Wadi Hanifa: A desert oasis running through Riyadh

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Wadi Hanifa: An oasis of relaxation and time out in Riyadh.
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Wadi Hanifa was once a waste disposal site and has been transformed into the largest natural open resort in the Kingdom.
Updated 29 June 2017

Wadi Hanifa: A desert oasis running through Riyadh

RIYADH: Once a waste disposal site, Wadi Hanifa is now a beautiful valley running a length of nearly 120 km from the northwest to the southeast of the capital.
Known in the pre-Islamic era as Wadi Al-Irdh, it was renamed Wadi Hanifa after the Bani Hanifa tribe that populated the area.
Riyadh grew substantially and expansion destroyed the environmental balance in the scenic valley, leading to erosion.
“The once fertile and scenic Wadi Hanifa suffered as the capital city rapidly expanded,” said a local, adding that the growing city used the river valley as a throughway for utility lines and a dumping ground for construction waste. Later, industrial activities were launched in the area, turning it into a dump for waste disposal.
In 1986, the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) launched a plan to turn the dump into a nature reserve, attracting local and foreign visitors, and encouraging investments. The redevelopment plan involved creating water channels, trails, and spots for visitors to observe the spectacular views the valley has to offer.
Riyadh’s first large sewage treatment facility channeled 400,000 to 650,000 cubic meters of runoff daily, creating an area of small lakes south of Riyadh. This area grew and a 100 km green corridor was created.
According to the ADA, the decision taken in 1986 proved to be a significant milestone as it helped transform the valley into the largest natural reserve in the Kingdom. The wetlands became a stop for migratory birds and a popular area for recreation.
The valley, located on the outskirts of the capital, has water channels, green corridors, walkways and picnic spots for visitors to enjoy the scenic beauty that includes orchards and farms, making it a major attraction for both Riyadh residents and visitors.
Abdullah Ahmad, who resides in the nearby Wadi Laban area, said: “Riyadh residents were in need of such a site in the city, having the opportunity to enjoy nature and a clean environment away from built-up places.”
Zakir Khan, a regular visitor to the natur reserve, said: “It’s a great place for a picnic. I go there all the time with my family for a barbecue… Surrounded by mountains and a lake, it is a beautiful and quite popular place among picnickers. The best part is, it is not even far from the city.”


Buraidah Date Festival in ‘auctioning’ phase

Updated 14 min 16 sec ago

Buraidah Date Festival in ‘auctioning’ phase

RIYADH: The “auctioning” phase is one of the primary stages in the process of buying and selling dates, with a direct impact on prices. It contributes to introducing the types and merits of dates, and the selling of them.
During the Buraidah Date Festival, an auctioneer plays an important professional role, and is chosen by traders before the beginning of the purchasing and sale season, by offering several in-kind and financial bids and advantages to find a distinguished auctioneer with special skills.   
Agricultural marketing institutions and date merchants make sure to choose an auctioneer that fits their list of individual skills and specifications.
As the date season approaches each year, the brokerage market is activated and traders seek to nail the services of distinguished auctioneers. Agreement contracts vary based on the capacities and skills of the chosen auctioneer.
Dr. Mansour Al-Mushaiti, managing director of Buraidah Festival, said that the auctioning profession relies on a number of skills and specifications that traders make sure to obtain to ensure a successful marketing of their goods.
Al-Mushaiti said that the auctioneer is required to have skills that include a special baritone, quick and agile physical activity, a distinguished way of wearing the costume (ghutra and agal), fluency in the spoken dialect and a rich vocabulary.
An auctioneer is also required to be good in describing and marketing the goods and to know some foreign words to attract the attention of buyers.