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MENAFN - Arab News - 08/01/2014
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(MENAFN - Arab News) Al-Masmak fort and museum in Riyadh has become the focal point of the visiting heads of states' trip to the Saudi capital

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who wrapped up his three-day visit on Monday, visited the heritage site in the last leg of his trip, accompanied by a delegation of officials

"Ireland's prime minister was received by Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Ghaban, vice president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities," an SCTA official at the headquarters here said on Tuesday

Upon his arrival, Kenny was briefed on the historical importance of Al-Masmak fort as well as the history behind the unification of the Kingdom.

In a related development, French President Francois Hollande, paid a visit to Al-Masmak fort a week ago during his state trip to the Kingdom

During the visit, Hollande recognized the museum's exhibits including the relics, photos, paintings and maps illustrating the history of the Kingdom and the stages of its foundation

Hollande also signed the guest book of Al-Masmak, in which he expressed his admiration of the museum and commended the developmental efforts of SCTA in preserving the heritage

Earlier, a delegation comprised of Harvard University studets also visited Al-Masmak fort within their cultural exchange program to the Kingdom

An official within SCTA revealed that the commission has launched a campaign urging both Saudis and expatriates in the Kingdom, in addition to tourists visiting the Gulf region to take advantage of the special tourism packages offered by a number of companies for the mid-term school holidays

According to the official the campaign includes tourism offers for each of the provinces, including organized trips to several tourism destinations, especially those with mild weather.

Riyadh, which enjoys a heavy turnout during the breaks, is considered to be one of the most important tourism destinations in the Kingdom in light of its diverse attractions in terms of tourism, culture and heritage sites, shopping experience, high quality services it offers and festivals.

The city is undergoing a surge of development, with a large number of parks, gardens, and commercial complexes besides many other cultural attractions.

Riyadh will host four festivals and events, namely the International Food Festival, the 2nd Family Festival for Palms and Dates, the Riyadh Secretariat Tournament for Skilled Driving, and the Riyadh Comedy Festival, the official added


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