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Ithra celebrates five years of impact: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture exceeds expectations with more than three million visitors

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia, July 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) celebrates five years of continuous success at its iconic building. Ithra is not only the Kingdom’s gateway and connections to the world but also the heart of the creative economy and an indispensable player in enriching local talent through original content development.

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) celebrates five years of being open to the public

One of Saudi Arabia’s leading cultural destinations and committed to fostering cultural dialogues and curiosity, the center has welcomed more than three million visitors and presented more than 20,000 programs, in addition to hosting the 29th Arab League Summit and Y20 Summit. Ithra has hosted more than 20 exhibitions, including the Leonardo Da Vinci Codex Atlanticus Exhibition and the Edvard Munch Landscapes of the Soul exhibition. Ithra’s Hijrah: In the Footsteps of the Prophet exhibition received more than 100,000 visitors. The exhibition sheds light on the Prophet’s pilgrimage from Makkah to Madinah, a historical Islamic event and an inspirational journey that shaped the beginning of Islam. Scheduled to be presented internationally, the exhibition recently opened to audiences in Riyadh.

The Ithra Film Production title Valley Road hit cinemas on July 6 after successful appearances on the festival circuit including at Malmö, Casablanca and the Red Sea International Film Festivals. Its next film project is Hajjan, directed by Abu Bakr Shawky and produced by Mohamed Hefzy. The film production arm has received local and international awards for 15 of the 23 films it has produced.

Ithra is dedicated to nurturing and contributing to the development of Saudi society and the Kingdom’s creative industries through its programs such as the Content Development Initiative, F1 in Schools, Ithra Academy and the Volunteerism program. Launched in 2021, the Creative Solutions program aims to empower professionals in art, science and technology in an open call to develop viable solutions using XR technologies. To date, 15 innovative ideas from fields as diverse as art, health and wellbeing, training, entertainment, education and culture have been developed into working prototypes.

Ithra’s annual flagship Tanween event is designed to celebrate, explore and inspire the creative process. This year’s Tanween Challenges will introduce a mega challenge focused on providing viable humanitarian aid solutions, and will take place during the four-day event in November.

The Ithra Art Prize has become a leading art initiative celebrating contemporary art and artists. The award was initially open to Saudi and Saudi based artists but has expanded its scope to include artists from or based in the Arab world. The winner receives $100,000 to bring their idea to life. The 5th edition winning piece ON by Iraqi-Finnish artist Adel Abidin will be unveiled at Ithra in September.

The Ithra Library, one of the Kingdom’s first digitally integrated libraries, has more than 300,000 titles in Arabic and English. As a manifestation of Ithra’s mission to further develop future generations, the reading enrichment program iRead was launched in 2013 with the aim of spreading the culture of reading and celebrating knowledge in society.

Ithra’s Theater has also hosted high caliber international productions such as world-renowned oud performer Naseer Shamma, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone™ in Concert with the UK’s National Symphonic Orchestra, Shrek the Musical and Russia’s Mariinsky Orchestra Theater, among a catalogue of other horizon-expanding shows, productions and performances.

Ithra remains committed to contributing to the Kingdom’s creative economy through offering purpose-driven programs and initiatives that support and ignite the Kingdom’s ongoing cultural transformation across the arts, science, culture and innovation.

For more information on Ithra and its programs, visit

For media enquiries, please contact Access Ithra’s media kit here.

About The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) is a beacon of change in Saudi Arabia, and symbolic of KSA’s shift towards human energy based in culture, creativity and innovation. Saudi at heart and multicultural by nature, Ithra is a gateway to the Kingdom and a connection to the world. The Center creates new opportunities while preparing the next generation of original thinkers to lead in the creative and cultural industries. Ithra enriches lives and unlocks talent through a focus on cross-cultural experiences while encouraging the development of original content. The heart of the creative economy, Ithra offers purpose-driven programs and initiatives that support the Kingdom’s ongoing cultural transformation across the arts, sciences, culture and innovation.

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