Janadriyah festival attracts thousands of local, foreign visitors

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Visitors at the the annual Janadriyah national heritage and culture festival. (SPA)
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Dancers at the Janadriyah festival. (SPA)
Updated 23 February 2018
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Janadriyah festival attracts thousands of local, foreign visitors

RIYADH: Janadriyah, the annual national heritage and culture festival named after the village on the northern outskirts of Riyadh, is busy celebrating the Saudi lifestyle as well as symbols of its identity, unity and integrity. The festival also offers a balanced view and a flashback to Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage.
India is the guest of honor country this year. The annual heritage festival, which runs for 18 days, will conclude on Feb. 24.
Every year the festival attracts a remarkable turnout of local and expatriate visitors, including school children and families, as well as visitors from outside the Kingdom.
This year the festival has launched a free application for smartphones, called “Janadriyah,” to guide visitors around the event and keep them updated on entertainment and cultural programs.
Nazaha participates in Janadriyah festival
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) is partaking in the 32nd Janadriyah National Heritage and Culture Festival for the sixth consecutive year.
Specialists in integrity protection and anti-corruption programs, as well as in public relations and media, are present at Nazaha’s pavilion to answer visitors’ inquiries and receive their feedback.
Through its participation, Nazaha aims to introduce the public to efforts exerted to combat corruption in the Kingdom.
The pavilion features signboards about programs, initiatives, events, studies, workshops, conferences and research implemented by Nazaha regarding integrity protection and fighting corruption.
The pavilion also contains screens with videos games, and a drawing workshop with coloring books for children.
Big turnout for UAE pavilion
The UAE pavilion at the festival is impressing visitors with 45 different cultural events and folk shows reflecting the history of the Emirates.
The pavilion has seen a big turnout by visitors, who are received with drums and folk songs. Visitors are invited to take part in folk dances to learn more about Emirati cultural and musical heritage dating back hundreds of years.
The pavilion also features a collection of UAE cultural films that shed light on special elements of the country such as traditional architecture. Generous Arab hospitality is represented in a corner that offers Emirati-made coffee as well as live shows depicting how it was made.
The popular souk at the UAE pavilion, which offers Emirati-made products, is introducing a new generation to the material heritage and culture of UAE’s different towns and environments. The souk celebrates the rich and diversified heritage of the people and its rich and ancient roots.
Three photographic exhibitions portray important historical events.
The first one focuses on the traditionally strong Saudi-Emirati relations. The second exhibition is a collection of cultural photographs of UAE’s renaissance under the rule of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. The third exhibition is about tourism, with images of the best sites for visitors to experience the UAE.
The pavilion is made entirely of traditional natural heritage materials, featuring mud architecture for 80 percent of the design, over an area of 6,500 square meters. The design aims to embody UAE’s authentic heritage and its close connection with the local environment, and the country’s commitment to sustainability, including heritage items and traditional arts.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 16 June 2019
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.