Masmak Fortress: an important historical symbol of Saudi unification

Known as the symbol of unification, Masmak Fortress is home to site of the battle that restored the ruling power to the Al-Saud family. (Supplied)
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Known as the symbol of unification, Masmak Fortress is home to site of the battle that restored the ruling power to the Al-Saud family. (Supplied)
Located on the western side of the Fortress the 3.60 m. high the gate is made of palm trunks and rush plant. (Supplied)
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Located on the western side of the Fortress the 3.60 m. high the gate is made of palm trunks and rush plant. (Supplied)
Masmak Fortress: an important historical symbol of Saudi unification
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Updated 23 September 2021

Masmak Fortress: an important historical symbol of Saudi unification

Masmak Fortress: an important historical symbol of Saudi unification
  • Masmak Fortress is a symbol of the unification of Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: It is easy to overlook the historical importance of Masmak Fortress and the role it played in the unification of the provinces that became the nation of Saudi Arabia in 1932. But three decades earlier, the recapture of the towering citadel in Riyadh by the future King Abdulaziz and 63 men was integral to the evolution of the Kingdom.

“King Abdulaziz almost died in this battle, but he won and when he won he started the unification,” Saleh S. Binsaif, the director of Al-Masmak Museum, told Arab News.

“If he had been captured and killed in that battle there would be no Saudi Arabia, or at least there would not be a Saudi Arabia in the form it is today. I think it would be a completely different form.”




Known as the symbol of unification, Masmak Fortress is home to site of the battle that restored the ruling power to the Al-Saud family. (Supplied)

A symbol of the unification of Saudi Arabia, Masmak Fortress was the site of the historic battle that turned the tide of the struggle for control in favor of the House of Saud and paved the way for modern-day Saudi Arabia.

Built in 1865 during the Second Saudi State, the fortress was given the name Masmak, the Arabic word for a tall, strong building with thick walls. It was the main base for the defense of Riyadh, housing the garrisons that protected the city and their ammunition stores.

The House of Saud’s rule over the Second Saudi State lasted only 16 years. When it collapsed in 1881, and the Al-Rasheed family took control, the former ruling family was forced to flee into exile in Kuwait.




Located on the western side of the Fortress the 3.60 m. high the gate is made of palm trunks and rush plant. (Supplied)

There they remained until, in the early hours of Jan. 15, 1902, Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud arrived in Riyadh accompanied by 63 men. He told 23 of them to wait at the border in case the mission failed, then entered the capital with the rest in an attempt to recapture the fortress — and with it the city.

Their chance came when the Rasheedi governor Ajlan, who occupied the fortress at the time, left the safety of its walls to check on his horses outside. As Abdulaziz launched his attack, Ajlan’s guards emerged and attempted to get him back inside.

During the fighting Fahad ibn Jalawi ibn Turki, cousin of Abdulaziz, threw a spear at Ajlan but it missed and became embedded in the gate of the fortress. The tip of the spear remains there to this day and is a famous symbol of the battle.




(Khokha) was the location where Ajlan was being pulled into the window by his men and King Abdulaziz was attempting to pull him out. (Left) Prince Fahad ibn Jalawi’s spearhead can be seen still embedded into the fortress gate today. (Right)

As the fighting continued, Abdulaziz’s men breached the gate and the battle moved inside the fortress. Ajlan was killed and his men surrendered.

While the battle itself could be considered brutal and bloody, Abdulaziz knew many of the soldiers guarding the fortress as they had previously served his family. It was simply their duty to serve Ajlan after his family took control, but once Abdulaziz recaptured the fortress they immediately surrendered and returned to serving the House of Saud.

One of Abdulaziz’s men then climbed to the top of the fortress and announced to the people of Riyadh that Abdulaziz had returned and was now Emir of Riyadh.

It marked that start of his unification movement in the Arabian peninsula which, 30 years later, resulted in the founding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Arabia announces 1 more COVID-19 death

Saudi Arabia announces 1 more COVID-19 death
Updated 29 sec ago

Saudi Arabia announces 1 more COVID-19 death

Saudi Arabia announces 1 more COVID-19 death
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 537,208
  • A total of 8,774 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced one death from COVID-19 and 51 new infections on Friday.

Of the new cases, 13 were recorded in Riyadh, 11 in Jeddah, three in Makkah, two in Qatif, two in Dhahran, two in AlUla, and two in Hafar Al-Batin. Several other cities recorded one new case each.

The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 537,208 after 59 more patients recovered from the virus.

A total of 8,774 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.

Over 45 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group
Updated 22 October 2021

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Nimari, chief information security officer at KSA’s Rock Solid Group

Abdulrahman Al-Nimari has been the chief information security officer at Rock Solid Group since August.

A cybersecurity expert and regular conference speaker, he has more than 25 years of experience in the information technology and cybersecurity sectors.

At RSG, he is responsible for developing and implementing a strategic, long-term information security strategy and roadmap to ensure that data assets are adequately protected.

He has been an independent cybersecurity architect and consultant since 2019.

