MAKKAH: Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan visited three palaces in Makkah on Wednesday: King Faisal’s Palace, Al-Saqqaf Palace and Al-Zaher Palace.
This visit is part of the minister’s program to visit cultural sites throughout the Kingdom, aimed at inspecting the infrastructure, listening to the people in charge, and considering the support needed to maintain preservation.
The prince signed a memorandum of understanding with the chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, Ahmad Al-Khatib, on April 24 to prepare for the transfer of the national heritage and archaeology sector to the Culture Ministry. Royal directives were issued to renovate King Faisal’s Palace and turn it into a national museum. Al-Saqqaf Palace has been important for Saudis since the late King Abdul Aziz came to Makkah. The palace became a center for government, and King Abdul Aziz received prominent guests there, including Arab ambassadors and heads of Hajj missions. Al-Zaher Palace was built in 1946 following King Abdul Aziz’s return from his visit to Egypt, and became one of the official palaces of the state.
Under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi authorities are focusing on boosting the Kingdom’s culture and heritage, in accordance with Vision 2030.
The Kingdom recently announced that for the first time international artists will be offered the chance to take up residency in Saudi Arabia. The move is among a raft of initiatives announced at an event in Riyadh to launch the Ministry of Culture’s vision and strategy for the future. They include arts prizes, scholarship programs and a culture fund to support artists.
“Today marks a turning point in the history of our nation,” said the Minister of Culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan. “It is rare that a nation undertakes such a massive revival of its culture.
“The transformation of arts and culture will benefit all Saudis, young and old, from every corner of our country. It will help build bridges of understanding. And for our children, we will build a Saudi Arabia where their creative spirits can flourish.” On the ministry’s Twitter account, the minister said a priority was to support Saudi talent.
“The ministry will work to enable creatives and intellectuals and harness their potential,” Prince Badr said. “We will work to promote culture as an enabler of coexistence and peaceful dialogue, and we are marching confidently toward a promising future.” During the ceremony, the new Culture Ministry logo, focused on Saudi Arabia’s traditional colors, was displayed on screens as Saudi performers including Mohammed Abdo and Rashid Al-Faris took center stage.
Earlier this month, Prince Badr signed up for a personal account on Weibo, one of China’s most popular social networking websites, becoming the first Arab culture minister on the Twitter-like platform.
Weibo connects more than 445 million active users per month, and includes a number of politicians from around the world, including Indian Premier Narendra Modi and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Prince Badr’s Weibo account aims to promote communication between Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries on the one hand, and China on the other, as well as promote Saudi and Arab culture.