People flock to colorful heritage pavilions of Saudi Arabia’s Janadriyah festival

Ardha, a warrior dance, is a major attraction of the Janadriyah festival. (SPA)
Updated 13 February 2018
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People flock to colorful heritage pavilions of Saudi Arabia’s Janadriyah festival

RIYADH: There has been a remarkable daily turnout of visitors to the 32nd edition of Janadriyah, the national heritage and culture festival named after the village on the northern outskirts of Riyadh.
The event is organized there annually to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s lifestyle and the symbols of its identity, unity and integrity.
The 18-day-long festival, which opened under the patronage of King Salman last Wednesday with India as the guest of honor, is seeing a huge rush of visitors, both citizens and expatriates.
The many attractions include a traditional camel race, cultural programs, workshops, poetry sessions, and exhibitions with pavilions representing provinces in the Kingdom and national and international organizations.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage has also staged a special pavilion as a tourism and heritage oasis with sections for children, visual shows, interactive and social media screens and major tourism and heritage projects, which has been hugely popular.
Other important pavilions include that of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which gives details on its functioning, and unity and stability in the region, and that of the Human Rights Commission, which has details on its mandate, role and work.
The pavilion of the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques has details on the expansion project at the mosques, and how Kiswa, which adorns the Holy Kaaba, is crafted and prepared.
Another major attraction is Najdi Ardha, a warrior dance that expresses victory and pride in Saudi history.
Bandar Al-Harbi, a visitor at the festival, told Arab News: “Being one of the key events, Ardha has continued to draw a large number of visitors.” As the festival progresses, many of the families bring their children to learn the technicalities of this important dance, he said.
Though the exact statistics on visitors are not yet available, coordinators said it can be estimated at more than 1,000 people per hour, a figure that will increase further as the first five days were reserved for male visitors only. Women and families started to visit on Monday.
Visitors were full of praise for the display of rich heritage and culture. Mohammed Arshad Khan, a schoolteacher in Riyadh, said: “I am glad to see my home country as the guest of honor. Coming for the first time, I'm equally thrilled to see all the arrangements, the pavilion staged in such a beautiful way.”
The guest country has staged a special “Made in India” pavilion and highlighted Saudi-India relations with a photo exhibition on high-level visits from both sides.
The festival is open daily till Feb. 24 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and seeks to encourage people to uphold cultural values and heritage close to their heart.


Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

Updated 21 June 2018
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Disappointed fans hail improved performance by Saudi Green Falcons but defeat ends World Cup dream

  • A fan named Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time.
  • Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s World Cup dreams were shattered after Uruguay beat the Green Falcons 1-0 in the second of the three group-stage matches. Most Saudi fans in Jeddah were much happier with the team’s performance in game two, following the resounding 5-0 defeat by host nation Russia in the opening match on June 14, but still bitterly disappointed by the loss, which means they cannot qualify for the knockout stages.

Yousif, who watched the match at the General Sports Authority viewing tent, was happy that the game at least was close this time. “Although we lost, the performance was much better than the first game with Russia. I hope we win our next match,” he said.

Nasrah, who watched the game with her two sons, said: “I was really disappointed because we played good today and nothing less than a win should have been acceptable. I am also disappointed to see the looks on my boys faces when the game ended as they were hoping for a win.”

Khalid Al-Raghbi said at least it had been a good match to watch. “We played a bit better today,” he added. “I wish we would have won but at least we performed better than our last match against Russia.”

Before the game, Ibrahim Al-Turki had been optimistic about Saudi Arabia’s chances. “We didn’t expect today’s result. I was thinking that Saudi would win by two goals, and Uruguay would score one,” he said.

The result was especially disappointing given the close result and the number of chances the Saudis had to score, said Badr, who added: “I don’t know what to tell you because we are deeply disappointed. At least if we lost with a big defeat I would say we deserved it. We had the potential but we could not score.”

Shadi Al-Ghamdi said he wished the national team’s much improved performance in their second game had been more evident in their first. “I am very proud of the players, I thought they played very well. I just wish they had played like this against Russia," he said.

Safah was less complimentary and said that the Saudi players had let their fans down, adding: “They seemed scared whenever they attempted to score any goals.”

Saudi Arabia will face off against Egypt, who also lost their opening two group A games against Uruguay and Russia, on June 25. It will be the final game in the competition for both sides, with only pride to play for, as they battle it out to see who will finish third in the group and who will be left in bottom spot.