ThePlace: Al-Ahsa Oasis in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province

This photograph was taken by Abdullah Al-Sheikh as part of the Colors of Saudi competition. (Saudi Tourism photo)
Updated 01 September 2019
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ThePlace: Al-Ahsa Oasis in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province

Al-Ahsa Oasis is one of the largest and most famous natural oases in the world, with over 3 million palm trees producing delicious dates. The place is widely considered to have the greenest and most fertile land in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province. 

The region contains prominent archaeological and historical sites — some that date back to 6,000 B.C. — and has achieved three Arab and international accolades in the last four years.

In 2015, Al-Ahsa became the first Gulf city to be included in the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network for crafts and folk art. 

UNESCO designated Al-Ahsa as a World Heritage Site in 2018, becoming the fifth Saudi area to receive the accolade following Madain Saleh (2008), the Tarif neighborhood in Diriyah (2010), Al-Balad, Jeddah (2014) and the rock art in the Hail region (2015).

Moreover, Al-Ahsa was chosen as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2019 by the Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism. 

This photograph was taken by Abdullah Al-Sheikh as part of the Colors of Saudi competition. 


King Abdul Aziz lookalike to star in new Saudi Movie 'Born a King'

Updated 8 min 21 sec ago

King Abdul Aziz lookalike to star in new Saudi Movie 'Born a King'

  • Rakan Abdulwahid is the 32-year-old Saudi actor who plays King Abdul Aziz
  • The rapper, singer, designer, model and now actor considers himself a 'Saudi ambassador of arts to the US' 

RIYADH: With his long dreadlocked hair, handsome Arabian looks and a quiet disposition, Rakan Abdulwahid is the 32-year-old Saudi actor who plays King Abdul Aziz in “Born a King.”

His family history runs deep with the Al-Saud family. “My great grandfather fought alongside King Abdul Aziz,” Rakan told Arab News.  

His family’s lineage goes back to the days of King Abdulaziz as they are considered the official “Al-Arda” dance performers. They have been performing the pre-war and celebratory dance for over a century, before the founding of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

His uncle, Salah Abdulwahid, is featured in the movie, as the main Al-Arda performer.

The Saudi actor felt a connection to the founder of the Kingdom, not only physically resembling the king, but also embodying his charisma.

Before the shooting of the movie, he began reading up on anything he could get his hands on to learn more about the founder’s personality, to try and pefect his character and do him justice on the big screen.

Born in the US and raised in the Kingdom, and an avid athlete in his youth, he was a soccer player until he broke his hip in a tournament.

The multitalented actor not only shines through on the big screen, but is a rapper, singer, model and designer. As a lover of the arts in all forms, he believes that culture can build bridges across the world.

He has vowed to represent his country in a positive manner while breaking stereotypes about Saudi Arabia. He also speaks French, English and Spanish fluently.

The actor obtained four degrees in just 7 years, having majored in industrial engineering with a minor in business and math from Northeastern University.

He later continued his education and received his master’s in engineering project management and an MBA certificate in global supply chain management. However, that didn’t stop him from taking law classes at Harvard for a semester.

As a child he would write 300-page stories, cooked passionately and danced with abandonment.

He returned to his homeland to play one of the most influential people in the Kingdom’s history: Its founder King Abdul Aziz.