When the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, known as ‘Ithra’ (‘enrichment’ in Arabic), opened in 2017, it became an instant icon; not only because of its jaw-dropping design, which represents a throng of oil-bearing rocks smoothed by desert winds, all wrapped in a 350km-long steel pipe; but also its ambitious vision as Saudi Arabia’s first all-cultural destination. Quite simply, it’s a structure that must be seen to be believed.
Inside, you will find a staggering 85,000m2 of space, housing a museum, theatre, library, cinema, exhibition galleries, ideas lab and knowledge tower. Such is the scale of its halls, and spectacular architecture that it may take you a full day to appreciate Ithra’s wonders. Here’s a sample of the highlights on offer (coffee stop included).