Saudi Arabia’s cultural renaissance embraces metal music

Saudi melodic metal band Immortal Pain recently performed at Comic Con Arabia in Jeddah with a huge crowd of fans cheering and singing along with them. (Yasmeen Kayello)
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Saudi melodic metal band Immortal Pain recently performed at Comic Con Arabia in Jeddah with a huge crowd of fans cheering and singing along with them. (Yasmeen Kayello)
Saudi Arabia’s cultural renaissance embraces metal music
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Saudi melodic metal band Immortal Pain recently performed at Comic Con Arabia in Jeddah with a huge crowd of fans cheering and singing along with them. (Yasmeen Kayello)
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Updated 03 December 2023
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Saudi Arabia’s cultural renaissance embraces metal music

Saudi Arabia’s cultural renaissance embraces metal music
  • Local band Immortal Pain fulfills growing appetite for genre among Saudi music lovers

JEDDAH: Saudi metal band Immortal Pain delivered a loud and lively concert at Comic Con Arabia in Jeddah, with a huge crowd of fans cheering and singing along with them.

Friday night marked the second performance of the band at the convention. They have been in the rock and metal scene since late 2005, starting with two members and later doubling.

In a previous interview with Arab News, rhythm guitarist and vocalist Emad Ashoor said the band started with only him and the lead guitarist Rasheed Attar. Later, drummer Moayad Al-Shammari and bassist Anan Al-Sabban joined the group, and just last year, they signed a contract with Saudi recording company Wall of Sound: Dark Mode.




The local band has been in the rock and metal scene since late 2005, gradually increasing their audience over the years. Instagram/immortal_pain_official. (Supplied)

The Jeddah-based band has been throwing mini-concerts across the Kingdom. They have also released original music and are working on releasing more to their Saudi, Arab, and international audiences.

While they previously spoke to Arab News about their origins, this time the members shared insight into the dynamic of the group and how they work together on making their songs and music videos.

It all begins with inspiration.

“The four of us gather, talk about our latest encounters in life and how we felt,” said the drummer Al-Shammari. “Then we express everything in music. We let our instruments talk for us.”




The four of us gather, talk about our latest encounters in life and how we felt. Then we express everything in music. We let our instruments talk for us. (Supplied)

On the unusual places or moments that can inspire, Al-Shammari said: “One day, I was passing by a construction site, and the sounds of wrecking and drilling inspired me somehow and I made a song based on the noise of the construction site.”

Ashoor, gifted with a poetic sense, takes over the next step of writing the lyrics.

So far, they have been writing lyrics in English, but they all agreed they were open to the challenge of writing in Arabic and were eager to experiment and evolve with their music.

The four of us gather, talk about our latest encounters in life and how we felt. Then we express everything in music. We let our instruments talk for us.

Moayad Al-Shammari, Immortal Pain drummer

Once the lyrics are in place, they decide upon a melody and arrange the song, deciding which riff goes first and which follows. The lyrics are recorded last.

When asked about the difficult times they have encountered throughout their career, the four agreed that starting was tough as metal music was considered a Western genre and was not popular locally. Although they have supportive families, they said it was hard for them to find an audience at the very beginning.

Their audience gradually increased from a few people to several dozen, and by the time they played at Comic Con last year and this year, they had amassed about 1,000 music fans.

“Rock and metal are both on the rise contrary to what Gene Simmons and the likes of KISS might think. They can go ahead and retire if it’s getting too loud,” bassist Al-Sabban joked when asked about the metal scene in the Kingdom.

“But the local and global scenes are growing,” he said, adding that Metallica would be playing in the Kingdom next week. “As we all know, when Saudi Arabia gets involved, it’s going to be bigger and better.”

When MDLBeast announced that Metallica would be performing in Saudi Arabia, fans from across the Middle East and North Africa bought tickets to see the legendary metal band.

Immortal Pain also told Arab News exclusively that after only releasing singles, they are officially going to record their first full album first thing next year. They also revealed that in 2024, they will hit the road on a tour across the MENA region, throwing concerts in the Kingdom, the UAE, and Egypt.

Al-Shammari proudly added that they have also received an invitation to perform in Germany, and while nothing is yet confirmed, they are hoping things will work and they will hold an international concert.

