In the heart of Saudi Arabia, a majestic structure rises as a beacon of culture and enlightenment: the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, affectionately known as Ithra. The term "Ithra" in Arabic serves as a convenient abbreviation for both the center and its initiatives. In Arabic, "Ithra" translates to "enrichment," emphasizing the center's mission to culturally enrich its citizens through its programs.
This architectural masterpiece is a testament to the country's commitment to embracing art, science and culture in a rapidly changing world.
Ithra symbolizes Saudi Arabia's rich heritage and its determination to create a better future. Nestled in Dhahran, the center is a fusion of tradition and modernity, a captivating mix of old and new. The sleek, avant-garde design complements the vast desert landscape that stretches beyond the horizon.
The center has been listed in Time magazine as one of the world's top 100 places to visit.
Inside, the wonders of Ithra are revealed. Visitors are welcomed into a world of innovation and creativity, where art exhibitions, interactive exhibits and engaging performances come together. An extensive library houses a wealth of knowledge, while state-of-the-art auditoriums host symphonies, plays and lectures that capture the imagination.
You can't explore Ithra without being transported to the heart of Saudi culture. From traditional music to captivating dance performances, every corner of the center resonates with the kingdom's rich heritage. Culinary delights from around the world are presented in the various restaurants, testifying to the country's embrace of global diversity.
But perhaps what really sets Ithra apart is its commitment to education. The center's programs empower Saudi youth and encourage them to dream, create and innovate. It acts as a bridge between tradition and the future, nurturing talents and promoting intellectual growth.
As the sun sets over the Arabian desert, Ithra stands as a beacon of hope and enlightenment, a testament to the enduring power of culture and vision of a nation eager to embrace the world. The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Ithra, has become a symbol of Saudi Arabia's cultural renaissance, where tradition and modernity coexist harmoniously, inviting everyone to discover the true soul of the kingdom.
Photos by Edwin Voûte