Where to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day for an authentic experience

Where to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day for an authentic experience
Al-Balad also known as Historic Jeddah is one of the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is an ideal spot for families and tourists looking to shop at the Al-Balad Bazaar, held in a special location in the heart of Historic Jeddah. (Supplied)
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Updated 21 February 2024
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Where to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day for an authentic experience

Where to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day for an authentic experience
  • From the historic avenues of Diriyah to the fare of Riyadh’s Najd Villages, visitors can celebrate local heritage
  • Discover Saudi Arabia’s hidden gems, showcasing the history and traditions of the Kingdom’s cities and regions

RIYADH: Every year on Feb. 22, Saudi Arabia celebrates the historical and cultural roots of the Kingdom through Founding Day, commemorating the establishment of the First Saudi State. What better way to celebrate Founding Day than by exploring the hidden gems that showcase the history and traditions of each city.

Bujairi Terrace and At-Turaif in Diriyah

Known as “The Jewel of the Kingdom,” Diriyah, the capital of the First Saudi State, dates back to the mid-ninth century.

Situated in Diriyah, Bujairi Terrace provides exceptional views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif.

Inspired by Najdi architecture to evoke images of the past, Bujairi Terrace in Diriyah is the ideal spot for celebrations, offering visitors a curated Michelin-star gastronomic experience and a variety of interactive activities and events.

Surrounded by mud-brick Najdi architecture, guests are treated to over 20 fine-dining restaurants featuring Saudi and international cuisine.




The prominent citadel of Salwa Palace, made from handmade mud bricks three centuries in the historic At-Turaif district, the first capital of the Saudi dynasty, was illuminated on Dec. 4 with a spectacular light display in celebration of its opening to the public. (Supplied)

Layali Diriyah

Returning for its second year and running until March 10, Layali Diriyah is an open-air heritage farm bridging local and contemporary dining experiences, making it an ideal location for celebrating Founding Day.

Surrounded by palm trees and twinkling lights, Layali Diriyah takes a modern twist on a traditional Najdi farm, transforming it into an entertainment hub featuring live musical performances and poetry shows.

Guests can also enjoy the beauty of the palm trees surrounding the farm while dining and experiencing a range of contemporary art by local and global artists.




Azeema, one of the restaurants at Layali Diriyah, offers traditional Saudi cuisine. (Supplied)

Najd Village, Riyadh

For those craving the authentic Saudi flavor in honor of Founding Day, Najd Village specializes in regional cuisine, with each dish highlighting the heritage of a specific region.

There are two Najd Villages operating in Riyadh: one is situated on Takhassoussi Road, and the other is on Abu Bakr Road. The restaurant serves a family-style menu of traditional dishes like jareesh or kasbah, accompanied by fish, chicken, lamb, and camel meat.

For those with a sweet tooth, the restaurant offers a range of traditional desserts and snacks, including hininy, mrahif, and kleija.




Najd Village specializes in regional cuisine, with each dish highlighting the heritage of a specific region. (Supplied)

 

Ithra, Dhahran

A celebration of history through musical performances, educational exhibitions, and hands-on labs, Ithra, known as the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran, offers a range of festivities to celebrate Founding Day.

The Ithra Museum is home to five galleries, featuring artworks and installations by local and international artists covering Middle Eastern Art, Saudi culture, Islamic art, the natural history of the Arabian Peninsula, and the Archive gallery.

Ithra also offers interactive classes and workshops in the Children’s Museum.

The state-of-the-art building includes a library, theater, cinema, ideas lab, and a variety of restaurants for dining.




The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Also known as Ithra) is a symbol of change and diversity in modern Saudi Arabia.  (Supplied) 

Al-Balad, Jeddah

Al-Balad, also known as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jeddah, is an ideal spot for families and tourists looking to explore the customs of the historical city.

Located in the heart of Historic Jeddah, Al-Balad Bazaar celebrates the traditions and culture of Jeddah by showcasing homemade products, traditional clothing, and handicrafts in over 30 commercial outlets.

The Bazaar is part of significant efforts made by the Historic Jeddah Program to revive Saudi cultural heritage and promote the city’s status as a premier tourist destination.

The year-long Al-Balad Bazaar supports the community by providing them with retail pop-up outlets to showcase their products to visitors.

Another not-to-be-missed event taking place in Jeddah is the “Balad Al-Fann” initiative, launched by the Historic Jeddah Program.

Running until March 9, the initiative includes four art exhibitions, music programs, theatrical performances, and many interactive events for children.




Al-Balad also known as Historic Jeddah is one of the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is an ideal spot for families and tourists looking to shop at the Al-Balad Bazaar, held in a special location in the heart of Historic Jeddah. (Supplied)

Tayebat Museum, Jeddah

Al-Tayebat International City of Science and Knowledge, located in Jeddah’s Al-Faisaliyah district, offers visitors a curated representation of Jeddah’s 2,500-year-old history through detailed walking tours showcasing the city’s architecture, Islamic heritage, and culture.

Highlighting an extraordinary range of exhibits, including museums and houses, Al-Tayebat is billed as a must-see location in Jeddah.

Bringing pre-Islamic and Islamic history to life across 300 rooms in 12 buildings, the museum includes the House of Saudi Arabian Heritage, the House of Islamic Heritage, the House of International Heritage, and the public heritage exhibition.


Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart
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Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday.

During the call, the officials discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.


Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Updated 16 min 55 sec ago
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Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in the Middle East on Sunday with his US counterpart during a phone call.

The call comes after Iran launched a wave of missiles and attack drones against Israel overnight Saturday to Sunday.

Prince Khalid and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also discussed efforts to contain the crisis while upholding international peace and security.

