahrain is the guest of honor at the fair, which runs until March 23.
A Bahraini pavilion will host 13 cultural events including poetry nights, seminars and children’s programs over the course of the fair. In total, more than 900 global publishing houses are set to participate, with 500,000 books and publications on display, and up to a million visitors expected to attend.