For updates about the band, follow their Instagram @immortal_pain_official.

 


‘Let us celebrate what’s uniquely Saudi. We own this culture,’ DGDA CEO tells Arab News on Founding Day

‘Let us celebrate what’s uniquely Saudi. We own this culture,’ DGDA CEO tells Arab News on Founding Day
Updated 21 February 2024
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‘Let us celebrate what’s uniquely Saudi. We own this culture,’ DGDA CEO tells Arab News on Founding Day

‘Let us celebrate what’s uniquely Saudi. We own this culture,’ DGDA CEO tells Arab News on Founding Day
  • Jerry Inzerillo says Diriyah “is the birthplace of the Kingdom. This is the source of our identity”
  • In four months’ time, Inzerillo marks six-year anniversary of his appointment as DGDA

RIYADH: Diriyah Gate Development Authority Group CEO Jerry Inzerillo is highlighting the Kingdom’s rich historical roots this Founding Day.

“Founding Day for all of us in Diriyah is special. It’s who we are,” Inzerillo told Arab News.

“Let us celebrate what’s uniquely Saudi. We own this culture, there’s a lot of pride in it. There are 238 countries in the world. But this (Diriyah) is the birthplace of the Kingdom. This is the source of our identity. This is the source of our national pride. Let’s rejoice who we are as a people.”

In what he described as a celebration of pride and culture, Inzerillo welcomed people from around the world to come to Diriyah to experience the rich history of the Kingdom’s birthplace.

“Let them come and receive a warm welcome. Let them be festive and joyful, safe and secure and sound with a great quality of life, which is what Diriyah represents and what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and certainly what Vision 2030 represents,” he told Arab News.

FASTFACTS

  • On Feb. 1, 2022, Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers made an announcement declaring Feb. 22 of each year as Founding Day.
  • The day commemorates the foundation of the First Saudi State in 1727 by Imam Mohammed bin Saud.

This is a celebration of national pride linking the historical roots of the First Saudi State nearly 300 years ago to the modern Kingdom today, celebrating history culture and identity through Founding Day, he said.

On Feb. 1, 2022, the Council of Ministers made an announcement declaring Feb. 22 of each year as Founding Day to commemorate the foundation of the First Saudi State in 1727 by Imam Mohammed bin Saud.

A celebration of the Kingdom’s deep historical and cultural roots, Founding Day marks a key moment in Saudi Arabia’s timeline — the day Imam Muhammad bin Saud assumed power in Diriyah, the capital of the First Saudi State.

DGDA’s group CEO Jerry Inzerillo welcomed people from around the world to come to Diriyah to experience the rich history of the Kingdom’s birthplace. (DGDA)

“Founding Day is very special, you know we all love National Day, September 23rd is a great day, everybody is out in the street jubilant and festive as we get ready for 94 years of national pride. But Founding Day is very special because that has to do with the 300-year history of the Kingdom and especially its birthplace, Diriyah,” Inzerillo said.

During his interview with Arab News, Inzerillo reflected on the nearly six years he has been group CEO of DGDA, working closely with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in bringing the vision of Diriyah to fruition.

“When you have the privilege to serve at this time with two great visionaries — the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques — I always praise King Salman, he deserves our love and praise because because if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have At-Turaif, we wouldn’t have the birthplace of the Kingdom celebrated as it is,” Inzerillo said.

“When we think about the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, his love has always been Diriyah. The Kingdom and its people, of course, but in his heart he has always had a special love for Diriyah,” he said.

Inzerillo expressed his pride in seeing the dream of King Salman realized. “To see his (King Salman’s) dream coming out of the ground — to see his royal highness, the crown prince, his vision, a vision of 2030 where people are enjoying themselves … people festive, happy, laughing with their families, joyful in beautiful park settings and around the mud of the UNESCO site.”

Diriyah represents and what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and certainly what Vision 2030 represents. (DGDA)

Inzerillo said that this past Saturday, the At-Turaif World UNESCO Heritage Site had 13,000 visitors and both the Al-Bujairi Terrace sold out, as well as the Diriyah Nights Layali Diriyah.

“This is what quality of life is all about. During the daytime you see people jogging, having picnics with their families, horseback, on bicycles. This is what quality of life is like. So, to see that Diriyah as a community can bring enjoyment to its community first and to the community of Riyadh and to the Kingdom is a source of pride,” he said.