The officials also reviewed their strategic defense partnership and explored ways to further enhance it, the Kingdom’s defense minister said in a post on X. 


Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
Updated 26 min 50 sec ago
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Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
  • Ali Alhammadi has been passionate about visual arts since childhood

JEDDAH: Ali Alhammadi, a Saudi 32-year-old visual artist from Aldawadmi in Riyadh, has carved out a remarkable pathway in the world of art since his professional debut in 2017.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the “Saudi renaissance” in line with Vision 2030, prompting him to embark on a creative expedition to express his perceptions through the canvas.

Alhammadi told Arab News that his art philosophy is about breaking invisible limitations and transcending comfort zones, drawing inspiration from the evergreen landscapes he encountered during camping trips with his father in the Riyadh desert.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

“During every spring season, me and my father used to go camping in the outskirts of Riyadh, when the desert turns green for a couple of months, where all the magical inspiration happens.”

Through his landscapes and abstract pieces, Alhammadi delves into his feelings, insecurities and aspirations, painting a narrative that speaks volumes.

“I use my art to express both happiness and sadness, and sometimes I start a painting with an idea in mind, but then I end up with a new one,” he said.

Ali Alhammadi, Saudi artist

One of Alhammadi’s pioneering techniques, “Invisible Limitations,” challenges traditional conceptions and societal norms, symbolizing the potential within, and beyond self-imposed boundaries. He said that his work reflects a realization that limitations are merely illusions.

“Our comfort zone sometimes restricts our ability to be inspired and inspire others. That’s why I decided to paint the Invisible Limitations theme.

“As I matured, I realized that most of these limitations don’t exist ... our limitation is the sky.”

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

Alhammadi’s artistic evolution has been influenced by his participation in prestigious exhibitions such as The Stars Exhibition at the German Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the second Riyadh Season Exhibition.

These platforms not only showcased his talent but also provided a catalyst for his creative development, empowering him to delve deeper into his cultural roots while embracing global influences.

Navigating between diverse cultural landscapes, Alhammadi, based between Liverpool and Riyadh, seamlessly fuses vibrant hues and styles, blending Saudi heritage and international artistic trends.

His experiences abroad have expanded his artistic horizons, inspiring him to create artworks that resonate with a global audience while retaining a distinctive Saudi essence. “Now that I have found my theme and art style, I believe that this phase will take me to different phases in my professional art career,” he said.

Looking toward the future, Alhammadi envisions his artwork evolving to explore the intricacies of human and cultural relationships, going deeper into themes that resonate with universal emotions and experiences. “Human and cultural relationships is something I’m keen on expressing through art,” he said.

His participation in international and local events such as the Founding Day in Liverpool and the National Day in London has not only spotlighted his talent but also enriched his artistic narrative with a tapestry of diverse influences.

For aspiring visual artists embarking on their creative odyssey, Alhammadi offers this advice: “Stay true to your vision, embrace your unique style, and let your art tell your story.”

 


Saudi authorities crack down on drug offenders in Jazan

Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
Updated 37 min 18 sec ago
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Saudi authorities crack down on drug offenders in Jazan

Saudi police have arrested individuals carrying prohibited drugs. (SPA)
  • Authorities apprehended a citizen with 71 kg of hashish hidden in a vehicle in Al-Dayer governorate

RIYADH: Saudi authorities recently made several drug-related arrests and confiscations in operations in the Jazan region, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

In the Al-Dayer governorate of Jazan, Border Guards thwarted an attempt to smuggle 175 kg of narcotic qat.

The guards also apprehended three Yemeni nationals attempting to smuggle 60 kg of qat in Jazan.

In another incident, land patrols in the Jazan region arrested a citizen for selling qat plants hidden in his vehicle.

Authorities also apprehended a citizen with 71 kg of hashish hidden in a vehicle in Al-Dayer governorate.

Border Guards patrols in the Al-Arda governorate in the Jazan region intercepted the smuggling of 160 kg of qat.

Preliminary legal procedures have been completed for all the individuals involved and all seized items have been handed to the authorities.

The Saudi government urges anyone with information related to suspected smuggling operations or customs violations to call the confidential hotline 1910, the international number +966114208417, or to email [email protected].

Tips received relating to smuggling and breaches of common customs law are treated with strict confidentiality. Financial rewards are offered for valid tips.

 

 


GCC, Uzbek officials meet ahead of ministerial meeting

GCC head, Jasem Albudaiwi, is pictured with Uzbekistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bakhtiyor Saidov in the capital Tashkent.
GCC head, Jasem Albudaiwi, is pictured with Uzbekistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bakhtiyor Saidov in the capital Tashkent.
Updated 14 April 2024
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GCC, Uzbek officials meet ahead of ministerial meeting

GCC head, Jasem Albudaiwi, is pictured with Uzbekistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bakhtiyor Saidov in the capital Tashkent.
  • Officials discussed preparations for the second ministerial meeting of the Strategic Dialogue between the GCC and Central Asian countries

RIYADH: The secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jasem Albudaiwi, met Uzbekistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bakhtiyor Saidov in the capital Tashkent on Sunday.

During the meeting, they discussed preparations for the second ministerial meeting of the Strategic Dialogue between the GCC and Central Asian countries.

The meeting, scheduled to be held on April 15 in Tashkent, will gather ministers of foreign affairs from the GCC and Central Asian countries.

Albudaiwi said GCC countries attach great importance to their relations with Central Asian nations, stressing that holding the joint ministerial meeting less than a year since their first summit is a testament to these countries’ keenness to advance relations at all levels and in all fields.

According to Albudaiwi, discussions are expected to focus on political coordination and collaboration in investment and economy, mainly digital economy, and green energy security and use.