RIYADH: The Riyadh Toy Festival kicked off this week offering a wide range of entertainment and educational programs for children of all ages, including on science, health and medicine.
Located near Boulevard Riyadh City, the 10-day event features live entertainment with popular characters from “Transformers,” “My Little Pony,” “Sonic” and “Barbie.” There are 35 areas showcasing famous international toy brands.
The festival includes several sub-zones such as “Downtown” for girls, “Countryside” for preschool kids, “Adrenaline Valley” with virtual reality activities, and the “Hasbro Gaming” area, which features life-sized games for families.
In the “Barbie” areas, children can have fun learning about different professions in an engaging environment.
Sara Nasser, mother of 5-year-old Mohammed, told Arab News it was important for children to acquire knowledge in a relaxed environment.
“I am a nurse and my husband is a radiologist, and we encourage our son to constantly ask questions about science and the human body,” said Nasser. She said Mohammed immediately gravitated toward the doctors’ station in the “Barbie” area.
Dr. Aya (who asked for only her first name to be used), an infectious diseases medical practitioner responsible for the doctors’ station, takes the children on a detailed journey through the human body.
“There are five stations that I have prepared to enlighten kids on the different types of doctors and have them engage with through physical application and virtual reality to keep up with the digital age,” she said.
The first station is about the digestive system, where kids are allowed to see step-by-step how food is processed in the body.
“One of the aspects I focused on engaging these kids with is where and how fat is digested in the system. And I was surprised by one (question) a kid asked because it showed me that he was making associations between what he was learning here and the real world.”
She said the child immediately told her that junk food was bad because it was digested much later in the intestines than healthier food.
The other stations focused on cardiology, ophthalmology, neurology, surgery and stitching, as well as first aid and CPR to prepare the children for emergency situations.
The festival runs until Jan. 1 and doors open from 4 p.m. to 12 midnight weekdays, and until 1 a.m. on weekends.
RIYADH: The ministerial committee assigned by the extraordinary joint Islamic-Arab summit held an official meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday.
The joint Islamic-Arab summit was held in Riyadh on Nov. 11, and members of the committee who participated in Tuesday’s meeting included the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, and Indonesia, and the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Lavrov praised the efforts made by the committee toward achieving a long-standing ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
He said Russia supported efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire in accordance with resolutions issued by the United Nations, the Cairo peace summit, and the extraordinary joint Islamic-Arab summit in Riyadh.
The minister expressed his country’s condemnation of the collective punishment meted out against civilians in the Gaza Strip and said it was a blatant violation of international humanitarian law.
He highlighted the importance of moving toward stopping all violations of international laws and introducing more humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip to avoid an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.
The minister said Russia supported the launching of a comprehensive peace process in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and the 2002 Arab Initiative with the aim of achieving the two-state solution.
The members of the committee said United Nations Security Council members and the international community should take effective and urgent measures to achieve an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, stressing that this is a priority for all Arab and Muslim countries.
The committee pointed out the importance of lifting the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip immediately, releasing prisoners and hostages, and reactivating a serious and just peace process that enjoys the support of legitimate international authorities.
The members of the committee called on the international community to fulfil its responsibility by not turning a blind eye to Israeli crimes against unarmed Palestinian civilians, and Israeli violations in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.
The committee pointed out that continued Israeli violations of international law and non-compliance with international legitimacy resolutions weaken the legitimacy of the international system, the credibility of its defenders, and its ability to maintain peace, security, and regional stability in the future while fuelling extremism and violence.
It also stressed the importance of allowing the delivery of humanitarian aid, food, water, fuel, and electricity to Gaza immediately, and said this is a moral and legal responsibility of the entire international community.
The committee said depriving the people of Gaza of the basic requirements of life is a clear violation of international humanitarian law and goes against human values and principles.
RIYADH: As the seasons change and parts of Saudi Arabia experience colder months, it is time to refresh and renew your living space with plants that are perfect for the season.
Winter in Riyadh is often warmer than in other regions of the world where snowy days are common and freezing conditions likely. As a result, opting to set up indoor gardens and plants as the weather cools off is ideal for bringing nature’s touch into the home.
One popular type of flower among local gardeners is the desert rose, known also as adenium obesum. With its striking flowers and ability to endure high temperatures and low humidity, the desert rose has become a symbol of resilience in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, the flower’s vibrant blossoms provide a refreshing contrast to most gardens and living spaces.
Plants have a major role aesthetically and psychologically. I find their presence very important with the correct selection and distribution.
Shahad Al-Saeed, Saudi interior designer
Fragrant Arabian jasmine, or jasminum sambac, is another choice for indoor gardens. Infusing homes with its amazing scent, this plant grows perfectly in relatively warm environments and requires only moderate watering, making it an ideal addition to the house and an option for people seeking aromatic smells in the garden during winter family gatherings.