Inzerillo lauded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for what the CEO describes as “a fabulous master plan.” He said: “We have to give him immense credit.”

Inzerillo highlighted what it has been like to work closely with the crown prince, praising his dedication to the Kingdom’s projects and the attentiveness and care he gives people.

“The more I work, with a daily, weekly basis with his royal highness, the more admiration I have for him and I didn’t think that could be more than 10 out of 10, but considering his global leadership, especially during the time of crisis that we have in the Middle East right now, to see his global leadership role into making the region safe and prosperous with a good quality of life from everybody is amazing,” Inzerillo said.

He highlighted the extensive role the crown prince has — detailing that the crown prince is presiding as prime minister over a G20 country while presiding over different master plans in the Kingdom with the aim of “making life better for not only the people in Saudi Arabia but also people in the region and in the world.”

DGDA’s group CEO Jerry Inzerillo says, “Diriyah lives in the heart of every Saudi, it is the source of our national pride, it is the source of our identity as a people.” (DGDA)

He said: “To see how devoted he (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) is and how much time he gives all of us — not just his ministers, which I would suggest to you are probably the finest cabinet ministers in the world now as a collection of ministers — but even all of his CEOs that he is chairman of, he affords them the time, he’s in the details, he cares and he always asks, ‘How about the staff? ‘How is everyone doing, how is the team?’ ‘Send them my best.”

Inzerillo said: “His empathy, his dedication and his time that he gives us is really remarkable for all of his responsibilities.”

Inzerillo became CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority in June 2018, and in four months marks the six-year anniversary of his appointment.

He said that it has been a privilege to serve the Kingdom as DGDA CEO, highlighting his pride to work with what he describes as “super people” — young Saudis and expats from all around the world who he said were helping to achieve the mission of 2030.

“I think back and I think what a privilege it has been,” he said.

“Diriyah has always been special, it lives in the heart of every Saudi, it is the source of our national pride, it is the source of our identity as a people, it’s where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia originated.

“(Diriyah) is not only the birthplace of the Kingdom and of the Arabian Peninsula, but it is the home of Al-Saud, one great family that with vision and perseverance in unity has kept the Kingdom together for over 300 years.”

The CEO outlined what the future holds for the Diriyah Gate Development Authority.

“This year — hotel openings, museums openings, more parks opening, you know, many different types of assets opening. So every year, every December, like we did December 2021, December 2022 to December 2023, and December 2024, we will have assets open, groundbreaking new assets and announcing new assets until it culminates in the fabulous Expo Riyadh 2030.”


How Imam Mohammed achieved tribal unity to create the First Saudi State

How Imam Mohammed achieved tribal unity to create the First Saudi State
Updated 21 February 2024
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How Imam Mohammed achieved tribal unity to create the First Saudi State

How Imam Mohammed achieved tribal unity to create the First Saudi State
  • Saudi Arabia took the first steps on the road to nationhood in 1727 when Imam Mohammed became ruler of Diriyah
  • By the time of his death in 1765, he had laid the foundations for the greatest political entity central Arabia had ever seen

LONDON: The House of Saud took the first steps on the long road to nationhood in 1727, when Imam Mohammed bin Saud succeeded his cousin, Zaid bin Markhan, as ruler of the city state of Diriyah.

It is this pivotal moment, recognized as the date when the First Saudi State came into being, that is celebrated in the Kingdom on Feb. 22 each year as Founding Day.

Imam Mohammed had learned the art of politics at his father’s side. He played a significant role in supporting him throughout his reign and proved his mettle as a leader when Diriyah was attacked in 1721 by the Banu Khalid tribe of Al-Ahsa.

Imam Mohammed led his father’s forces to victory, strengthening Diriyah’s regional standing in the process.

After the death of his father in 1725, Imam Mohammed pledged his support to Markhan of the Watban clan of the tribe Zaid, and after he emerged victorious served him loyally until the prince’s short reign was ended by an assassin the following year.

From the outset, unity was Imam Mohammed’s dream, as the official history published by the Diriyah Gate Development Authority attests.

Contemporary Arab chroniclers recorded that “the people of Diriyah were fully confident in his abilities and (that) his leadership qualities (would) free the region of division and conflict.”

