Visitors wait to meet the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and other members of the royal family during the first day of "Open Palace" Hari Raya celebration at Istana Nurul Iman, the royal palace of Brunei in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, June 7, 2019. Up to 34,799 people visited Istana Nurul Iman on Friday, the first day of the three-day "Open Palace" Hari Raya celebration. (Xinhua/Jeffrey Wong)
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Up to 34,799 people visited Istana Nurul Iman, the royal palace of Brunei on Friday, the first day of the three-day "Open Palace" Hari Raya celebration.
As a country with around 440,000 population in 2018, Brunei has kept the tradition to open its royal palace to the public for years, in conjunction with the annual Muslim festival of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, to enable Bruneians and tourists to meet and convey their greetings to the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah as well as other members of the royal family.
Istana Nurul Iman this year opens to the public for three days starting from Friday which is the second day of the festival and sees a total of 34,799 people visiting.
"The annual Open Palace is an extraordinary function of this country," British visitor Gerald Moore told Xinhua.
"For me, this is a once in a lifetime experience to meet the Sultan of Brunei and other royalties," he said.
As usual, the visitors as guests have the chance to enjoy various special cuisines for them and then proceed to the designated waiting area before the meet-and-greet with the Sultan as well as other members of the royal family.
Besides citizens and tourists, the visitors also included foreign diplomats as well as officials and staff from various ministries.