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.

 


Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

Updated 23 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia, UAE to attend US-led Palestine investment meeting

  • The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting
  • Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE will participate in a conference next month in Bahrain aimed at encouraging investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as part of US President Donald Trump’s long–awaited Israel–Palestine peace plan. 

The Peace to Prosperity conference, to be hosted on June 25–26 in cooperation with the US, has already been rebuffed by Palestinian officials and business leaders, who want their political demands met by any proposed solution to the conflict.

The Palestine Liberation Organization and Islamist group Hamas have called for an Arab boycott of the meeting.

The Saudi minister of economy and planning, Mohammed bin Majid Al–Tuwaijri, will attend, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said Abu Dhabi would also send a delegation.

The Palestinian Authority has boycotted American peace efforts since late 2017, when Trump decided to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the latter as the capital of Israel, reversing decades of US policy.

The Trump administration has sought to enlist support from Arab governments.

But Saudi Arabia has assured Arab allies that it will not endorse any US plan that fails to meet key Palestinian demands, which include affirming East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, the right of return for refugees, and a freeze on Israeli settlement construction.