Imam Mohammed was already known for “his many personal characteristics, such as his devotion, goodness, bravery, and ability to influence others,” and the passing of power to him was “a transformative moment, not only in the history of Diriyah, but in the history of Najd and the Arabian Peninsula.”

Already renowned as a man of action, Imam Mohammed would also prove himself to be a wise leader.

Imam Mohammed set about the daunting task of achieving political unity among the tribes, with the ultimate aim of establishing a greater Arabian state. (Sotheby’s)

Imam Mohammed set about the daunting task of achieving political unity among the tribes, beginning with the neighboring towns of Najd, with the ultimate aim of establishing a greater Arabian state.

As the official history published by the Diriyah Gate Development Authority attests, “it wasn’t an easy task,” but by the time of his death in 1765, Imam Mohammed bin Saud had laid the foundations for the greatest political entity central Arabia had ever seen.

From the day of his ascension, “he began planning to change the prevailing status quo of that day and time, laying down a new path in the region’s history toward unity, education, the spread of culture, enhanced communication between members of society, and perpetual security.”

Over the next nine decades, the power and influence of Diriyah grew, as the great task of unity was handed on to Mohammed’s three successors — his son Abdulaziz, who would found the royal district of At-Turaif, Abdulaziz’s son Saud the Great, under whose direction the authority of the First Saudi State reached its peak, extending over most of the Arabian Peninsula and, upon his death in 1814, his son Abdullah, who was known to be great warrior.

But challenging the vast and aggressive Ottoman empire for control of Makkah and Madinah would prove to be Diriyah’s undoing. Imam Abdullah inherited the wrath of Istanbul, which dispatched a vast force to end the threat Diriyah posed to Ottoman authority in Arabia.

It took far longer than the Sultan could have imagined. Fighting a series of fierce battles over several years against impossible odds, the Arabs were slowly driven back from the Red Sea coast to their last stand before the walls of Diriyah.

After a six-month siege, Diriyah fell. Imam Abdullah was taken as a prisoner to Istanbul, where he was executed.

Undeterred, the Second Saudi State sprang up from the rubble of the first, this time in Riyadh — the ancient capital of the Hajer Al-Yamamah region, where it thrived from 1824 to 1891.

This, too, would fall.

But among the members of the family ousted from Riyadh in 1891 by the rival House of Rashid was the 16-year-old son of the last Imam of the Second Saudi State, a young man destined to take the last great step on the path upon which his predecessor Imam Mohammed had embarked generations before.

Above, warriors of Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud on camel back in Nejd, on their way to recapture Riyadh, c. 1910. (Alamy)

The story of how Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud and a small band of warriors recaptured Riyadh in 1902, restoring the House of Saud to its rightful home in the Nejd, is well known to every schoolchild in Saudi Arabia.

But Abdulaziz’s most remarkable achievement — the bringing together of the many tribes of Arabia to make possible the foundation in 1932 of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — would require decades of unwavering dedication to his ancestor’s vision of unity.

Today, familial attachment to one or other of the tribes rooted deep in the history of the Arabian Peninsula remains a source of great pride for many Saudis and their families, and part of the fabric of the country’s diverse but unifying heritage.

This was, however, not always the case, as John Duke Anthony, founding president and chief executive of the Washington-based National Council on US-Arab Relations, noted in 1982.

“For much of Arabian history, most of these tribes existed as independent political entities in microcosm,” he wrote in an essay “Saudi Arabia: From tribal state to nation-state.”

“As such, they were capable of uniting for common action. At the same time, however, they more often than not acted as divisive forces in any larger societal context.

“It was this latter characteristic as much as any other attribute that prompted the late King Abdulaziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, to seek a number of means by which he could integrate the various tribes into the new national political structure of the Kingdom.”

It was, added Anthony, “the religious content of Abdulaziz’s message as he set about knitting Arabia into a single state (that) proved to be his greatest source of strength.

Above, Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud in Kuwait, circa 1910. (Alamy)

“He was able to direct and control a strict adherence to Islamic doctrines and, in this manner, affect a significant modification of the tribal distinctions which formerly had divided the realm.”

