Factsheet: Ithra @ Frankfurt Book Fair

About Ithra

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) offers an enriching experience for everyone by championing diversity, celebrating creativity and encouraging collaboration with the objective of energizing Saudi Arabia’s knowledge economy.


About the Frankfurt Book Fair

Launched in 1949, Frankfurter Buchmesse is one of the largest book fairs in the world and one of the most important international tradeshows for publishing and content of all kinds – from novels and children’s books to scientific databases. Here, experts from global publishing meet partners from the technology industry and related creative industries including film and games.

The event is predominantly a B2B platform. It is open over the weekend for the public, with attendees from all over the world in addition to the local German population. This year is dedicated to an exchange of ideas and understanding through and beyond languages and culture under the theme: “Translate. Transfer. Transform.”


How is Ithra involved in this initiative?

Ithra will exhibit a booth showcasing its various products and offerings including Ithraeyat magazine, its Content Initiative publications and books, E-Library QR codes and VR tours of the Dhahran-based Ithra Library, in addition to a talks space. Other highlights include a panel discussion on “The Status of Arabic Literature in the World” with Ithra’s Chief Librarian Tariq Al Khawaji, Saudi journalist and author Yousef Al-Mohaimeed, and award winning Egyptian literary translator Semir Grees. Ithra is also hosting a book signing of Al-Mohaimeed’s novel Wolves of the Crescent Moon.


Offerings on-site:

1.          Collection of Arabic poetry books

2.          Ithraeyat editions

3.          Panel discussion on the main stage at the Frankfurt Studio

4.          VR journey through the Ithra Library

5.          22 books Ithra has published through the Ithra Content Initiative

6.          Panel discussion at the Ithra booth

7.          Book signing tent



  • Position Ithra among global peers in the cultural industry as a provider of content.
  • Highlight Ithra’s role as a champion of Arabic and local content across the global stage.
  • Promote Ithra, its Library and initiatives as a global destination for cross-cultural exchange and knowledge-sharing.




About Ithra

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture — otherwise known as Ithra, an Arabic word meaning enrichment — is one of Saudi Arabia’s most influential cultural institutions. It’s a place where challenging perspectives meet creativity and transformative ideas. Through a variety of impactful programs, Ithra aims to inspire and enrich. Ithra is truly a place for all generations to enjoy and explore the human potential of hearts and minds.


Ithra’s positioning

Ithra is a destination that ignites cultural curiosity, stimulates knowledge exploration, and inspires creativity through the power of ideas, imagination and innovation.


Ithra’s pillars

Ithra is a destination like no other and the beating heart of the Kingdom’s cultural and creative ecosystem – it is where imagination is powered, ideas are born, knowledge is shared and culture is celebrated. It does this through five pillars, each representing a key area of focus for Ithra’s components and programs:

  • Art: Ithra inspires creative thought, broadens cultural horizons and provides truly global art experiences, while supporting the Kingdom’s local talent.
  • Knowledge: Ithra provides a platform for knowledge creation and sharing – with activities for curious learners as well as aspiring and established professionals – to realize the potential of tomorrow’s gamechangers.
  • Creativity: Ithra supports the development of Saudi’s creative sector through purpose-driven programs, giving creatives and creative entities the resources, expertise and opportunities to unleash their potential.
  • Culture: Ithra highlights the Kingdom and the broader region’s rich heritage and traditions, while showcasing diverse global offerings.
  • Community: Ithra’s year-round projects target the wider Saudi audience to engage citizens, residents and visitors with diverse activities to develop, explore and participate.


Ithra’s venues

Ithra’s components (venues) and programs bring Ithra’s brand position and purpose to life, supporting one or more of the Center’s five brand portfolio pillars:

  • Museum: The Ithra Museum invites everyone to embark on a journey of discovery through space and time – from the present to the past, and beyond boundaries – with a dynamic offering designed to spark ideas and open minds.
  • Theater: Ithra’s Theater hosts a diverse program of local and international productions, forums and discussions designed to ignite cultural curiosity and inspire creativity.
  • Library: Ithra’s Library is the Kingdom’s first digitally integrated library. It provides a dedicated space for the advancement of learning and knowledge exploration.
  • Idea Lab: Ithra’s Idea Lab is an enabler in creative production and innovation. It supports the development of a creative-based economy in the Kingdom by stimulating creativity and fostering individual and sector growth across arts, sciences and technology.
  • Children’s Museum: The Ithra Children’s Museum – the first of its kind in the Kingdom – is an immersive creative space designed to deliver memorable interactive learning experiences for families and children up to the age of 12.
  • Ithra Tower: The Ithra Tower offers skill-based programing targeting individuals across all age groups and interests. It delivers theory and practice-based courses and workshops in interactive learning spaces.
  • Cinema: Ithra’s Cinema showcases and supports Saudi Arabia’s ever-growing film industry by nurturing homegrown talent and fostering cinematic content creation.
  • Energy Exhibit: Ithra’s Energy Exhibit is a resource for exploring the history and future of energy in the Kingdom. It presents extensive chronicles of energy, oil and natural resources through an interactive multimedia facility.


