Saudi crown prince winds down trip to Egypt with mosque visit

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inspect the Al-Azhar Mosque after the first phase of restoration, funded by Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inspect the Al-Azhar Mosque after the first phase of restoration, funded by Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inspect the Al-Azhar Mosque after the first phase of restoration, funded by Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inspect the Al-Azhar Mosque after the first phase of restoration, funded by Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inspect the Al-Azhar Mosque after the first phase of restoration, funded by Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inspect the Al-Azhar Mosque after the first phase of restoration, funded by Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inspect the Al-Azhar Mosque after the first phase of restoration, funded by Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi inspect the Al-Azhar Mosque after the first phase of restoration, funded by Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
Updated 08 March 2018

Saudi crown prince winds down trip to Egypt with mosque visit

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince wound up his three-day visit to Egypt on Tuesday with a symbolically significant visit to Al-Azhar.
Accompanied by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was given a tour of the mosque at the heart of old Cairo to see the outcome of three years of restoration work financed by a Saudi grant. Also at hand was Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb.
The mosque, built in the 10th century, is now part of a sprawling university teaching Islam as well as secular subjects and a nationwide network of schools. It is perceived to be a bastion of moderation whose teaching counters radicalism and violence.
Al-Tayeb thanked Prince Mohammed profusely for the kingdom’s help.
“This is our duty and every Saudi hopes that he can contribute, even in a simple way, to the renovation and improvement of Al-Azhar,” the Saudi heir apparent said in reply to Al-Tayeb.
The prince was given a warm welcome in Egypt, whose government views Saudi aid and investment as key to reviving the country’s battered economy. Posters featuring the prince alongside el-Sisi lined major roads in central Cairo. Pro-government television networks broadcast promotional videos about Saudi Arabia and the prince’s efforts to modernize the kingdom.
In what is perhaps a first for a Saudi heir apparent, Prince Mohammed and El-Sisi watched a play on Monday night at Cairo’s Opera House. In another first, he visited the spiritual leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox church, Pope Tawadros II, at the Cathedral of St. Mark in central Cairo.
He and el-Sisi traveled through one of several tunnels being built under the Suez Canal linking mainland Egypt with the Sinai peninsula. They later boarded a boat from a red-carpeted dock as an army band played marching music. The two countries have plans to build a causeway across the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba and to develop areas on both sides, including a multi-billion dollar city stretching across Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.
The prince left later Tuesday for London where he would be visiting before he travels on to Washington.


Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

Updated 12 min 10 sec ago

Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade

  • The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date

RIYADH: More than 1,500 performers and 25 floats took part in a parade and carnival on Thursday night that officially launched Riyadh Season’s Boulevard zone. The crowds that gathered for the fun-packed event were also treated to motorcycle displays, fireworks and other surprises.

The Boulevard lit up at 9 p.m. for the start of the 90-minute event, which featured some of the international artists who will perform as part of Riyadh Season. Afterwards, the zone’s food and drink outlets, outdoor cinema and fountain shows officially opened.

The audience watched the parade, performances and displays from specially constructed stands. Food trucks offered a selection of tasty snacks, and organizers also provided prayer rooms, toilets, first-aid stations and other facilities.

 

GEA president Turki Al-Sheikh gave an opening speech: “Our dearest people, in the beginning of this season, we welcome you and our guests in Riyadh.

“I want to share a story with you all; once upon a time, I was from a middle-class family. My mother and father would gather both their salaries to have us travel to see the world, and then we would stay in Riyadh for a year. These were our capabilities (at the time) and there was nothing to do in Riyadh. Who would've thought that we’d see all of this in Riyadh, and in our beloved country?

“This wouldn't have been possible without -of course Allah first- a person who has the qualities and vision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

He tweeted: “Riyadh traffic police estimated we have exceeded 600K which means ten times the capacity.”

In addition to the opening-night festivities, the Boulevard zone, which covers 400,000 square meters, will host a wide range of entertainment options and activities for all ages, including the outdoor cinema, restaurants, and sports, music and theatrical events. It has three main venues: The 22,000-seat Mohammed Abdu Theater, the 6,000-seat Abu Bakr Salem Theater, and the 2,000-seat Baker Al-Sheddi Theater.

The parade is just one of more than 100 events featuring local, regional and international performers taking place during the Riyadh Season festival, which continues until mid-December at 12 zones across the city: the Boulevard; the Front; Riyadh Car Show; Winter Wonderland; Riyadh Stadiums; the Diplomatic Quarter; Al-Muraba’a; Al-Malaz; Wadi Namar; Nabd Al-Riyadh; Riyadh Safari; and Riyadh Sahara. It has been organized with the support of Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority and president of Riyadh Season.

The ambitious 2019 Saudi Seasons initiative, the first of its kind in the region, was launched in February and includes 11 local seasons covering most parts of the Kingdom. Designed to promote the fledgling Saudi entertainment sector and boost tourism, it is attracting some of the biggest names in world entertainment.

The Riyadh parade is thought to be the biggest parade in Kingdom to date. It follows a folklore parade at the Mawtni (My Nation) cultural event in Yanbu to mark Saudi National Day this year, and a parade during the Jeddah Season festivities in the city’s Obhur district.

The parade had a special surprise; the appearance of DJ Carnage who took to the stage dressed in complete Saudi attire and performed his successful electronic show.

The musician also took to Twitter to celebrate the night and how he had had a hand in “making history,” tweeting: “A huge thank you to @Turki_alalshikh  ..... what you did for your country last night... was so special... thank you for having me... we made history.”