In 2022, Hasan Massloom, a member of the Shoura Council of Saudi Arabia, wrote that in the modern Saudi Arabia tribalism complemented rather than contradicted the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 ambitions, which were unveiled to Saudi citizens and the world by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016.

“No discussion of social change is conceivable without acknowledging the tribal background of the society of Saudi Arabia,” Massloom wrote in an op-ed piece for Arab News.

“Tribalism in Arabia has existed for thousands of years, predating Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It was an independent, cohesive system for survival in the desert that provided social status, economic advantage and physical protection for its members.

“People of one tribe shared a common ancestry, a collective dignity and a coalesced reputation. Harsh life in the arid desert decreed a firm and binding moral bond among tribes to defend their progeny and possessions. Tribal history prided itself on social hierarchy, an obligation for vengeance and a deep commitment to territory, pasture and water wells.”

King Abdulaziz, he continued, had “tactfully pivoted the Arabian tribal scene toward his dream of a national kingdom when he persuaded hostile and fighting tribes to cast their conflicts aside and unite under his leadership to build a modern state.”

Indeed, Abdulaziz, the man known to the wider world simply as Ibn Saud, had completed the journey begun by the founding of the First Saudi State by Imam Mohammad in 1727.

On Jan. 27, 2022, Founding Day was established by a Royal Order of King Salman in recognition of this pivotal moment in the nation’s history, and to honor the wisdom of a leader who “provided unity and security in the Arabian Peninsula following centuries of fragmentation, dissension and instability.”


How Saudi artists and calligraphers interpret the significance of Founding Day

How Saudi artists and calligraphers interpret the significance of Founding Day
Updated 21 February 2024
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How Saudi artists and calligraphers interpret the significance of Founding Day

How Saudi artists and calligraphers interpret the significance of Founding Day
  • Vision, hard work and dedication of leaders praised at exhibition to commemorate the founding of the First Saudi State
  • Saudi artists welcome opportunity to reflect on the values and principles that guide the nation and unite its people

RIYADH: In 1727, the foundation stones of the First Saudi State were placed by Imam Mohammed ibn Saud. Centuries later, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom is currently undergoing the most significant cultural renaissance in the modern Arab world.

Founding Day was first officially observed in 2022 and has become a great source of pride for Saudi Arabia’s citizens. With the holiday just around the corner, Saudi Arabia’s creatives took time to acknowledge the importance of commemorating such a momentous day.

For Ghofran Alsaeed, an interior designer and CEO of architect and design studio GWDESIGN, the annual celebration is a time to reflect on Saudi Arabia’s establishment and its significance in history.

“It allows us to honor the sacrifices and contributions of the nation’s founders, celebrate progress and achievements of Saudi Arabia, and reaffirm our commitment to the country’s development and prosperity. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the values and principles that guide the nation and unite its people,” she told Arab News.

Last year, Alsaeed celebrated by participating in community events, and spending time with her family making green rice and dressing in the national color. She plans to continue the tradition this year by attending official ceremonies and cultural events.

INNUMBER

* 1727 Foundation stones of First Saudi State laid by Imam Mohammed ibn Saud.

“As a Saudi, I feel immense pride and gratitude witnessing the growth and prosperity of the Kingdom since its establishment centuries ago. It’s a testament to the vision, hard work, and dedication of our leaders and people,” said Alsaeed.

“However, it also reminds us of our responsibility to continue contributing to the progress of our beloved country,” she added.

The Kingdom has been celebrating its traditions and heritage with events including Handicraft Week and annual date festivals throughout the country. Other events held are the equestrian Saudi Cup and national holidays including Flag Day on March 11 and Saudi National Day on Sept. 23.

Noha A. Raheem, a calligraphy artist and interior designer, believes these annual celebrations play a vital role in reminding citizens of their shared history.

“This fosters a sense of national pride, unity, and belonging, ultimately strengthening social cohesion and solidarity across the country,” she told Arab News.

As a creative, she feels immense pride in seeing the remarkable growth and prosperity achieved over the years on the economic and cultural fronts. This includes the Kingdom’s advancements in design, education, healthcare, infrastructure and technology, to becoming a global player in various industries.

“Commemorating founding day is important as it allows us to acknowledge and appreciate the struggles, sacrifices, and achievements,” she said.

