ThePlace: Al-Maqar palace in the Asir region is an architectural marvel

Updated 08 December 2018
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ThePlace: Al-Maqar palace in the Asir region is an architectural marvel

  • There are 20 places to enter the palace, and the structure of the building has seven domes each representing the continents of the world

Al-Maqar palace in the Asir region is an architectural marvel. It looks like a fictional palace come to life from the pages of a fantasy book. It erupts tall and beautiful in an otherwise subtle city.
The palace is illuminated with lights that make it appear to glow. As Asir is a cold region, in the winter fog looms around the castle, adding to the dreamy view.
After marveling over the beauty of the exterior, visitors can enjoy the inside of the place. It took 35 years to build and used more than two million natural stones from the mountains of the Asir region in its construction.
A citizen inspired by Andalusian palaces built it and collected Islamic artifacts dating back to the Abbasid, Umayyad and Ottoman periods.
To some the interior may look more like a private collection than a museum, with 16 million Islamic decorations gathering dust on the shelves. The artifacts were collected by Mohammed Al-Maqar Al-Shehri, who traveled the world finding items to add to his collection.
Considering what it has to offer, the museum does not get as much recognition as it should.
There are 20 places to enter the palace, and the structure of the building has seven domes each representing the continents of the world. The museum itself stands on 365 columns, each dedicated to each day of the year.
The attention to detail in the museum is outstanding. Each floor is dedicated to the era from which the artifacts are from, making it a rare Saudi landmark in the 21st century.
The museum is home to many Islamic manuscripts on medicine, astronomy and mathematics. It also has the first record of the handwritten manuscript of the Qur’an. In addition, there are a few thousand manuscripts to view.
The museum opens a window on Islamic and Arabic history and takes the visitor on a journey back in time.


Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.