Saudi heritage showcased at Janadriya fest wows dignitaries

The two-week Janadriya festival, which opened Wednesday, has impressed foreign guests and diplomats attending the opening ceremony. (SPA)
Updated 03 February 2017
0

Saudi heritage showcased at Janadriya fest wows dignitaries

RIYADH: The 31st edition of the two-week Janadriya festival, which opened Wednesday, has impressed foreign guests and diplomats attending the opening ceremony.
Bahraini King Hamad, who attended the inaugural function of the national festival for heritage and culture along with King Salman and foreign dignitaries from friendly countries, said Janadriya sets an example to be followed at the cultural level in the Gulf and Arab regions.
King Hamad expressed his pleasure at attending the festival, in which hundreds of foreign thinkers, poets and writers meet their Saudi counterparts and enrich the cultural and literary arenas.
He also praised the diverse intellectual and cultural activities expressing Saudi history, prosperity, and Arab Gulf civil identity.
Events and activities include folklore arts, operetta and camel races. The festival is organized by the Ministry of National Guard and named after the heritage village on the outskirts of Riyadh, where it is held annually to celebrate symbols of Saudi identity.
Egypt is the guest-of-honor country this year. Its Culture Minister Hilmi Al-Nimnim, who is leading the Egyptian delegation at the festival, said this reflects the depth of relations between the two countries.
He expressed his pleasure at attending as guest of honor, and applauded the successful continuation of the festival year after year.
Chinese Ambassador Li Huaxin, whose country was a previous guest of honor, said: “I am really pleased to attend this important festival with my family, which gave us a clearer picture of the Kingdom’s developments in all fields. It is indeed a portrayal of the Kingdom’s rich heritage and cultural.”
Belgian Ambassador Geert Criel said: “I was honored to attend the opening ceremony of the Janadriya festival in the presence of King Salman.”
The festival “is a wonderful celebration of the rich heritage and impressive achievements of the Kingdom,” the envoy added. “I very much look forward to visiting the various pavilions, including the one of Egypt.”
Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed said: “It is a grand heritage and cultural show with a beautiful setting. The opening ceremony was absolutely fascinating because of the elaborate arrangements made to entertain all groups of people.”
Pakistani Ambassador Manzoor Ul Haq said: “It is fascinating to see the rich history and cultural heritage of the Kingdom. One of the main attractions was the grand camel race.”
The envoy added that Pakistan, with its own rich history and culture, looks forward to further strengthening cultural cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
“Culture and sports are a good medium to promote friendship and harmony between nations of the world,” he said.
Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim said it was a comprehensive cultural event showcasing rapid developments in the Kingdom.
“We are happy that this annual heritage and culture festival provides a good platform for foreign diplomats to share the Kingdom’s experiences,” he added.
Norwegian Ambassador Rolf Willy Hansen said: “Visiting the Janadriya festival is an interesting expedition, besides being a good experience, since it is located away from the hustle and bustle of the city.”


Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

Updated 2 min 58 sec ago
0

Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

  • A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally
  • “This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

RIYADH: Formula E is one for the books. Attracting fans from all over the world, the mega event — held in the historic Saudi town of Ad Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is set to revolutionize motorsports by using only electric race cars. 

Officially known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the race expects to draw 40,000 attendees, with access not only to the race but also to the Kingdom’s largest ever festival for music, entertainment and cultural activities.

A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally.

A milestone was marked as Bandar Alesayi and Ahmed bin Khanen became the first Saudi I-Pace eTrophy racers, sponsored by the General Sports Authority (GSA). 

Both drivers predict increased grassroots support in the Kingdom for youths to train in carting and race-car driving.  

At 1.76 miles long with 21 corners, the track is somewhat tricky for first-time Formula E drivers.

“The system is like Mario Bros when they get the little star and go faster,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. The new electric circuit in Saudi Arabia has been hailed as one of the best Formula E tracks.

The three-day event is hosting some of the world’s top singers, including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and One Republic, along with DJ EJ. 

“This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

Outside the venue, Al-Bujairy, one of Ad Diriyah’s historic areas, hosts high-end restaurants, cafes and local designer outlets overlooking the historic district of At-Turaif, which was once home to the Saudi royal family and has newly opened for visitors.

Another area of interest is the Family Zone, with many events and activities to entertain all age groups. Men, women and children are given different driving experiences.

In Ad Diriyah’s Formula E, only one car is allowed per driver instead of two, making pit stops more crucial in terms of timing.  

“Attack mode” gives cars a temporary power boost from 200 to 225 kilowatts, equivalent to 268-302 horsepower. Drivers need to move to a certain area on the track to activate this mode.

“Saudi Arabia is racing into the future with Formula E, as we open the Kingdom to the world in a transformation that’s being supercharged by the Vision 2030 plan, driven forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, told Arab News.