At-Turaif: A look into the jewel of the Kingdom’s museums

At-Turaif in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh is home to the largest open-air museum in the world. (Abdullah AlJabr/Faisal AlDakheel)
At-Turaif in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh is home to the largest open-air museum in the world. (Abdullah AlJabr/Faisal AlDakheel)
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Updated 23 September 2021

At-Turaif: A look into the jewel of the Kingdom’s museums

At-Turaif in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh is home to the largest open-air museum in the world. (Abdullah AlJabr/Faisal AlDakheel)
  • Arab News visited five galleries in the district that take visitors back in time through the birth of the Kingdom

RIYADH: At-Turaif is home to the largest open-air museum in the world. Arab News visited five galleries in the district that take visitors back in time through the birth of the Kingdom, detailing every important aspect, including lifestyle, trade, territory disputes and architecture of the Saudi states.

1 - Diriyah Museum:

Diriyah Museum is known for taking individuals step by step into a sequence of historical events dating back to the formation of the Saudi states.

The museum begins in A.D. 400, displaying maps and documents pertaining to the Banu Hanifah tribe migration from the west Arabian Peninsula to the center of Al-Yamama.

It explains how Diriyah was established in 1446 when Manaa’ Al-Muraide shared the region’s leadership with his cousin Ibn Dera’.




The Diriyah Museum holds replicas of some of the most important documents that contributed to the growth of the first and second Saudi states. (Abdullah AlJabr)  

On display are swords, coins, stamps and copies of important documents that contributed to the growth of the first and second Saudi states.




Housed in the Diriyah Museum is a replica of the Al-Ajrab Sword owned by the founder of the second Saudi state, Imam Turki ibn Abdullah. (Faisal AlDakheel) 

The museum also showcases the progression of the Al-Saud royal family tree throughout each century. A digital and interactive activity allows visitors and their families to swipe through the royal tree and learn about unity, stability and the reform of the region dating back to the establishment of the first Saudi state by Imam Mohammed ibn Saud in 1744.

The tree explains the royal lineage, further detailing Imam Turki ibn Abdullah’s eviction of the Ottoman garrisons from Najd, the founding of the second Saudi state and the return of King Abdulaziz ibn Abdulrahman Al-Faisal to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.




The Al-Saud family tree can be seen in the Diriyah Museum detailing the names of the sons, daughters, and grandchildren of King Abdulaziz. (Supplied)

One of the most prominent features of the museum is a replica of the Al-Ajrab Sword owned by the founder of the second Saudi state, Imam Turki ibn Abdullah. The sword is named after the rusting on the edges of the blade.

2 - The Arabian Horse Museum:

The Arabian Horse Museum gives an in-depth look into the vital roles horses played in the Kingdom’s unification in 1932, including in warfare, trade and transportation.

The museum houses many replicas of important documents that detail the names of thousands of horses owned by the Al-Saud family at that time.




The Arabian Horse Museum displays replicas of the different types of saddles, clothing, and important documents relating to the  Kingdom’s unification in 1932. (Abdullah AlJabr)

The nobleman and sheiks of the era divided their horses into five categories:

Kehilan- Named for the black rings around its eyes resembling (Kohl) eyeliner.

Al-Hamdani- Named by its owners to distinguish it from the Kehilan horse.

Al-Saqlawi- Named for its glossy coat, the horse is known for its long neck and sparkling eyes.

Abayan- According to a legend, the rider’s coat, an abaya, slipped down to the horse’s tail during the race. Throughout the race the horse’s tail was raised, preventing the cloak from falling.

Hadban- One of the strongest and fastest horses, its name means “long forelock” (the top of the horse’s mane).




The Arabian Horse Museum also houses a life size bronze sculpture of a horse named Tarfah, a beloved horse King Abdulaziz gifted to King George VI of England. (Abdullah AlJabr)

Within the museum is a life-size bronze sculpture of Tarfah, King Abdulaziz’s horse which he gifted to King George VI of the United Kingdom.

