Riyadh weapons galore leaves visitors wanting more

The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
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Updated 10 November 2021

Riyadh weapons galore leaves visitors wanting more

The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states. (AN Photo/Zaid Khashogji)
  • One of the shields on display was last worn by King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the first son of King Abdulaziz to become King of Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Museum of Weapons, a major participant in the Riyadh Season, is taking visitors through the arms that were used to defend the first, second and third Saudi states.

From old wick rifles that were manually filled with gunpowder to swords made in Damascus, Persia, Yemen and India, these vintage tools all arrived in the Arabian Peninsula to be used in its wars. 

Located in Riyadh’s Janadriyah Cultural and Heritage Festival venue, the museum is hosting popular exhibits, including one titled “Baroud,” meaning gunpowder, where a cave gallery is displaying some of the first explosive weapons used to win battles in all three Saudi states.

The weapons on display were also used in Arabian battles fought in the Levant, Egypt and during the First and Second World Wars. 

Mohammaed Al-Kamaan, who founded the weapons museum in 1997, shared with Arab News why he decided to participate in this year’s Combat Field’s gun exhibition, one of the 14 zones in Riyadh Season 2021.

“Our message here at the museum is one that is national, cultural and historical in nature. We want to show people our history; in the guns, weapons and tools we used, the armor the knights wore in battle and the swords wielded by the founders of the first and second Saudi states’ and the founder of modern-day Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz.” 

As visitors stopped to take in the vast collection of original guns on display, Al-Kamaan took the time to explain their historical significance. As he gave his explanations, his joy in guiding the visitors was clear.

“Truly everyone who enters the museum is astounded,” he said. “From local Saudis to residents and visitors from abroad, they really appreciate the historical importance of these artifacts that led to the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

He added: “My father was a companion of King Faisal, God rest their souls, and he inherited 18th, 19th and 20th century weapons passed down through generations. So when my father passed away, I inherited them and spent the last 30 years of my life collecting and recording their historical significance.”

Powerful figures like Saud bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Saud and Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman — as he was known before unifying modern-day Saudi Arabia — were among those who used such weapons in battle.

“Many of the wick rifles and modern flintlocks used to unify the Kingdom were manufactured in these lands by local gunsmiths,” Al-Kamaan said, adding: “And this started as early as the first Saudi state in 1744, also known as the Emirate of Diriyah.”

These local gunsmiths were found all over the Arabian desert.

Places like Al-Ahsa, east of the Kingdom, and Najran to the south, Hijaz to the west and Hail in the north were “the most well-known places for manufacturing weapons and firearms during the three Saudi states.”

Although guns were available, King Abdulaziz preferred close-quarter combat using swords, according to the weapons collector. 

“The swords sourced from Damascus were slightly altered to fit our style of battle,” he said. “King Abdulaziz always picked the sword as his weapon of choice in battle.”

The founder of Saudi Arabia loved swords so much that he would name them, with some favourites being “Yaqoot,” meaning ruby, “Sweileh,” and “Raqban,” said Al-Kamaan.

“The ‘Shalfa’ you see here is different from the regular spear. While the spear comes as one piece, the Shalfa has three components to it: The head, body and ‘jub’ where the blade enters.” 

All of these tools and weapons were used at the same time.

One of the shields on display was last worn by King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the first son of King Abdulaziz to become King of Saudi Arabia. It protected him in battle from many of the weapons gathered in the gallery, such as the Shalfa and various foreign swords. 

“This is not our first time hosting a gallery of this kind, but we normally operate with the Kingdom’s cultural institutions. Soon we plan to open our own physical museum,” Al-Kamaan said.

Other than the museum, the Combat Field zone is also hosting stores selling air guns, gas guns with licenses from the interior ministry, and other gear that complement hunting in Saudi Arabia.

Operating from Oct. 23 until March 16, 2022, the minimum entry age for this zone is 12, with entry tickets costing 55 riyals ($14.66) on weekdays and 110 riyals on weekends.

Other attractions at the mega military expo include battle games, paintball, laser tag, and a tech zone with robot battles and virtual reality fights.


Group of 185 pilgrims arrives in Jeddah under Saudi king’s guest program

Group of 185 pilgrims arrives in Jeddah under Saudi king’s guest program
Updated 13 min 29 sec ago

Group of 185 pilgrims arrives in Jeddah under Saudi king’s guest program

Group of 185 pilgrims arrives in Jeddah under Saudi king’s guest program
  • The king’s generous gesture comes in line with the Kingdom’s permanent efforts to serve pilgrims, build positive relations with other countries

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on Tuesday received 185 pilgrims at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport as part of the guest program of King Salman.

This year’s program enables representatives from the the 41 countries working in the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, along with relatives of martyrs and people injured in terrorist attacks, to perform their Hajj rituals.

The ministry is taking care of the guests to ensure that they will be provided with all the services they need throughout their Hajj journey.

Services include accommodation, transportation, meals and any other services they may need while performing their rituals.