Ithra’s flagship programs

  • Tanween: Ithra’s creativity season Tanween is focused on delivering economic and social change by promoting the creative industry. It offers aspiring creatives, professionals and organizations opportunities to connect with peers and experts, develop new skills and learn to apply their creative and innovation talents.
  • Ithra Academy: The Ithra Academy aims to educate and empower the youth and professionals through curated programs that offer growth in various fields of creativity and culture.
  • Volunteerism: Ithra is a community hub supporting youth engagement, empowerment and development within the Kingdom, and its volunteerism program extends that mandate to the broader community.
  • Content Development: Ithra’s Content Development program encourages and supports the creation and curation of original content across disciplines and media, thereby expanding and enabling the Kingdom’s cultural and creative industries.
  • iRead: iRead is a manifestation of Ithra’s mission to foster a culture of knowledge by providing a community education platform anchored by a passion for reading, the pursuit of knowledge and a spirit of competition.
  • Ithra Film Productions: Ithra organizes an integrated production program for professional directors and amateurs alike, helping them produce documentaries, short and feature films. Furthermore, Ithra contributes to the development of the Saudi film industry by nurturing and promoting Saudi talent, screening movies, and hosting talks and workshops.
  • Ithra Art Prize: The Ithra Art Prize celebrates contemporary art and artists and aims to fund and promote them, and to offer them a global platform. In its fourth cycle, the competition was opened to artists from 22 Arab countries. The Ithra Art Prize is one of the most prominent art funds in the world, with the winner having access to up to $100,000 to bring their idea to life.


The Ithra building

Designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, Ithra was designed as a collection of “stones” symbolizing unity. The stones lean on one another to create solidarity. They also illustrate how the various disciplines explored in the Center all depend on one another to stand strong.

Just as the arrangement of the stones and the location of the Center are symbolic, the building was designed with a purposeful expression of time: Underground, where the archive and museum gallery spaces are located, represent the past; the ground floor, where performances take place, represents the present; and the tower, along with the library and Idea Lab, is where ideas take shape, representing the future.

Ithra is considered a “green” building, constructed using sustainable and environmental materials and methods, in line with the international certification standards of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Ithra is certified as a LEED Gold structure.


The Source

The Source is located at the heart of Ithra’s Plaza. It forms a four-sided basket-like structure clad in a timber and glass screen. The space features a monumental sculpture, titled Source of Light, by renowned Turin-based artist Giuseppe Penone, celebrating the history, creativity and energy that is at the heart of Ithra.




About the Ithra Library

Ithra’s Library is a haven for readers, learners and lovers of books and knowledge. It is one of the largest public libraries in the region and the Kingdom’s first digitally integrated library, offering all kinds of books for you to dive into. A dynamic place of learning and activity, our library is designed to foster individual and collaborative learning while nurturing a love of reading, discovery and the pursuit of knowledge.


Second Floor

Find the Children’s and Young Adult Library, multimedia section and main presentation area here. The Children’s Library has been designed for our youngest readers and created to make their introduction to reading a memorable experience. The multimedia section comprises a vast collection of audio books, DVDs and CDs, including language courses, self-development courses, travel guides etc.


Third Floor

Ithra Library’s main entrance is located on the third floor and includes a welcoming reception area, displays for library collections and a café that offers a pleasant area to relax and socialize. The extensive adult fiction collection can be found on this floor.


Fourth Floor

The Library’s vast non-fiction collection is located here. It comprises more than 75,000 books on a broad range of subjects, including philosophy, psychology, religion, science, technology, home management and the arts. Access Ithra’s Idea Lab from the Library via this floor.


Fifth Floor

This floor offers a quiet study and research area. It also houses the Library’s geography, history, biography and reference collections, and hosts public workstations, as well as laptops and tablets for on-site use.



About Ithraeyat

Ithra’s first digital cultural magazine, Ithraeyat, is an insight-driven, Saudi-inspired platform with an expansive international outlook that captures the art scene and the culture of art by bringing together a mosaic of stories collected from across the Kingdom, the region and beyond.

It is the first high-end magazine in Saudi Arabia dedicated to original content related to art and the culture of art, and is quickly becoming the reference point for those interested in Saudi art and artists.

Each issue of Ithraeyat is based on a theme, featuring artwork on the cover by a Saudi guest artist and highlights established and aspiring artists from both the Kingdom and internationally.



For Ithraeyat to become the cultural ambassador for Saudi Arabia’s artists as well as the region.


To create original, high-end, Saudi-inspired content with an expansive regional and global outlook to inspire and engage artists, creatives and art and culture enthusiasts.




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