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The Formation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

An intimate section of the exhibition features the personal possessions of King Abdulaziz (1876–1953). Objects like a gold and silver sword, a 20th-century falcon perch and falconry glove and a gilded Qur’an provide insight into the personal life of the founder of the present-day kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Upon returning from exile in Kuwait in 1902, Abdulaziz ibn Abdulrahman ibn Faysal al-Saud fought to occupy a strategic fort, thereby capturing the city of Riyadh—the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. Seven years later, under the rule of Abdulaziz, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was born.

The struggle for unification dates back to the mid-18th-century. But with the establishment of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, for the first time in more than a millennium the custodians of the most sacred sites of Islam—Mecca and Medina—were from the Arabian Peninsula.

Interest in discovering, understanding and preserving Arabia’s ancient and Islamic past has grown steadily, which has led to eye-opening archaeological finds and a better sense of the region’s complex and layered history. Roads of Arabia is your chance to examine these discoveries firsthand and develop a deeper understanding of one of the world’s most significant cultural crossroads.