Saudi King Salman opens annual Janadriyah festival

The 18-day festival, organized by the Ministry of National Guard, is part of a plan to generate awareness of Saudi history and heritage. (SPA)
Updated 08 February 2018
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Saudi King Salman opens annual Janadriyah festival

RIYADH: King Salman on Wednesday patronized the opening ceremony of the 32nd National Festival for Heritage and Culture in Janadriyah village on the northern outskirts of the capital.
The 18-day festival, organized by the Ministry of National Guard, is part of a major initiative to generate awareness of Saudi history and heritage.
India is this year’s guest of honor. Previous guests of honor have included Turkey, Russia, France, Japan, South Korea, China, the UAE and Germany.
Upon arrival at the venue, the king was received by the Minister of National Guard Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf, who is also chairman of the festival’s supreme committee; and Abdulmohsin bin Abdul Aziz Al-Twaijri, deputy minister of national guard and deputy chairman of the committee.
King Salman received senior officials from Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE. Then the Saudi national anthem was played, and there was a grand camel race while folkloric bands performed popular dances.
At the end of the camel race, King Salman gave prizes to the winners.
The festival “seeks to encourage our people to uphold values and heritage as well as enhance cultural exchange,” said bin Ayyaf.
Started in 1985, the festival features a variety of activities including a camel race, horse race, sports, dance, arts, history, falconry, and traditional arts and crafts.
The first five days, from Feb. 7 to 11, are for men only. Women and families will be allowed to visit from Feb. 12 to 24.
The festival is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Organizers say they expect millions of visitors from Saudi Arabia and abroad.
Earlier, King Salman received India’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sushma Swaraj during her three-day visit to the Kingdom.
During the visit, the minister witnessed the opening of the Janadriyah festival.
Saudi Ambassador to India, Dr. Saud Mohammed Al-Sati, said: “India’s participation in Janadriyah as a guest country reflects the excellent cordial ties between the two nations. India and Saudi Arabia have historic and friendly relations… and the Kingdom, today, is home for about 3.2 million Indian nationals.”
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Sati said that Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner — bilateral trade exceeded $25 billion in 2016-17.
He described the festival as “a melange of living experiences,” including a camel race, equestrian shows, Saudi folklore, folk costumes, falconry, an art exhibition, as well as traditional arts and crafts such as pottery, weaving, woodwork, metalwork and leatherwork.


Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

Umm Al-Qura was the first newspaper to be published during the time of Saudi Arabia's founder.
Updated 21 May 2018
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Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

  • It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz
  • Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924

MAKKAH: It is considered one of the most important and prestigious Saudi Arabian newspapers. 

It has witnessed crucial decisions in the country, observed the history of the region throughout a century, recording details of life in the Kingdom becoming a reference for historical decisions and events.

Umm Al-Qura’s Editor in Chief Abdullah Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has the support and supervision of Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, who has harnessed all the resources for its modern launch. Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924.

It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz. The headline in the first issue of the newspaper was “The Makkah Declaration,” and this story was accompanied by news and official statements.

Al-Ahmadi said that the paper continued its coverage during World War II, although its presses did stop for a period of up to eight weeks in 1924 before King Abdul Aziz ordered paper to be imported and printing to resume.

Umm Al-Qura’s first editor in chief was Sheikh Yusuf Yassin, who was followed by Rushdi Malhas. Both figures held diplomatic positions during King Abdul Aziz’s reign, along with Mohammed Saeed Abdul Maksoud, Fouad Shaker and Abdul Quddus Al-Ansari.

Al-Ahmadi added that the newspaper has monitored the personal stories of the Kingdom’s kings, giving precise details of the historical and political events of the last century. He added that it has the full Saudi archive and it has become a historical reference for history, the economy and politics.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper was a combination of news, sports and social events during 30 years of its foundation. It had adverts on some pages, reflecting the region’s identity and local, economic and cognitive dimensions.

Al-Ahmadi said that with its launch, the newspaper formed the memory, aspirations and ambitions of Saudi Arabia. It was the only media platform in which the world explored the local news, along with the cultural, educational and economic news. 

It covered their advocacy of the crucial decisions — notably the Palestinian cause that Saudi Arabia has defended since the time of its founder.

Umm Al-Qura’s editor in chief said his main concern, along with his former colleagues in the newspaper’s management, was its development and relaunch, pointing out that a number of challenges have been overcome. 

The newspaper has been developed across the board — from layout and content to its brand logo and colors, he said.

Al-Ahmadi added that new and modern printers have been provided, and the newspaper has improved in line with technical and modern changes. 

He said the government also helped restore the back issues damaged by moths.

The operation was carried out by specialized experts who supervised the whole operation to protect the issues from getting lost. All issues were archived online and missing issues are being updated, he added.

Al-Ahmadi said that the newspaper’s website will provide a digital media platform for the documentation process, giving integrated information about the newspaper.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has a website archive for researchers and academics. 

He added that a large number of master’s and doctorate degrees as well as surveys took place with the help of the newspaper that has become a historic reference for scholars and researchers.