Taif Home to magnificent historical palaces

THE summer mountain resort of Taif is full of old and historical buildings that are works of art constructed by talented and creative architects many years ago, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported.

April 10, 2015
Taif Home to magnificent historical palaces
Taif Home to magnificent historical palaces
Saudi Gazette report


Saudi Gazette report



THE summer mountain resort of Taif is full of old and historical buildings that are works of art constructed by talented and creative architects many years ago, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported.

The city, a favorite destination for nobles wishing to escape the hot summers, is home to old and beautiful palaces, something that has recently attracted the local municipality’s attention with a view of restoring and preserving these sites as tourist destinations.

“The city is teeming with archeological palaces that are considered tourist attractions due to their unique designs,” said Dr. Muhammad Qari Al-Sayed, secretary-general of “Program of Taif — the Capital of Arabian Resorts.”

“The Saudi Commission of Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) needs to intensify efforts to keep the palaces in good condition and preserve them for tourists,” he added.

Dr. Ayed Al-Zahrani, professor of history and director of the Taif Civilization History Center (TCHC), said Taif is home to breathtaking traditional palaces scattered in different locations in and around the city.

“Among the most important ones are Shobra Historical Palace, which is famous for its Islamic and Roman architecture, and Al-Katib Palace, which has a unique design and tall pillars.

Unfortunately, at some point in the history of Taif, these palaces were neglected and forgotten until the SCTA President Sultan Bin Salman came along.

He has shown keen interest in them and ordered that they be taken care of,” said Al-Zahrani.

The first real investment in preserving these palaces took place when Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman issued directives to set up the Taif Civilization History Center and chose Al-Katib Palace as its headquarters.

Historian Issa Alawi Al-Qaseer said Al-Katib Palace combines Ottoman and Roman architecture. “Its round pillars were made of stone and lime.

The palace was built by a man named Muhammad Ali Katib and was home to King Faisal Bin Abdulaziz prior to becoming King.

His children also lived here including Prince Abdullah, Prince Muhammad, Prince Saud, Prince Turki, Prince Khalid and Princess Sarah,” he said.

The city is also home to the Shobra Palace, which was built in 1905 and home to King Abdulaziz and his sons, said Al-Qaseer.

“Prince Nawaf and Prince Talal were both born here. King Faisal received several heads of state at this palace.

Today, it is a museum and open to the public,” he said. Another one of Taif’s beautiful palaces is the Al-Sayrafi Palace, a two-floor building with mesmerizing Ottoman decorations.

It was inhabited by the Al-Sayrafi family for many years and is located in Taif’s Al-Salamah district.

The Al-Dahlawi Palace situated on Al-Tarmithi Street is another beautiful Taif palace and was home to Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal and the late King Fahd during the summer.

Taif is also home to several traditional markets in the downtown area such as Khan Al-Mufti, Khan Al-Alqari and Khan Al-Moltani.

These markets are some of the city’s most famous markets. “The SCTA and Taif Municipality are looking for the owners of some of these palaces in order to restore and renovate them as important archeological sites.

Some of the palaces will be used as traditional hotels and some as museums,” said Al-Qaseer. Abdullah Al-Siwat, SCTA’s Taif branch director, said some of the archeological palaces on the list of tourist attractions would be opened to tourists and visitors.

“These other sites will be included in the list once they have been renovated and preserved,” he said.

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