Jazan Heritage Village brings centuries of tradition in one place

Visitors can experience ancient commercial life in the souq, where archaeological artifacts, traditional pots and aromatic plants are displayed.
Updated 02 January 2018

Jazan Heritage Village brings centuries of tradition in one place

JAZAN: Jazan Heritage Village, at the southern Jazan corniche, is a cultural landmark that captures the ancient history of Jazan, linking it to its flourishing present.

Visitors to this village can see the province’s past displayed through live symbols of the cultural and civilizational diversity of the region’s different environments and terrains.

The village was established in 2009 based on directives of the governor of Jazan, Prince Muhammad bin Nasser bin Abdul Aziz, following the success of the first Jazan Winter Festival, which honored the region’s heritage and archaeological treasures. The village has become the permanent venue for this festival.

The village’s visitors are first met by its gate, which leads to the traditional three-story house, Al Baitul Jabali, with its solid architecture that was specially designed to suit the mountain’s environment and overcome natural erosion.

Further into the village, visitors can see Al Baitul Tihami, the traditional Jazan hut made of mud, which gave it the name Al Ousha Attiniya (the mud nest). This house’s dwellers enjoyed the simplicity and elegance of the Tihami lifestyle.

Al Baitul Farasani is connected to the village by a bridge. This traditional house is an embodiment of Farasan Island with its sea, pearls, and shells.

In the center of the village, visitors can experience ancient commercial life in the souk (the traditional market), where archaeological artifacts, traditional pots, and aromatic plants are displayed. The air here is filled with the aroma of pandanus tectorius and Arabian jasmine. The souk also contributes to promoting the region’s old crafts, and attracts artisans to display their products.

The heritage village focuses on showing the different cultural aspects of Jazan, including traditional arts and folkloric colors, in addition to offering cultural heritage programs, special programs for children and youth, and poetry reading events.

The village captures the lifestyles of people who inhabited Jazan long ago and used natural resources to build houses, furniture, and utensils, turning Jazan into a great civilization. This village connects the past generations with the current one in hopes of further work and development.

Every year, the Jazan Heritage Village welcomes large numbers of visitors who come to enjoy the region’s heritage, cuisine, and shops during the Jazan Winter Festival.

One of the village’s important craftsmen, Mohammed Ahmed Al-Ghamari, crafts ancient daggers and swords, which is a profession passed down to him from his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather; in addition, he makes agricultural tools from iron, like axes.

“The Ghamari swords and daggers are famous in Jazan for being some of the region’s finest swords due their high quality and professional craftsmanship,” he said.

“The daggers and swords’ grips are made from deer antlers and bones,” he continued. “They are sculpted in a way that makes the sword or dagger more beautiful.”

“The blades of the daggers and swords are made of solid steel, sharpened, and sculpted by hand using my special lathe,” he added.

Al-Ghamari also explained that these products are priced differently compared to imported swords and daggers because of the great difference in quality.

“Imported swords largely impact our centuries-old craft and trade,” he said. “The swords we make cost at least SR1,000 ($267), depending on the effort put into sculpting it, while imported ones cost a maximum of SR120 — some even cost as little as SR30.”

Moreover, the city of Jazan is famous for its sesame oil presses. Sesame oil is sold to visitors at varying prices.

In the souk’s center, there is a model of an ancient sesame oil press, which was traditionally camel powered; camels would be tied to the mill in a certain manner and would circle it in order to press the sesame.

KSA will be one of the very best countries for tourism, says Prince Sultan

Updated 22 April 2018

KSA will be one of the very best countries for tourism, says Prince Sultan

  • The number of job opportunities is expected to increase to 1.2 million by the year 2020.
  • The Saudi government has allocated SR5 billion to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ program.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will be one of the most attractive countries for tourism because of its location, its unique tourist and historic elements and its hospitable and welcoming people, said Prince Sultan bin Salman.
Prince Sultan, who is president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), told the annual conference of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires that the efforts of the SCTH and its partners in localizing tourist jobs resulted in an increase in the number of direct jobs in the tourism sector from 936,000 in 2016 to 993,000 by the end of 2017. The number of job opportunities is expected to increase to 1.2 million by the year 2020.
He said the contributions of tourism to the national GDP amounted to 3.6 percent, up to 4.9 percent of the national non-oil output, and the revenues of the tourism sector reached SR97.5 billion ($26 billion). Direct jobs in the tourism sector exceeded 994,000, and the proportion of Saudi citizens currently employed in the sector is about 28 percent.
The Saudi government has allocated SR5 billion to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ program, which takes care of the cultural heritage of the Kingdom.
The program includes the establishment of 18 museums in the Kingdom’s regions, the creation of 80 heritage sites and opening them to visitors throughout the Kingdom, the restoration and preparation of 18 villages and traditional towns to receive visitors, and hosting economic and local hospitality activities operated by local people, as well as opening 17 centers for artisans that serve as incubators for the development of their businesses, factories for their production, and outlets for sale.
Prince Sultan also noted that after the SCTH completed the registration of the first four sites on the World Heritage List (Madain Saleh, Al-Tarif district in Jeddah, historic Jeddah, rock inscriptions in Jubba and Shuweis in Hail), it has been working with its partners to complete the registration files of six additional sites. Also, 20 additional important Islamic sites are being rehabilitated and prepared in Makkah and Madinah.
The conference was attended by more than 1,200 prominent investors and key corporate officials in tourism.
The WTTC is the largest gathering of investors and private sector professionals working in tourism around the world.