Under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom is currently undergoing the largest cultural renaissance in the modern Arab world. (AN photo)

The founding day has a special place in designer Amar Alamdar’s heart because of his familial contributions in the third Saudi state. He shared that his grandfather, Khalid Mustafa Alamdar, served in King Abdulaziz’s first Saudi Army due to his knowledge on artillery.

“Founding Day is to bring the people together to create a foundation — unite them. Any Arab or Muslim living there at the time became Saudi Arabian,” he said.

His grandfather made sure that all his children, Alamdar’s uncles, also served in the army, carrying on the legacy of their family.

Alamdar said he wants to encourage his peers to create artwork that incorporates Saudi Arabia’s historical roots. “What if they were celebrating this day at the time? What would our elders have done?”

Alamdar plans to put on an art exhibition in honor of the day that started it all, featuring 22 Saudi artists.

Entrepreneur and designer Princess Nourah AlFaisal highlights the efforts of her research-based design consulting firm Adhlal. (AN photo)

“We have an obligation to platform the country’s rich history that dates back to the 18th century. We have a unique opportunity to show our heritage and our unique history that was sometimes even doubted.”

“God bless the times that we are living in now under King Salman and the crown prince in our movement towards technology and adaptation to the future (which) is a phenomenon,” Alamdar said.

“We used to run, then speed up, and now we have to learn to fly. We need this technology to empower ourselves as much as we can,” he added.

In addition, Alamdar advised young people to open up their arms and embrace people of every nation.


Discovering hidden treasures of Diriyah, jewel of Saudi Arabia

Discovering hidden treasures of Diriyah, jewel of Saudi Arabia
Updated 21 February 2024
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Discovering hidden treasures of Diriyah, jewel of Saudi Arabia

Discovering hidden treasures of Diriyah, jewel of Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Rich in historical and cultural significance, Diriyah sparks the imagination and curiosity of travelers and history lovers.

At-Turaif, a historic district in Diriyah, northwest of Riyadh, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Diriyah is of great significance as the birthplace of the first Saudi state.

Filled with stories and legends, Diriyah offers a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved landmarks and architectural wonders.

Egyptian traveler Sara Hamed visited At-Turaif district and Diriyah on a winter night.

She told Arab News: “I learned that Saudi Arabia originated here, and it’s a fantastic site to begin your journey through the nation’s past.

Filled with stories and legends, Diriyah offers a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved landmarks and architectural wonders. (Supplied)

“I was fascinated by the section displaying traditional outerwear because I am interested in fashion, and I really enjoyed the exquisite museum that displayed historical and customary items belonging to well-known figures like Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud.”

Through ongoing revitalization efforts, Diriyah is becoming a cultural and tourism hub showcasing the best of Saudi Arabia’s heritage and innovation.

Eyup Yurtseven, from Turkiye, said: “Diriyah whispers history at every corner. Cobbled streets echo with memories of laughter shared with friends over steaming coffee, nestled within old-style buildings. For me, it’s more than a place; it’s a balm for the soul.

“Whenever stress claws at my days, I escape to Diriyah’s embrace. Palms sway gently, offering shade and whispered secrets to the wind. Oxygen-rich air washes away worry, replaced by the peace of being present.

“I can’t wait to witness the magic unfold, while forever cherishing the haven it already is,” he added.

When Kenda Nabeel, from Jeddah, first visited Diriyah, she was intrigued by the museum’s use of technology and the way it linked the past with the present.

She said: “The entire experience was wonderful and simple. I toured Salwa Palace, a historical site that captures a significant period in the Kingdom’s history by acting as a window looking out onto the first Saudi state’s founding.

The Attire of Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud in Diriyah Museum. (Supplied)

“Everything is very easily accessible, and I enjoy learning about the past. I particularly enjoyed the way information was delivered using unconventional technology, such as videos played on a projector. It was the best thing I could have found in Riyadh, combining elements of both history and the modern era.”

There are several museums in Diriyah, including the Museum of Traditional Architecture, Military Museum, Museum of Treasury (Beit Al-Maal), and the Horse Museum.

The Museum of Traditional Architecture features paintings that chronicle the history of the use of clay in construction, as well as the history of architecture and building in the Najd region, covering all phases of construction and their methods.