Shahad Al-Saeed, a Saudi interior designer and owner of Layers Design, an exterior and interior design company in Riyadh, told Arab News that indoor plants are an integral part of any space. To Al-Saeed, they bring life to the room because they link silent objects such as walls with nature. “Plants have a major role aesthetically and psychologically,” she said. “I find their presence very important with the correct selection and distribution.
“One type that I prefer to use in my projects is the epipremnum aureum (devil’s ivy), which is considered one of the most beautiful indoor plants, especially since it can withstand our atmosphere, and its leaves hang down beautifully.”
Another plant she recommended is called philodendron scandens-araceae, or heartleaf philodendron. This kind of plant is native to the Antilles, a group of islands in the Caribbean. It is an indoor hanging plant that can be placed on supportive structures to give it the appearance of a climbing plant.
In addition, this kind of home plant has also a variety of sister plants that differ in the overall structure of the plant, the size and color of its leaves such as the type known as the philodendron scandens Brasil, which is distinguished by the distinctive colors of its leaves.
Furthermore, what is unique about the philodendron scandens Brasil, or sweetheart plant, is its leaves. The plant has green, heart-shaped leaves, with lime-green coloration splattered throughout it. The plant gets its name due to its likeness in colors to the Brazilian flag.
Along with the previously mentioned types, Al-Saeed also suggested indoor plants such as the bamboo, the sansevieria trifasciata or snake plant, and the dracaena.
MAKKAH: A district adjacent to Makkah’s famous landmark Jabal Al-Noor mountain is offering fun-packed activities during school holidays.
Making the most of the pleasant weather following recent rainfall in the holy city, visitors are flocking to various attractions at Hira Nights, hosted by Hira Cultural District.
Bustling with excitement, the place boasts restaurants, cafes and shops, where visitors can purchase souvenirs that embody the essence of the area, all while enjoying a stunning view of Mount Hira.
The revised visiting hours are from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. throughout this week.
The district, spanning 67,000 square meters, has something to offer for everyone and aims to offer a distinctive experience that celebrates the cultural and historical legacy of the region.
The primary objective of the Hira Cultural District is to enhance the religious and cultural journey of Umrah pilgrims in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.
Serving as both a tourist attraction and a cultural landmark, the district provides a welcoming environment for residents and visitors to Makkah alike.
Fawaz Al-Mehrij, CEO of Samaya Investment Co., the developer and operator of the Hira Cultural District, told Arab News that the district is keen to build bridges with Umrah pilgrims, visitors, and all segments of society.
Al-Mehrij said the district recently collaborated with the Heritage Commission, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, to organize a special event for artisans.
This event featured activities for children and families, exhibitions, a classic car show and more.
Ibrahim Obaidan, a supervisor of student activities at a high school in Makkah and a coordinator for educational trips, said the Hira Cultural District has evolved into a destination for knowledge and exploration, where young people can learn about Islamic history, among other things.
“Students gain valuable knowledge from various activities that showcase the beauty of cultural and human heritage, ultimately expanding their awareness and fostering a connection to the rich history of this remarkable nation,” he said.
According to Nawaf Al-Harbi, a gemstone craftsman, Hira Cultural District successfully brought together artisans from different backgrounds, visitors, and pilgrims.
“Craftsmen showcased their work and connected visitors with Makkah’s heritage,” he said.
“The district provided ample facilities for craftsmen to display their products, which were highly appreciated by all.”
Umrah pilgrims, Al-Harbi added, were impressed by the beauty of the work on display, making the Hira Cultural District a must-visit cultural festival for all those interested in artisanal products.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is gearing up to host Comic Con Arabia 2023 on Nov. 30 at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Events.
The event will bring together cosplayers and fans of films, anime and comics from around the world.
A star-studded lineup of actors, singers, authors and illustrators will feature at the event, including Stephen Amell, Rachel Litfin, FEMM, Shaun Barrowes, Chad Hardwin and Dolya Gavanski.
The Cosplay Showdown competition will let visitors show off their creativity by dressing up as beloved film, TV and comic book characters.
Panels and workshops led by industry experts will also be held, and exclusive collectible and artwork collections will be showcased in the Artist Alley. Comic Con Arabia will also host games, a selfie museum, an escape room and food trucks.
RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Saud Al-Sati on Tuesday received the Russian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sergey Kozlov.
And on Monday, Al-Sati also met the Turkish envoy to the Kingdom, Fatih Ulusoy, in Riyadh, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a post on X.
Discussions during both meetings included relations between the respective countries and reviews of regional and international issues of mutual concern.
Edutainment for kids, adults at Riyadh Toy Festival – Arab News