Red Palace pulling crowds to Riyadh

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The palace built by King Abdul Aziz for his son Saud, later King Saud, in the heart of Riyadh in 1945.
The palace built by King Abdul Aziz for his son Saud, later King Saud, in the heart of Riyadh in 1945.

By Isa Al-Shamani

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH —
The historic Red Palace in Riyadh, which has been thrown open to tourists since last week, is attracting a large number of visitors.

King Abdul Aziz, the Kingdom’s founder, built the Red Palace in the Al-Fouta neighborhood of Riyadh by for his son Saud, the then crown prince and successor to the throne, to live with his mother.

The palace, which was later turned into a museum, stands tall in full pride and dignity in the heart of Riyadh. It was witness to a number of important political decisions and historic events in the region.

Since it was opened on March 13, a large number of visitors, delegations and diplomats toured the palace from inside, viewed its contest and took memorial photos. The palace will remain open to the public until April 20.

The contents were rich and varied. They showcased historic events in the region, particularly those related to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

The palace has 16 suites, which have all been decorated with art works by Prince Sultan Bin Fahd Bin Nasser Al-Saud.

The rare paintings were a mixture of heritage works and the contemporary art, which were especially made for the reopening ceremony.

There is a box full of pamphlets that were distributed by the International Alliance among Saddam Hussein’s soldiers urging them to surrender. Another box showcased masks used during the second Gulf War.

The exhibits showed how Saddam Hussein used to draft civilians to join his forces and how the allied forces guided Iraqi soldiers who wanted to surrender.

The allied forces asked the Iraqi soldiers to put their guns on their left shoulders, put their hands over their heads and walk slowly toward them.

The Red Palace also witnessed fiery turn of political events including the severance of ties with Britain and France during the Suez crisis in 1956.

The palace was built in 1945 by contractor Mohammed Binladin with the help of a number of Egyptian architects. It was the first concrete and steel structure built in the Kingdom.

Prince Saud lived in the palace until he left to live in the Nassiriah Palaces, which were completed in 1957.

King Saud gave the palace to the government, which made it the headquarters for the meetings of the Council of Ministers during the reigns of King Faisal, King Khalid and King Fahd.

In 1988, the Council of Ministers shifted it headquarters to Al-Yamamah Palace and the Red Palace became the headquarters of the Court of Grievances.

King Saud’s dining table is still kept intact inside the palace with all dishes, cups, spoons and forks.


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