The Museum of Treasury showcases different currencies, trade techniques, as well as examples of generosity during the first Saudi state’s history and different kinds of endowments. There are also exhibits about the economic system utilized to run the affairs of Beit Al-Maal.

The stories of battles and defensive actions that took place in Diriyah throughout the first Saudi state’s existence are embodied in the Military Museum. Amid mud buildings, it showcases combat weaponry and related apparatus.

The Ardah troupe’s headquarters, located in Thunayan Bin Saud Palace’s northern square, is also part of the museum.

Some of the mud dwellings from the first Saudi state are now available to rent, allowing visitors to experience the intricacies of Diriyah’s past. The Social Life Museum offers a detailed insight into community life during the era.

The Arabian horse holds significant cultural value in the region, and the museum presents the history of Arabian horses during the first Saudi state, including information on their breeding, origins, and artifacts that belonged to the older knights.

The best time to visit Diriyah is during winter, from October to March, avoiding the summer heat. But it is becoming a year-round tourist destination with a full calendar of events and attractions.


Princess Nourah unveils Asprey collection inspired by Saudi heritage

Princess Nourah unveils Asprey collection inspired by Saudi heritage
Updated 21 February 2024
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Princess Nourah unveils Asprey collection inspired by Saudi heritage

Princess Nourah unveils Asprey collection inspired by Saudi heritage
  • The redesigned Pochette 1781 bags pay homage to Kingdom’s five regions with distinct motifs, colors

RIYADH: An artful new collaboration between Princess Nourah Al-Faisal and luxury brand Asprey brings together Saudi Arabian aesthetics and British sophistication.

The royal designer of Nuun Jewels teamed up with Asprey ahead of Saudi Arabia’s Jewellery Salon 2024 to produce limited-edition versions of the iconic Pochette 1781 by Asprey.

The Pochette 1781, as interpreted by Princess Nourah in five styles representing regions of the Kingdom through traditional embroidery and patterns, is part of the capsule collection that will be on display in Riyadh and Jeddah.

Saudi heritage and diversity is at the heart of the collection. Princess Nourah said: “My goal with this collection was to embody the five main regions of Saudi Arabia, by highlighting the regional difference and diversity of each region and the absolute beauty of our heritage.”

Princess Nourah said that each design reflected the essence of each of the five regions, “highlighting their intertwined colors and the beauty of their decorations and techniques.

“By embracing and celebrating the diversity within our heritage, I aimed to create a visual narrative that instilled a sense of pride and connection between individuals across the Kingdom,” she said.

The traditional clothing, architectural elements and vibrant colors that define each region are beautifully expressed through intricate and one-of-a-kind embroidered designs made with the finest materials and craftsmanship.

The 1781 Pochette capsule collection of Asprey x Nuun Jewels features five colors and patterns. (Supplied)

Princess Nourah, who is also the CEO of Art of Heritage, a socially responsible organization committed to the preservation and conservation of Saudi cultural heritage, said: “To ensure authenticity and accuracy, I extensively used the Art of Heritage archive as a reference, which served as an important source for the patterns used in my designs. Through this collaboration, I also sought to present the cultural richness of Saudi Arabia.

“My goal was to invite people from all over the world to show appreciation and admiration for the complexity, beauty and deep meaning inherent in our cultural fabric.”  

The Art of Heritage is an organization dedicated to protecting Saudi Arabia’s cultural legacy. More than 57,000 distinctive objects, including clothing, jewelry, textiles and photos, are housed in its archive.

The new collection falls within Asprey’s mission of collaborating with global creatives and giving them the freedom to re-present the brand in contemporary ways while providing a platform to celebrate their craft and artistic skills, as well as cultural background.

“I am very excited and honored by this first collaboration with the creative Princess Nourah Al-Faisal. She has reintroduced the iconic Asprey Pochette 1781 bag from the house of Asprey, creating unique and collectible pieces through the application of craftsmanship and designs full of cultural aspects,” said John Rigas, president of Asprey.

The Pochette 1781 bag, part of the distinctive Asprey 1781 collection inspired by the travel bags of the early 20th century, can be carried by hand or around the body using a detachable shoulder strap.

The Asprey x Nuun Jewels collection will be displayed at Jewellery Salon trade shows in Riyadh from Feb. 20-23 and Jeddah from Feb. 27 to March 1.