Al-Murabba welcomes visitors with music, food and more for Riyadh Season – Arab News

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RIYADH: Al-Murabba, one of Riyadh Season’s 14 zones, is welcoming visitors this week as part of the city’s festivities.
Visitors are offered a taste of authentic Saudi hospitality as they are greeted with Arabic coffee, incense, and music at the main entrance.
The zone offers a luxurious experience, reflecting the great diversity of culinary cultures around the world with a range of famous international eateries — Italian, Japanese, Argentinian, French and others. Reservation can be made through The Chefz application.
In addition to gastronomic experiences, visitors can enjoy a host of musical and artistic performances.
Musician Re’aab Bukhari told Arab News that he plays Saudi music for famous local singers at the zone.
“I’m here with my crew to participate for Riyadh Season in Al-Murabba zone. I came to the first Riyadh Season a couple of years ago, and the level of organization I’ve witnessed is beyond professional,” he said.
Other areas in the zone boast sweet shops — like that of Pierre Hermé, famous French pastry chef — light-strewn night gardens, concept stores, art shops and traditional clothing stores featuring the work of local designers.
Visitors eager to taste Japanese cuisine can book at restaurant Bar Masa, featuring authentic creations by Chef Masa Takayama, known for his three-star Michelin restaurant in Manhattan, New York City.
Charming Parisian-style restaurant Oplaisir welcomes its diners with music and a menu rich with unique dishes. The Petit Trois, another famous, award-winning French restaurant, is also available in Al-Murabba.
Dareen Rajeh, a senior specialist at Takamol Holding who came to Al-Murabba for the festivities, shared with Arab News her feelings on Riyadh Season.
“Part of me can’t believe it, and the other part is grateful because we never expected to return to normal so quickly, especially as everything we used to read would say that life will never go back to normal. But, in a record time, we are back,” she said.
Having experienced Riyadh Season in the past, Rajeh was excited to relive the festival again.
“I’m also excited to visit Winter Wonderland this year, as the winter is almost near. I definitely want to experience the Crystal Maze as well,” she added.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s support package of $4.2 billion for Pakistan’s economy is an affirmation of the close relations between the two countries, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Bilal Akbar said on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia pledged the assistance to Pakistan as the Saudi Fund for Development on Wednesday announced the issuance of the royal directive to deposit $3 billion into the State Bank of Pakistan to help the Pakistani government to support its foreign currency reserves and assist it in facing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, the royal directive was issued to finance the oil derivatives trade with a total amount of $1.2 billion during the year.
The SFD said that these royal directives confirm Saudi Arabia’s continued support for the economy of Pakistan.
Commenting on the economic support package, the Pakistan ambassador told Arab News: “Pakistan-Saudi Arabia relations are very special and are now 75 years old. The relationship is historic, strategic and fraternal, based on common religion and excellent people to people relations.”
“The Kingdom has always stood with Pakistan and this recent assistance is an affirmation of the same. We look forward to continuing our close cooperation and mutual support in all times to come,” said Akbar.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan $3 billion in foreign currency support and further loans worth up to $3 billion in deferred payments for oil imports.
The Saudi aid comes after Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Riyadh for the Middle East Green Initiative, the climate change conference headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on Monday.
The prime minister, who met the crown prince on the sidelines of the summit, has also thanked the Kingdom for the support package.
“Saudi Arabia has always been there for Pakistan in our difficult times, including now when the world confronts rising commodity prices,” Khan said in a tweet.
Pakistan’s currency market bounced back on Wednesday to gain 1 rupee against the US dollar in intra-day trading after Saudi Arabia announced its support package.
The rupee closed the previous session at 175.60 against the dollar. It has depreciated around 13.6 percent since May.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia gave Pakistan $3 billion in foreign currency support and further loans worth up to $3 billion in deferred payments for oil imports.
RIYADH: Zombies dancing, clowns performing, fireworks lighting the city sky — this is how visitors were welcomed to Winter Wonderland, part of Riyadh Season’s 14 zones.
Some families even skipped school and work to make sure they were the first to enter the zone.
Mustafa Usman, a logistics operation manager from Uzbekistan, told Arab News how he had loved Winter Wonderland during the last season and could not wait for it to open again this season.
“The reason why I came on the first day of Winter Wonderland is that last season I visited the zone twice, and this time I wanted my kids to enjoy the experience; they were excited. That is why I got an excuse from my job to be here,” Usman said.