The museum shows how domestication and taming of the horses was used as a vital part of eventual transportation and battle. On display are replicas of different types of saddles and clothing, based on the individual’s social status or occasion, such as weddings.

Copies of detailed travel documents for the horses are on display, including horses visas and passports in French and English.

The museum reflects how connected Saudi rulers were to their horses, treating them as loyal companions rather than just animals.

3 - Museum of Traditional Architecture:

The museum focuses on the first Saudi state’s architectural development and the present-day role of preserving the local UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The museum displays replicas of the buildings and techniques used to build structures, from foundations, plastering to decoration.

Visitors can read about the construction process of the walls of Saad Palace. The interior walls were usually 40 centimeters to 60 centimeters thick and the exterior walls were 120 centimeters thick. Once the walls reached the ceiling height, then doorways, stairways and ceilings began to be built.




The Museum of Traditional Architecture  takes visitors step by step into the construction process of the walls of Saad Palace.  (Abdullah AlJabr)  

This is where visitors can notice the building detailing, such as entryways that were equipped with small sight holes for surveillance, or crenelations to provide aim and shelter during battle.

On display are audio-visuals displays and images that show the original process of creating each of the mud bricks and mud layers to form the foundation of the structures.

The museum also has many interactive features and games that allow visitors to test their knowledge in creating a traditional Najdi door. Once the doors are created, they are projected on a large screen to be displayed.

4 - Military Museum:

Diriyah was home to one of the largest firearms markets in the region. The military museum displays authentic replicas of all the weapons used during the second and the first Saudi state, including arrows, guns, cannons and ships.

It also shows foreign armors and shields, and the different types of ships that carried weapons cargoes at the time, including British and Saudi war ships.

Some of the rifle models on display include muzzle-loading muskets, breech-loading single-shot rifles, chassepots, Mausers and Martini-Henry rifles.




The military museum is home to replicas of all the weapons used during the second and the first Saudi state. (Supplied)

The museum also details the Battle of Diriyah, in which Ibrahim Pasha and the Ottoman army reached the city in 1818.

It also displays the Diriyah fortifications which were overseen by Imam Abdullah ibn Saud.

5 - Lifestyle Museum:

Village homes were simple and linked to the local environment. The Lifestyle Museum is a walk-through gallery that displays courtyards, bedrooms, kitchens, majlis and guest rooms in At-Turaif.

The Lifestyle Museum begins with the majlis, which feature motion sensors that cue audio of men socializing, tea being poured and items being cooked over a traditional fire oven.

Then visitors will see a traditional kitchen with a digital gallery of recipes used at the time.

The bedrooms in the homes were austere, but the detailing on fixtures indicated a resident’s status or wealth.

To avoid the heat, families would often sleep on the cool open roof and retreat to their bedrooms after sunrise, depending on the season.

The museum ends in the children’s room, where simple toys made of wood and straw are spread across the ground, while audio of children laughing and singing plays over the speakers.

The Lifestyle Museum perfectly captures the living style at the time in At-Turaif. It allows visitors to place themselves in the shoes of those before them, gaining a better understanding of how the Kingdom was born.

Diriyah, past, present and future
On Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day, the birthplace of the Kingdom continues to make history

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Saudis are natural-born storytellers, says Saudi Film Commission CEO

Saudi Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al-Eyaf held several discussions with international industry professionals. (Supplied)
Saudi Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al-Eyaf held several discussions with international industry professionals. (Supplied)
Updated 22 May 2022

Saudis are natural-born storytellers, says Saudi Film Commission CEO

Saudi Film Commission CEO Abdullah Al-Eyaf held several discussions with international industry professionals. (Supplied)
  • Abdullah Al-Eyaf discusses the importance of Saudi talent during the 75th Cannes Film Festival

CANNES: Abdullah Al-Eyaf, the CEO of the Saudi Film Commission, aims to drive the Saudi film industry by fostering an environment for young Saudi filmmakers to develop their passions and talents.