From September 2017 to June 2019, he was lead cybersecurity systems architect for ManTech International Corp. where he was in charge of developing security strategies and utilizing new technologies to enhance security capabilities and implement improvements.

Between March and August 2017, he held the position of chief enterprise security architect at Security Matterz.

Al-Nimari was technical manager and senior security consultant at Riyadh Business Machines from August 2013 to February 2017, and an IT manager at the Ministry of Education between January 2008 and July 2013.

During his time with the ministry, he also worked as cybersecurity team leader on a major education system project and was a network and system administrator and supervisor.

He gained a bachelor’s degree in English from Umm Al-Qura University.

Al-Nimari has headed numerous cybersecurity initiatives and projects for government and private-sector bodies.

He pointed out that all members of society had a duty to be aware about cybersecurity. “It is our role to participate in protecting the cyberspace of our beloved Saudi Arabia,” he said.


Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement

Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement
Updated 22 October 2021

Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement

Saudi FM discusses Iran nuclear talks with EU envoy — statement

CAIRO: Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud discussed the Iran nuclear talks with the European Union envoy coordinating talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal, Enrique Mora, the Saudi Foreign ministry said on Thursday.
“They discussed developments regarding the Iranian nuclear program talks, and international efforts to ensure that Iran does not violate international agreements and treaties in this regard,” it added in a statement.


‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions
Updated 22 October 2021

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

‘Open library’: Tourists in AlUla glimpse distant past in Ikmah’s ancient inscriptions

ALULA: Imagine stepping back into a time before cell phones, emails, or even paper. During this era, documenting important moments was simplified to sketching on rocks.
This is Ikmah mountain, or the “open library” as it is referred to by AlUla’s locals. AlUla was a highlight on the trading route many took through the Arabian Peninsula. Travelers stopped at the mountain to document their stories or carve their names for those who came after them.
“We call Ikmah the ‘open library.’ If you want to know why it has this name, have a look around for a few seconds and you will see inscriptions all over the mountain,” Amal Aljahani, an expert Rawi storyteller, told Arab News.

Ikmah has over 500 inscriptions from the Dadan and Lihyan civilization. The earliest texts from the mountain have been studied and translated by historians and archeologists and have been dated back to the ninth and 10th century B.C. 
The languages in the mountain include Aramaic, Thamudic, Dadanitic, Minaen, Nabatean, Greek, Latin, and Arabic. An important area for historians, Arabic linguistics experts, and archaeologists, the mountain offers a look back into the pre-Arabic era.
Tourists from the Kingdom and international visitors gather for hours to sit in front of the high peaks and observe the delicate techniques of the ancient language that turned into the modern Arabic letters we know today.

Some inscriptions were written by the region’s professional scribes while others were merely sketches by travellers and locals passing by years ago.
Many of these messages differed in meaning, some surviving inscriptions are names written in the ancient Arabic text, but many involve tales of the ongoing events of the local community.
These inscriptions described the kings who ruled the land, the religious beliefs of the people, and sometimes notes for other visitors.
Ikmah held a high place in the hearts of the locals and travelers. It was a sacred ground for pagan worship and sacrifice along with documentation.  One of the inscriptions on the mountains was written by a woman named “Mirwa,” who carved her name into the rocks and detailed an offering she made to her deity.

“The woman used to come here and give her deity offerings to bless her and her children. The inscription says the deity blessed her and her children. Those are the kinds of things the people wrote here on this beautiful mountain,” Aljahani said.
Mirwa returned to add another inscription that her prayers were answered and her sons were blessed.
Some of these inscriptions are personal, while others are names or drawings of animals and musical instruments.
The oldest inscription in the Islamic era — known as the Naqsh Zuhayr — and the earliest glimpses into the Arabic language are documented on the east side. The inscriptions date back to 644 A.D.
The mountain hosts different inscription methods, Aljahani said, such as “carving inside the alphabet to be clearer.”
He added: “The second way is what we call the 3D way. It is the hardest method. They beautifully carved in between the alphabet letters using sand stones for the message to be clearer.”
In 2017, the Royal Commission of AlUla closed the mountain to begin preparation for the public to visit. Ikmah is now prepared and open to the public under the commission’s supervision.

 

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world
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Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation

Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation
Updated 21 October 2021

Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation

Saudi education minister, Egyptian envoy discuss cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Education Minister Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh met with the Egyptian Ambassador to the Kingdom, Ahmed Farouk Tawfiq, to enhance joint cooperation between the two countries in the education field.
The two sides also discussed the development of scientific and research partnerships between the countries’ universities along with the exchange of expertise and experiences in educational technologies.
The talks focused on joint cooperation between the Kingdom and Egypt in educational programs and ways to benefit from the development plans and programs implemented by educational institutions in both countries.
Saudi Ministry of Education’s undersecretary for international cooperation, Saleh Al-Qassumi, undersecretary for public education, Mohammed Al-Muqbil, undersecretary for university education, Mohammed Al-Adib, general supervisor of the general administration of media and communication, Ahmed Al-Jumaiyah, and supervisor of the public relations department, Saleh Al-Thubaiti, also attended the meeting.