The guest program also provides other services to the pilgrims, most notably securing travel tickets, obtaining visas, providing medical care, as well as providing round the clock buses from accommodation to the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The king’s generous gesture comes in line with the Kingdom’s permanent efforts to serve pilgrims, build positive relations with other countries and open wider horizons for strengthening ties in the Muslim world.


Palestinians share their joy over performing Hajj

Palestinians share their joy over performing Hajj
Updated 21 sec ago

Palestinians share their joy over performing Hajj

Palestinians share their joy over performing Hajj
  • Twenty qualified companies are operating in the West Bank to transport pilgrims

RAMALLAH: Walid Ghuneim, 59, from Bethlehem on the West Bank, was overwhelmed with joy when a lottery system chose him and his wife to perform Hajj four years ago.

However, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the suspension of his Hajj performance, and he kept waiting until his name was chosen this year among 1,900 citizens of the West Bank.

Ghuneim, a building materials trader, did not sleep the night of his journey to Hajj, as his six sons, daughters, and their sons came to bid him farewell, with his brothers, sisters, relatives and friends also seeing him off.

In the early hours of the dawn, he and his wife were the first to arrive at the meeting point of pilgrims in Bethlehem set by the Hajj company. They took the bus to Jericho Crossing and then crossed the Israeli bridge linking the West Bank and Jordan on its way with 52 other passengers to Madinah, the first stop of the three-week pilgrimage.

“I did not sleep last night, and I am delighted and eager to see and visit the Prophet’s Mosque and the Holy Mosque in Makkah and perform Hajj with my wife,” Ghuneim, who is visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time in his life, told Arab News.

“All my bus colleagues and I are pleased with this great journey to perform Hajj,” he added.

Sameh Jbara, director of Palestinian Hajj and Umrah companies, told Arab News that the Saudi authorities had allowed 1,900 pilgrims from the West Bank and 600 from the Gaza Strip to perform the Hajj this year — after a brief hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic — which constitutes 45 percent of the previous allocation for Palestinians before the outbreak.

The costs of Hajj amount to $3,920 (SR14,700) per person, as Palestinian sources told Arab News that there was a slight increase in costs associated with Hajj for this year.

Twenty qualified companies are operating in the West Bank to transport pilgrims. They manage their logistics during the Hajj period, while Palestinian pilgrims spend 21 trips back and forth and performing Hajj, spending the first four days of it in Madinah before heading to Makkah, while Palestinian pilgrims travel by buses from the West Bank via Israel and Jordan, through to Saudi Arabia, on a trip that takes 24 hours to Madinah.

The Palestinian Minister of Awqaf Hatem Al-Bakri told Arab News that his ministry submitted a request to the Saudi authorities to increase Palestine’s quota of pilgrims and received a promise that if there were an increase, it would be a small percentage.

“The arrangements and procedures for this year’s pilgrimage were carried out in full coordination and cooperation between the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and us according to the protocols signed in this regard,” the minister said, adding: “We have taken into account the health protocols required by our brothers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and they are fully compatible with the protocols of the World Health Organization.”

The Hajj mission is accompanied by an administrative, media, health and security delegation of 650 people.

Ibrahim Melhem, the spokesperson of the Palestinian government, told Arab News that the Palestinian government had been in cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Hajj for several months to ensure the necessary arrangements. He said that the Saudi authorities were highly organized and had conducted early planning for hotels, buses transporting pilgrims, and moving between the rites of Hajj.

“The country with the most experience in crowd management is Saudi Arabia,” Melhem told Arab News.

Related


Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes Eid clothes for Syrian refugees in Jordan

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes Eid clothes for Syrian refugees in Jordan
Updated 59 min 40 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes Eid clothes for Syrian refugees in Jordan

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes Eid clothes for Syrian refugees in Jordan
  • The Kingdom’s aid agency has agreed to sponsor Syrian and Jordanian orphans and their families in Irbid for a whole year

RIYADH: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center distributed Eid clothing and the fifth batch of monthly financial aid to Syrian refugees and host communities in Irbid, Jordan, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The financial aid was provided to 56 families, including 40 Syrian families and 16 Jordanian families, totaling 191 beneficiaries, the majority of whom are orphans and widows.

The financial aid aims to support the families in meeting their basic needs and bringing them joy during Eid Al-Adha.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 675,433 Syrian refugees are registered in Jordan, with 136,104 of them residing in Irbid.

Around 80 percent of Jordan’s Syrian refugees fall below the poverty line, and 60 percent of families are in extreme poverty, UNHCR also said.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s economy continues to struggle. According to the World Bank, Jordan’s GDP and employment growth have averaged 2.4 percent per year since 2011, failing to keep pace with its young workforce.

Thus, humanitarian aid from the international community is critical to supporting Jordan and its population.

KSrelief has agreed to sponsor orphans and their families in Irbid for a whole year, SPA reported.