During a panel discussion hosted on Sunday in the March du Film pavilion in Cannes, Al-Eyaf expressed his vision for Saudi youth filmmakers and the important role they play in the industry.

“We in the commission strongly believe in the filmmakers in Saudi, actually they are the reason behind all that we do,” Al-Eyaf said.

The Kingdom’s film industry is bursting with talent and passion from Saudi filmmakers, writers, and artisans. What is needed now is the strong support from an entity to facilitate that growth. This is where the Saudi Film Commission plans to come into play.

The Saudi Film Commission, under the Ministry of Culture, has conducted numerous outreach and education programs to help Saudi filmmakers in the industry through masterclasses, workshops and training.

According to the CEO, Saudis play a pivotal role in the industry’s growth on a global and local level.

“These young filmmakers started before the commission was established and they will continue with or without the film commission that’s why we think the industry will not be built in Saudi without these filmmakers,” Al-Eyaf said.

HIGHLIGHT

With many blockbusters films showing an interest in shooting in the Kingdom, doors are opening for Saudi production teams, special effects artists, actors and many more talents to contribute to the industry.

Therefore the commission is striving to establish a wider creative opportunity for Saudi talent through partnerships and representation in global film festivals such as the Cannes festival.

Through the organizations and initiatives of the Saudi Film Commission, the Saudi presence during the Cannes Film Festival has only grown stronger since the 74th Cannes film festival held in 2021.

It is known that Saudi Arabia has a wealth of locations through its 13 diverse provinces. During the initial days of the festival, this is what attracted many producers and filmmakers to the Saudi pavilion to learn more.

With many blockbusters films showing an interest in shooting in the Kingdom, doors are opening for Saudi production teams, special effects artists, actors and many more talents to contribute to the industry.

Al-Eyaf said that Saudis are natural-born storytellers; what is needed now is to support and empower them throughout the film sector.

“We really appreciate what they are doing and our only role is to support them and to have Saudi Arabia as a friendly environment for filmmakers to create their films and tell their stories to the world and to Saudi,” Al-Eyaf said.

The Saudi Film Commission aims to expand and strengthen the Saudi film industry on a local and global level through partnerships, investment and educational empowerment.

During the 75th Cannes Film Festival, the Saudi pavilion welcomed some of the biggest global names in the film industry — producers, directors and actors — to partner on Saudi film projects.

The commission’s role isn’t only to support Saudi talents but it’s also to foster a community where directors explore collaborative initiatives from filming in Saudi to creating films with some of the many Saudi talents in the sector.

In January the commission launched the third phase of the “Film Makers” program that took students through sets of comprehensive training workshops that were spread throughout the Kingdom.

“We have already contacted hundreds (of Saudi filmmakers) via either training programs, grants or the fund that we launched a couple of years ago,” the CEO said.

The commission has developed an incentive package for local and international filmmakers to establish the Kingdom as a global hub for film, creative production and industry talent.


People vaccinated against smallpox likely safe from monkeypox, says specialist‏‏

People vaccinated against smallpox likely safe from monkeypox, says specialist‏‏
Updated 23 May 2022

People vaccinated against smallpox likely safe from monkeypox, says specialist‏‏

People vaccinated against smallpox likely safe from monkeypox, says specialist‏‏
  • Saudi Ministry of Health has also confirmed that no cases of monkeypox have been detected in the Kingdom

JEDDAH: People who have received a vaccination against smallpox are “highly likely” to be safe from getting infected with monkeypox, a Saudi health specialist has said.

Dr. Nizar Bahabri, an infectious disease consultant, said in a video on his Twitter account, that the disease has been a well-known virus since 1950 and added the first case outside Africa was registered in 1970.

The Saudi Ministry of Health has also confirmed that no cases of monkeypox have been detected in the Kingdom, following reports that it has recently begun to appear in some European and North American countries.

“Since the disease is caused by a virus, no antibiotic can be used to cure the disease, some viruses and bacteria can be transmitted through air,” Bahabri said.

