RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s historic Shubra Palace in Taif governorate features an artistic fusion of Roman and Islamic architectural elements.
The palace blends the styles with the traditional architecture of the Hijaz region. It was built in 1905, with four floors and about 150 rooms. Its architecture bears witness to recent eras of the region’s history.
What distinguishes the palace is the precision in its construction and the rawashin, a term originally derived from the Persian word for balcony, that includes impressive artistic touches. Along with the rawashin, its columns, doors and windows are decorated with Islamic motifs.
The windows and doors of the palace are made of carved wood, and the ceilings are embroidered with decorative patterns and inscriptions. The roof’s wall features predominant Roman decoration, while the first floor is for reception and the upper floors are for living.
Shubra Palace is surrounded by trees on one of the main streets. It has two entrances; the main entrance is located on the west side and the other on the east side. It has four similar facades with columns made of lime mortar and stone.
In the main hall of the palace, there is a large double wooden staircase with an exquisite marble floor, known as the “salmlik.” The staircase extends to the second floor, which has two wings that include large and small rooms. The walls of the inner rooms, columns, and corners have colorful decoration in the form of leaves, the edges of which are painted in gold.
Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, used the historic Shubra Palace as his headquarters in Taif, and this continued during the reign of King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud made it the seat of the presidency of the Council of Ministers when the government moved to Taif in the summer.
The palace later became the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense and Aviation. In the year 1986, the palace was converted into a museum.