A similar project has also been launched by the center for Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

 


Saudi king receives letter from Bahraini counterpart

Saudi king receives letter from Bahraini counterpart
Updated 06 July 2022

Saudi king receives letter from Bahraini counterpart

Saudi king receives letter from Bahraini counterpart

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday received a written message from his Bahraini counterpart King Hamad, regarding the strong and solid bilateral relations that bind the two countries, and ways to support and enhance them in various fields and on all levels.
The message was received on behalf of Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Waleed Al-Khuraiji, during a meeting with Sheikh Ali bin Abdulrahman, Bahrain’s ambassador to the Kingdom.
During the reception, they discussed relations between the two countries, and ways of enhancing them in various fields.


Arab hip-hop culture takes center stage at BeatRoots in Riyadh

BeatRoots is a creative experience developed by Museland’s founder, Ali Al-Saeed. (Supplied)
BeatRoots is a creative experience developed by Museland’s founder, Ali Al-Saeed. (Supplied)
Updated 06 July 2022

Arab hip-hop culture takes center stage at BeatRoots in Riyadh

BeatRoots is a creative experience developed by Museland’s founder, Ali Al-Saeed. (Supplied)
  • Hip-hop artist and rapper Dattune told Arab News: “We already had a hip-hop culture (in the Kingdom) but we didn’t have enough spaces to either perform or connect with each other

RIYADH: The Saudi hip-hop music scene was in the spotlight at the weekend when local talent took to the stage in Riyadh at BeatRoots, a special music event that took place on Friday at AlMashtal Creative Space, in collaboration with Bahraini record label Museland.

The event, inspired by New York-style block parties, featured live performances by six Saudi and Bahraini artists, plus graffiti artists, b-boy dancing, and a market selling sneakers, street fashion and vinyl records.

AlMashtal, a creative incubator, regularly hosts collaborations with creators of various kinds, including musicians, visual artists and fashion designers. Its goal is to provide a platform to help creative talents to develop their crafts, grow and showcase their work.

“We really like to focus on these local talents, these up-and-coming artists that need a space to express themselves, to have their own audience, a chance to showcase themselves in front of an intimate audience; the right type of audience, the right type of space,” Elham Ghanimah, AlMashtal’s creative labs curator, told Arab News.

The night began with a mellow performance by Bahraini musician and graffiti artist Du$t. His music is inspired by diverse elements such as B-boy dancing, graffiti and surrealist art. He explained that it is important for his craft that he thinks outside of the box when creating his music, and said that he is pleased to see his style of music building a following in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s amazing to see it growing here as well,” he told Arab News. “In Bahrain (we’ve done) the same event there, so to bring it here and to see that everyone is involved brings a nice feeling.”

BeatRoots is a creative experience developed by Museland’s founder, Ali Al-Saeed. It is already a regular event in Bahrain and now the label is expanding to other parts of the region.

“Everyone’s happy; the energy is really good, everything is positive, the crowd is really enjoying it,” Ghanimah said. “I think at the end, that’s really what matters.”

Many people assume the hip-hop scene is relatively new to Saudi Arabia but its origins can be traced back at least as far as the early 2000s, with interest in the genre fueled by the growth of the internet.

“In general, everyone focuses on hip-hop in English … It’s OK to get inspiration from the West but it’s also good to see what you have here, to connect with your own culture, with your roots,” Ghanimah said.

Hip-hop artist and rapper Dattune told Arab News: “We already had a hip-hop culture (in the Kingdom) but we didn’t have enough spaces to either perform or connect with each other. That’s what I love about these kinds of events. I’ve met a lot of people that I wouldn’t have met if we didn’t have these spaces. The talent is already there; all we need is a chance to perform.”

In addition to Dattune and Du$t, the BeatRoots lineup included Fizzy, Septemba, Str8tup Rkls, and hip-hop artist, rapper, and crowd-favorite Albakri, who gave a hardcore yet heartfelt performance that included two as-yet-unreleased songs.

Albakri said his inspiration comes from looking inward, citing his culture and personal identity as huge influences on his work.

“I’m a guy of mixed identity: I’m Jordanian, I’m Palestinian and I’m Saudi. I’m all of these. So it’s just about how I can connect with those three cultures,” he told Arab News.

When it comes to his unique sound, he said his main inspirations come from around Riyadh, in particular his producers Leo, Mufasa and Dice, as well as DJs and friends such as Bucky Grooves, Vinylmode and Baloo. The rapper said he hopes to establish his own record label one day.

“I’m very happy that someone from Bahrain looked into (Riyadh) and was digging for artists … Seeing people open up to the genre, seeing collaborations between the hip-hop genre, the dance/house/minimal genre … and having a space, being a collective — all of that matters to the genre and the music in general,” he said.

AlMashtal’s stated aim with cultural events such as BeatRoots is to open the doors for discussions, cultural and artistic exchanges, and the promotion of creative ventures across the Arab region.

“We wanna do more collaborations just to put everything forward in a positive way,” Ghanimah said.

“Not everyone gets a chance and if people do get a chance, not everyone gets the right chance and the right type of support.

“So, you’re getting to showcase yourself not just at any space but at a creative incubator where the whole goal is to nurture these creatives and help them reach their goals.”