He also said that monkeypox is like smallpox in that it can be transmitted via droplets.

“It is difficult that one can get infected if they are two meters away from an infected person. Monkeypox can even only be transmitted from a shorter distance,” he said.

Cases being recorded in Europe are due to parties where people gather close to other infected people, he added.

“Those who have been vaccinated against smallpox are not likely to get infected by monkeypox, and here lies the importance of taking the vaccine,” Bahabri said.

The consultant pointed out that some people in Europe refused in the past to give anti-smallpox vaccines to their children, which has caused the virus to attack again.

Bahabri said that symptoms of monkeypox normally appear 12 days after coming into contact with an infected person. He added that an infected person normally recovers without any medication.

“Five percent of infected people get complications, while less than three percent die of the disease,” he said. “However, no deaths were reported in the countries with advanced health systems, with most of the deaths in Africa.”

The health ministry added in a post on Twitter that the disease can be transmitted by direct contact with blood or mucous of an infected animal.

It added that it can also be transmitted in humans through droplets, touching the blisters on an infected person’s skin or a hand touching contaminated surfaces.

The health ministry noted that the virus has an incubation period of 7-14 days, and that cannot extend to 21 days.

As for the symptoms, the ministry included high temperature, backache, skin rashes, lymphadenopathy, fatigue and muscle pain.

The ministry recommended people to avoid getting in contact with infected people, wearing gloves and face masks when close to patients, washing hands regularly and avoiding touching infected animals.


Saudi Arabia re-elected president of ALECSO’s executive council

Saudi Arabia re-elected president of ALECSO’s executive council. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia re-elected president of ALECSO’s executive council. (SPA)
Updated 23 May 2022

Saudi Arabia re-elected president of ALECSO’s executive council

Saudi Arabia re-elected president of ALECSO’s executive council. (SPA)
  • Members agreed on importance of maintaining council’s new and advanced vision

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has been unanimously re-elected to chair the executive council of the Tunis-based Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization until 2024.

The decision was made by members of ALECSO’s executive council after the 26th session of the general conference, which concluded its activities on Saturday.

Council members expressed their appreciation for the positive results achieved and the complementary work of the executive council during the past 10 months.

They unanimously agreed on the importance of maintaining the council’s new and advanced vision and reiterated that the accomplishments represented an important shift in the council's history toward strengthening its role in supporting the organization and its programs to serve its orientation in the Arab world, as it had worked on several initiatives that strengthened joint Arab action.

The decision to re-elect the Kingdom came after the appreciation of the general conference for the efforts made by the executive council under the Kingdom’s stewardship, which executed its tasks according to a clear methodology and spirit based on integrated work between the executive board and administration of ALECSO.

The Arab ministers praised the initiative of the Saudi representative and chairman of ALECSO's executive council, Hani Al-Moqbil, to develop the council’s road map, which was put together with a transparent methodology based on the involvement of countries in building a common Arab vision to support and enable the organization to achieve its goals.

Al-Moqbil extended his appreciation to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their constant support, empowerment, and care, which was reflected in the Saudi role and its presidency of the executive council to contribute to a beneficial impact and supportive action for the development of ALECSO.

He also thanked Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, who is also the chairman of the National Committee for Education, Culture, and Science, for his support, guidance, supervision, and harnessing of capabilities which gave direct and significant support throughout the Saudi presidency which helped it in serving its goals with all Arab countries.

Al-Moqbil also thanked the Arab countries and members of the ALECSO executive council for their re-election of the Kingdom and for renewing their confidence in the results that had been achieved during the past 10 months.

He added that this could only have been achieved through the spirit of teamwork and keenness to develop the organization's activities and constructive participation in adopting decisions and organizing tracks of action to reach the best possible results to contribute to achieving the goals of the organization, and to promote building dialogue and cooperation thus serving the organization’s joint work among the countries.

