Murabba Palace: The historical divan of King Abdul Aziz

Updated 25 September 2012

Murabba Palace: The historical divan of King Abdul Aziz

The Murabba Palace played a significant role in the early history of the Kingdom as the Founder, King Abdul Aziz had the palace as his divan. The palace was the hub of all administrative decisions besides the Al-Hukum Palace. King Abdul Aziz used to receive kings and heads of state who visited him and make historical agreements at the Murabba palace.
The palace was built in 1936 when the king ordered construction of a new building complex. The old Riyadh city had become too crowded to accommodate any more buildings and the city walls had only five gates. The new palaces were built outside the city in a single compound.
These buildings were called the Murabba Complex and one of these palaces housed the king’s administrative headquarters. It was Prince Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman who first built a palace outside the city and it was named Atiqah Palace followed by Prince Saud Al-Kabeer with the construction of Al-Shamsiah Palace. Another palace built in the same period was Al-Badiah Palace as a guesthouse for visiting dignitaries.
The palace complex was built on a plot called ‘Murabba Al-Sufyan,’ which was used for farming during rainy season, according to the documents at the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah).
The location is only two kilometers from the old city and was surrounded by gardens in the south, the Batha valley in the east, and Wadi Abu Rafie in the west and small hills on the north. Built in the Arab architectural style, the two-story palace has 32 rooms. The materials used in the construction of the palace included bricks, indigenous stones, tamarisk trunk and palm-leaf stalks.
The king’s audience hall, offices of administrative affairs, communications and guest chambers were on the upper floor while the ground floor had the offices for palace utilities, security and administration.
The major decisions taken in the palace included the setting up of a separate Ministry of Defense, launch of the Saudi Broadcasting and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, and the issuing of an independent Saudi currency.
This was also the palace where King Abdul Aziz received kings and heads of various state, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

The hottest films due out in 2020

Updated 07 August 2020

The hottest films due out in 2020

  • As cinemas reopen post-COVID, Arab News looks at the major blockbusters coming our way over the rest of the year


August 26

Christopher Nolan’s latest feature is arguably the year’s most-anticipated film, with Nolan the most-inventive mainstream filmmaker of his generation. Typically, the trailers for “Tenet” haven’t revealed much of the story: We know there’s some astonishing visual trickery — as you’d expect from the man behind “Inception” — and some mind-bending time-shifting, but apart from that, not much. John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman) plays the hero — an operative of a shadow organization tasked with preventing World War III. The cast also includes Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine and Kenneth Brannagh. Saudi cinemagoers will be among the first to get to see “Tenet.” Expect your mind to be as dazzled as your eyes.

Bill & Ted Face The Music 

August 28

Twenty-nine years on from their ‘Bogus Journey,’ best friends Bill and Ted (aka Wyld Stallyns) — played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves — must once again use their music to save the world, this time with the help of their daughters, some old friends (including Death), and famous musicians from throughout history. If it’s anything like the originals, this long-awaited third installment will likely appall critics and enthrall fans.


August 28

Josh Boone (“The Fault In Our Stars”) takes the reins of this “X-Men” spinoff, which will reportedly be the last film in the “X-Men” franchise from 20th Century Studios (since Disney now holds the rights). Expectations are high: The trailer suggests there’s a healthy dose of horror in this superhero feature, and there’s certainly a great cast of young actors, including Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones”) and Charlie Heaton (“Stranger Things”), playing the young mutants held in a secret facility (supposedly for their own good, although it soon becomes apparent that there’s nothing benign about the intentions of those in authority there). 

A Quiet Place PART II 

September 4

The sequel to 2018’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi hit picks up straight after the shattering climax of part one, which means that John Krasinski — despite writing and directing — appears only in the prequel flashbacks. The Abbott family must face the alien creatures that hunt by sound again, but they aren’t the only threat to Evelyn and her kids as they venture out to seek sanctuary.

Wonder Woman 1984 

October 2

Patty Jenkins returns to direct Gal Gadot as immortal Amazonian warrior Diana Prince in this sequel, set in Eighties America. 2017’s “Wonder Woman” was probably the best film in the DC Extended Universe so far (not a high bar, admittedly), so fans — and investors — will be hoping the two can work their magic again. 

The French Dispatch 

October 16

The trailer for singular filmmaker Wes Anderson’s latest showcases his trademark stunning aesthetics and the excellent ensemble cast he’s assembled for this tale of a fictional US newspaper’s French bureau, which includes Adrien Brody, Benicio del Toro, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray and a host of other stars. The film is reportedly inspired by Anderson’s love of The New Yorker magazine, and has been described as “a love letter to journalists.”

Black Widow 

November 6

Scarlett Johansson’s superhero finally gets to headline her own feature after eight outings in other movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Set after “Captain America: Civil War,” the story sees Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow confronting the demons from her past — when she was a KGB assassin and SHIELD agent — that have been hinted at in previous films. 

No Time To Die 

November 12

Pre-release details of Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as British superspy with a ‘licence to kill’ James Bond suggest the decades-old franchise is making some further attempts to upgrade for the 21st century — including a female ‘double-0’ agent! At the start of the movie, Bond has been retired for five years, but is enlisted by the CIA to help search for a missing Russian scientist. He reluctantly returns to action and runs up against possibly the nastiest foe he’s faced so far: Safin, played by Rami Malek.  


November 20

Pixar’s “Soul” looks set to be the year’s top animated film. Directed by Pete Docter (who also helmed the acclaimed hits “Inside Out” and “Up”), it’s Pixar’s first film led by a black character, Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a music teacher and aspiring jazz musician whose soul gets separated from his body after an unfortunate accident. With the help of other souls, he attempts to get back to his body on Earth before it’s too late.


December 18

Despite the fact that David Lynch made a movie version in 1984, many still consider Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi novel set on the desert planet of Arrakis, where the only commodity of value is the “spice” drug that can prolong life, to be ‘un-filmable.’ That hasn’t dissuaded Denis Villeneuve (“Blade Runner 2049”) from giving it another go. There’s a fantastic cast on board, and with 30+ years of studio trickery developed since Lynch’s attempt, it’s a reasonable bet that Villeneuve can pull it off.

Top Gun: Maverick 

December 23

Tom Cruise reprises the role that made him a global megastar — the, erm, maverick fighter pilot known as Maverick. He’s back at the Top Gun academy, this time as an instructor. He’s not the only link to the 1986 original either. Val Kilmer returns as Iceman, who’s now an admiral in the US navy, and Miles Teller plays Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw — the son of Maverick’s late friend and flight partner Nick ‘Goose’ Bradshaw, for whose death Maverick still feels residual guilt, more than 30 yeas later.