King Abdul Aziz Air Base is a Royal Saudi Air Force operated military installation. It is named in the memory of King Abdul Aziz, also referred to as Ibn Saud among the citizens. He lived between 1876 and 1953 and was the first monarch of the Saudi Arabia. He started ruling in 1932, after conquering the entire Arabian peninsula and claiming his territories as Saudi Arabia. King Abdul Aziz is also responsible with discovering the oil in the Arabian peninsula. In other words, he is the father of what the Arabians managed to build these days. Without the oil and the money coming from it, Saudi Arabia would be nothing but an arid land from the third world. These days, it hosts the ultimate constructions and luxury aspects you can think of.
King Abdul Aziz Air Base used to be known as the Dharan International Airport. A lot of natives still refer to it by this name, as it was changed in 1999 only. It used to be the most popular and populated airport in the Ash Sharqiyah area, from the Eastern side of the peninsula. In 1999, the authorities decided to build and open a new airport – King Fahd International Airport. It was larger, more advanced from all points of view and could deal with a lot more tasks. All the traffic was directed to this new airport, as the previous one was disestablished and turned into a military base by the Arabian government.
The Dharan International Airport dates back to the ’60s. It was built in 1961, with the plans coming from Minoru Yamasaki, one of the most skillful architects in the world. He was also responsible with the plans for the World Trade Center. The construction was extremely modernist, yet it included Islamic aspects as well. For instance, the control tower was shaped like a minaret. The fabulous buildings on site were pictures on Arabian money as well, not to mention about influencing a wide variety of important buildings throughout the Middle East.
The King Abdul Aziz Air Base location is very strategical. It is close to the Persian Gulf and about 500 km from Riyadh, relatively far from the capital. During World War II, the small base in the area was used as a pit stop for the aircrafts going to and back from Asia. At the same time, Operation Desert Storm could not be possible without this location, which took over 90% of the overall traffic during those times.
King Abdul Aziz Air Base provides its inhabitants with some of the most modernist facilities. Aside from a residential complex for the workers and units to live in with their families, the inhabitants benefit from large stores, supermarkets, popular restaurants and dining facilities, bars and pubs, theaters and cinema halls. At the same time, they can relax playing football, basketball or bowling. The young ones can kill their time hanging around in the wide variety of skate parks. In other words, King Abdul Aziz Air Base makes life normal, although it is located in the middle of nowhere and has a military purpose.