Al-Moqbil said: “Saudi Arabia, in its presidency of the executive council, worked to oversee the interests of the countries by listening to their proposals, observations, and visions to ensure that they are reflected on the ground and implemented in stages. The countries will work with greater effort and higher interest in taking care of the organization's interests."


New Saudi academy to train nationals in military sector

New Saudi academy to train nationals in military sector. (SPA)
New Saudi academy to train nationals in military sector. (SPA)
Updated 23 May 2022

New Saudi academy to train nationals in military sector

New Saudi academy to train nationals in military sector. (SPA)
  • Al-Ohali said the authority was committed to supporting national personnel and that the Kingdom’s military industries sector had witnessed qualitative leaps during the past five years

RIYADH: Saudi nationals are to be trained to work in the military and defense industries sector following an announcement from the General Authority for Military Industries to establish a new academy.

GAMI Gov. Ahmed Al-Ohali said it was an extension of the military industry sector’s strategy that was approved by the Cabinet in April last year.

The National Academy of Military Industries would be the largest supporter of the sector’s strategy of backing the country’s human resources, he added.

The launch ceremony was held at the academy’s headquarters in Riyadh and attended by more than 35 local and international companies and government institutions. The academy's board of directors was formed at the event and the establishment license was handed over to the academy's chairman Walid Abu Khalid and other founding partners.

Al-Ohali said the authority was committed to supporting national personnel and that the Kingdom's military industries sector had witnessed qualitative leaps during the past five years.

He praised the special care, interest, and support that the military and defense industries sector received from the government of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to embody the ambitious vision toward enhancing the strategic independence of Saudi Arabia and building a local and sustainable military industries sector.

The Saudi Arabian Military Industries CEO and academy chairman Abu Khalid said the new institution was considered a strategic tool to ensure the success of the supply chain project in the military industries sector through developing and refining people's knowledge and capabilities in specialist technological, engineering, and scientific fields and specialists concerned with the military, defense, and security industries.

He stressed that developing, rehabilitating, and enabling national personnel, creating innovative and new industries and technologies, enhancing the strategic independence of Saudi Arabia, and seeking to localize this promising sector were all considered strategic goals that supported realizing the sector’s targets of localizing more than 50 percent of military expenditure by 2030.


Saudi minister hails KSA’s work in field of education 

Saudi minister hails KSA’s work in field of education. (SPA)
Saudi minister hails KSA’s work in field of education. (SPA)
Updated 22 May 2022

Saudi minister hails KSA’s work in field of education 

Saudi minister hails KSA’s work in field of education. (SPA)
  • Speaking at the conference Al-Sudairi praised ALECSO’s remarkable achievements in joint cooperation with member states, as well as the Kingdom’s adoption of many constructive programs

TUNIS: Saudi Deputy Minister of Education for Universities, Research and Innovation Mohammed Al-Sudairi headed the Kingdom’s delegation to the 26th session of the general conference of the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization and the meeting of its executive council at its 117th session in Tunis.

Speaking at the conference Al-Sudairi praised ALECSO’s remarkable achievements in joint cooperation with member states, as well as the Kingdom’s adoption of many constructive programs and initiatives with regional and international organizations that serve its Vision 2030.

He also hailed the Kingdom’s achievements in the field of education, culture, science and intelligence, most notably its first position in the Arab world in patents, with the registration of 1,871 international patents, and its second place in terms of quality of education for 2021.

Al-Sudairi also talked about 22 awards it had won in the International Science and Engineering Fair 2022, as well as the award for the best researcher and project scientist at a global level, noting that the Kingdom supports national, regional and international visions to develop innovative cultural policies.

He said that the Kingdom launched an interactive laboratory for cultural policies, as well as a cultural scholarship program and development fund to enable young people to join the creative field.

The deputy minister said that the Kingdom gave $30 million to the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas, in addition to launching an environment hackathon to support the objectives of the “Saudi Green Initiative” and to enhance the Kingdom’s digital role globally through a set of studies related to artificial intelligence.