Usman said that he has visited almost all the zones and events during the first ten days since the launch of Riyadh Season. “I went to almost all events, the grand opening for Riyadh Season . . . the WWE Crown Jewel show… I went to Combat Field… and today here at Winter Wonderland… and on Friday I’m going to the (Egyptian) Orchestra in (Riyadh) Boulevard, at Muhammed Abdu’s arena . . . I am excited to go to (Riyadh) Safari once the weather gets better.”
Winter Wonderland opened its doors yesterday with a sense of huge anticipation from a large audience of game-lovers. The zone consists of six primary areas including, for the first time, the children’s corner. The corner is dedicated to the nursery and care of children from one year to 7 years old and is equipped with games for toddlers.
Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the board of the General Entertainment Authority, revealed earlier in a tweet that more than 60,000 entry tickets were sold during the first minutes of the ticket portal opening. This confirms visitors’ enthusiasm, especially after the zone’s area capacity increased 40 percent from last season.
The zone includes more than 103 games that meet all age groups’ tastes — from adults to children — and with cosy snowy scenes and lights where people can enjoy hot drinks and different types of foods. Visitors can also try out the snow maze and skating rink.
The winter atmosphere attracts visitors from all over the world to enjoy experiences that bring back memories of their childhood, with decorations that mix reality with dreams.
Many visitors from GCC countries such as Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait have come to visit the zones of Riyadh Season.
Eisa Adnan, a civil engineer visiting from Kuwait, told Arab News that he would stay for two weeks in Riyadh to attend most of the events during the season. “We want to go to Al-Murabba zone, and I heard that there is a play coming up for Mohammed Hunaidi, a very famous actor; we would love to see that play,” he said.
“I thank all the girls and boys who are organizing and preparing these amazing events. I never came to the previous seasons; this is my first season to attend, and it is luxurious.”
The zone opens its doors to visitors from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m. daily throughout the season, and entry tickets can be booked online through Riyadh Season’s website or application.
Abdullah M. Al-Omran has been director of the distance learning center at the Institute of Public Administration since January 2017.
Al-Omran has wide experience of creating strategic IT plans, IT project management and IT consultation, as well as e-transformation, e-government and business intelligence solutions.
He was previously the institute’s director general of information technology from September 2014 to January 2017. Before that he served as the director of the applications and systems development department at the institute’s computer center for three years, having previously led its user-support department. He has also been a lecturer at the division of information technology since 2006.
Al-Omran has worked on several projects within the Institute of Public Administration. He has developed many e-services portals and mobile applications, established the institute’s office of project management, and in 2016 he started the implementation of the institution’s disaster recovery site.
He has attended several training programs on management, information security, planning and leadership.
RIYADH: The general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, met the EU special representative for the Middle East Peace Process, Sven Koopmans, in Riyadh on Thursday.
Al-Rabeeah reviewed the humanitarian and relief aid provided by KSrelief to affected people in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and to Palestinian refugees, which will improve their living conditions and reduce their suffering.
During the meeting, they discussed ways of joint cooperation in this regard.
Also on Thursday, Al-Rabeeah met the president of the Islamic University of Madinah, Dr. Mamdouh bin Saud bin Thunayan. During the meeting, they reviewed the humanitarian and relief efforts of KSrelief in 75 countries around the world, including Yemen, through 1,776 projects and programs amounting to more than $5.5 billion covering various sectors in cooperation with 144 local, regional and international partners.
The two sides also discussed issues of common interest related to humanitarian and relief affairs, and ways to cooperate and coordinate in this regard.
Bin Thunayan praised the achievements of KSrelief in its global humanitarian endeavors.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed three new COVID-19 related deaths on Thursday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,788.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 51 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 548,474 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 59 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 14, followed by Jeddah with 11, Makkah recorded three, and Madinah, Dammam, Yanbu and Dhahran recorded two cases each.

The health ministry also announced that 35 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 537,453.
Over 45.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. More than 21.3 million people have been fully vaccinated.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 246million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.99 million.

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