Exhibition offers interactive experience for Real Madrid fans in Riyadh

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AN photos by Ziyad Alarfaj
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AN photos by Ziyad Alarfaj
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Real Madrid star Alvaro Arbeloa represented the team at the opening of the exhibition. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 22 October 2019

Exhibition offers interactive experience for Real Madrid fans in Riyadh

  • Arbeloa thanked Saudi fans for always showing their support to him and the team

RIYADH: Football is considered the No. 1 sport in the Kingdom. Saudis are not just fans of local football clubs, but admire international teams. Real Madrid has a huge fanbase in the Kingdom, and by creating an exhibition dedicated to the team, fans in Riyadh had the opportunity to have an interactive experience and learn more about the club.
The exhibition is a virtual experience of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, and included the team’s trophies over the years, electronic games, accessories, signed T-shirts and much more.
The exhibition is part of Winter Wonderland, one of more than 100 events featuring local, regional and international performers taking place during the Riyadh Season festival, which continues until 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 (GEA) and president of Riyadh Season.
Retired Spanish professional footballer and Real Madrid ambassador Alvaro Arbeloa represented the club at the opening of the exhibition on Saturday.
“The exhibition is amazing, I really love it. You can feel our history, and it’s really important. I think it’s a great opportunity for all our fans here in Saudi Arabia to come here and visit this exhibition,” he told Arab News
Arbeloa thanked Saudi fans for always showing their support to him and the team
“I want to say thank you, thank you for the support. I can feel it every day on social media, and when I meet them here in Riyadh or if they come to Madrid.”
The managing director of TEG Live, Tim McGregor, said the company had been discussing the exhibition with the GEA since March.

You can feel our history, and it’s really important. It’s a great opportunity for all our fans here in Saudi Arabia to come here and visit this exhibition.

Alvaro Arbeloa, Former football player

“We’re very interested in Real Madrid because it’s a huge brand here with a huge number of fans, so they’re very excited about the idea that there will be an exhibition specifically about Real Madrid and their history. We started those conversations back in March and by the middle of April we were ready to go and move forward, it’s been really exciting,” he told Arab News
McGregor revealed that there will be more Real Madrid exhibitions in the Kingdom for the other Saudi Seasons.
 “This tends to be the first stop of three in Saudi Arabia. We’re here to be a part of Winter Wonderland and we hope to have many thousands of people that go through the exhibition. The entire Winter Wonderland is going to be extremely popular,” he said
“There were various ideas about where the exhibition would go and how it would be delivered into Riyadh. We’re very pleased that it is a part of something like this. I know this is the first time for Riyadh to have something like this, so it made sense to us to be within a precinct where we know that every day there will be 40,000 or 50,000 people going through.”
Saudi writer and social media influencer Sultan Al-Mousa said he is proud of the development in the entertainment sector of the Kingdom.
“I, just like any other citizen, am very happy with this major leap and the growth of the entertainment sector. We used to travel to see these events, and now they are happening here and one of them is Winter Wonderland.”


Ithra marks National Day with exhibitions, competitions and performances

Updated 23 September 2020

Ithra marks National Day with exhibitions, competitions and performances

  • The study reveals a need to protect and preserve Saudi heritage in the face of cultural homogenization

RIYADH: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is marking Saudi Arabia’s 90th National Day with exhibitions, a scavenger hunt, a fine dining pop-up, and artistic performances.

The center started its National Day celebrations on Sept. 21 and the activities run through to Sept. 26. 

Rania Biltagi, the head of communication and partnerships at Ithra, said she hoped that people this year would ask themselves what being Saudi meant to them.

“I am proud to be part of an organization created as a creative and cultural destination perfectly positioned to drive and participate in conversations such as these,” she told Arab News. “Our mandate involves igniting cultural curiosity, exploring knowledge and inspiring creativity, and it’s a task we don’t take lightly.”

“Saudi at heart, multicultural by nature” had been the Ithra motto from the start, she said, and the center was always looking inward even as it looked outward.

Biltagi shared the results of research that Ithra had conducted about the impact of globalization on Saudi Arabia’s culture.

“The study reveals a need to protect and preserve Saudi heritage in the face of cultural homogenization. However, it also shows that Saudis are willing and able to embrace modernity and globalization while still cherishing their unique national identity.”

Ithra has created the “Kingdom of Cultures” exhibition, which will take visitors on an interactive and state-of-the-art journey through Saudi Arabia’s lands and tell stories about the Saudi people. It will also feature crafts, dialects and customs.

Writer and Saudi heritage expert Ali Ibrahim Moghawi said he was honored to be participating in the festival as part of the “Flower Men” booth.

“To be representing our great nation at the very place where oil was first discovered, a place that represents the heart of progress in Saudi Arabia, the place that has done the most to respect our heritage and support every Saudi generation future, past, and present, is an honor,” he told Arab News.

Ithra has scheduled musical performances from Saudi band Al-Farabi, which will also feature the pianist Abeer Balubaid and singer Ameen Farsi. Award-winning poet Abdulatif Almubarak will host an evening of poetry – “Aswat” – accompanied by musicians in a celebration of Saudi civilization.

The center has devised a pop-up restaurant called Takya, which will offer guests a fine dining experience with Saudi fusion cuisine and modern takes on old favorites.

It has also announced plans to revamp and renovate an old farmer’s market in Alkhobar’s Al-Ulaya district to give it an energetic and artsy edge. The covered space is being redecorated and will feature areas for art and music, in addition to a dedicated and upgraded space where local farmers can sell their produce.

Ithra plans to curate installations at the market to make it more visually appealing as well as to take art and creativity directly to the community.

It has scheduled two celebration sessions a day with limited space and occupancy. The first runs from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. while the second is from 8:30 p.m. until midnight.

Tickets to the events, as well as the special performances, are available on Ithra’s website.