Ithra — The King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture — was inaugurated by King Salman on Dec. 1, 2017. The arts center, developed by Saudi Aramco, is located in Dhahran.
The iconic building was designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snohetta, which also designed the award-winning Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Oslo Opera House.
Ithra’s stated mission is to “make a tangible and positive impact on human development by inspiring a passion for knowledge, creativity, and cross-cultural engagement for the future of the Kingdom” — an ambition that ties into Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which places culture and entertainment at the center of its plans for increasing quality of life.
The center aims to stimulate knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement in its facilities, which include an idea lab, library, theater, museum, energy exhibit, art gallery, children’s museum, and a “knowledge tower,” all housed under one roof to provide visitors with an immersive and transformative experience.