Masmak: Majestic fort in Riyadh opens a door on Saudi Arabia’s past

The museum will be open from 4 p.m. until midnight. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 05 June 2019
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Masmak: Majestic fort in Riyadh opens a door on Saudi Arabia’s past

  • ‘Masmak’ in Arabic means high, fortified, thick and huge — important qualities for a fort that witnessed King Abdul Aziz’s initiatives in consolidating Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: One of Saudi Arabia’s most important historical sites, Masmak Fort in Riyadh, will open its doors to visitors during Eid Al-Fitr.

The fort became a focal point in the history of the Arabian peninsula when it was stormed by the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz bin Saud, in 1902.

Now the magnificent citadel is home to a museum that has become an important historical destination.

“Masmak” in Arabic means high, fortified, thick and huge — important qualities for a fort that witnessed King Abdul Aziz’s initiatives in consolidating the Kingdom. 

Nasser Al-Arifi, the museum’s director, invited residents to visit “this important milestone in the history of Saudi Arabia, depicting the struggles and efforts exerted by King Abdul Aziz to unite this great entity.”

The museum contains photographs, maps, models, display cabinets, old weapons, heritage objects, and exhibition and audiovisual halls. It will be open from 4 p.m. until midnight during Eid Al-Fitr, with a wide range of programs, events and activities aimed at visitors.

Masmak Fort is a tourist favorite and a must-visit destination in the Saudi capital. Many of the Kingdom’s most important historical artifacts are found here.

The fort has become virtually an official symbol of the rise of the Saudi nation, capturing the feel of old Arabia and the struggle that led to the modern Saudi state.

Visitors can find traditional dresses and crafts, a diwan with an open courtyard, functioning well, and a mosque as well as several other attractions.

 

 


Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

Updated 26 June 2019
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Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

  • 40 works by Edvard Munch go on display for first time in Middle East

DHAHRAN: A dynamic Saudi cultural center is to showcase the works of one of the world’s most famous painters in an exhibition-first for the Middle East.

Forty pieces by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for his iconic “The Scream” painting, will go on public display at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

The special exhibition, titled “Landscapes of the Soul,” is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural events to be staged at the showpiece exhibition in Dhahran.

Developed by Saudi Aramco with the aim of stimulating knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement, Ithra’s theater, museum, exhibition hall and art gallery complex forms a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to promote culture and entertainment.

The Munch exhibition, which runs until Sept. 3, portrays the artist’s personal life experiences of misery, love, despair, loneliness and reflections of the soul, through his distinctive works.

“It is such an honor to host and introduce to Saudi Arabia, and indeed, the Middle East, the work of the world-renowned artist Edvard Munch,” Rania Biltagi, Ithra’s head of communications and partnership, told Arab News.

Munch’s (1863-1944) original exhibition has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1963, and the Saudi display is being staged in Ithra’s Great Hall in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway.

As well as a lithograph version of his most famous painting “The Scream,” other works on show will include “Summer Night. The Voice,” 1894, “Self-Portrait,” 1895, and “The Sick Child,” 1896.

“A moment that stood out from the opening was when speaking to a couple visiting the exhibit, they mentioned that they were Norwegian and working in Saudi,” Biltagi said. “They explained that they had never had the chance to visit the Munch Museum in their homeland and what an unexpected pleasure it was to be able to see Munch’s work in Saudi.”

Biltagi added that the event epitomized the aim of Ithra in providing a platform to bring together cultures as well as people.

The center, featured in Time magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 places to visit, is a pioneer on the Kingdom’s culture and arts scene, organizing a variety of events, performances, programs and experiences to suit all ages and backgrounds. Previous exhibitions have included a focus on Saudi contemporary art, Leonardo da Vinci, and installations symbolizing creativity and innovation.