ThePlace: Al-Ahsa — the largest date-palm oasis in the world

Date harvest in Al-Ahsa. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 19 May 2018
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ThePlace: Al-Ahsa — the largest date-palm oasis in the world

  • Al-Ahsa is particularly famous for the khalasah date, which is routinely named in polls as the best date in the world.
  • In the Islamic tradition, dates are the food the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ate when he broke his fast.

AL-AHSA, Saudi Arabia: Dates are a staple in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East, both in their own right and as a common ingredient in local dishes. In particular, they form an important part of the diet of Muslims during Ramadan, when they are traditionally eaten every evening to break the fast.
Al-Ahsa, in eastern Saudi Arabia, is the largest date-palm oasis in the world, with about 3 million trees spread across 30,000 acres. It is particularly famous for the khalasah date — known in Saudi Arabia as khlas, a word that loosely translates as “quintessential” — which is routinely named in polls as the best date in the world.
In the Islamic tradition, dates are the food the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ate when he broke his fast.
The date palm, called “nakhl” in Arabic, and the fruit, called “tamr,” are mentioned more than any other fruit-bearing plant in the Qur’an, and are symbols closely associated with Islam and Muslims.
Date palms are now grown extensively around the world. There are about 240 to 360 varieties, and the flavor of each is greatly influenced by the soil and weather conditions in the area where they are grown. Amir Hajj, Saidy, Khadrawy and Medjool are some of the finest varieties, known for their rich flavors and superior quality.
The Ajwah variety, however, has particular religious and medicinal significance. The Prophet said: “Ajwah dates are from Paradise.”
Every year, Al-Ahsa hosts a dates festival in an area covering 3,600 square meters, featuring government agencies and companies that grow and sell dates.
The strategic vision of the festival is for Al-Ahsa to become a focal point for the dates industry, by transforming them from simply being an agricultural item to a distinctive product for investment, tourism and the economy.
The festival aims to develop the concepts of agricultural marketing, quality production and communication between farmers and trader.


Events celebrating Saudi Souq Okaz festival kick off on Wednesday

Events are planned across the country to accompany the Souq Okaz festival. (AFP)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Events celebrating Saudi Souq Okaz festival kick off on Wednesday

  • Makkah will host a show creatively presenting the historical convoys of trade souqs
  • Riyadh and the Eastern Province will be hosting heritage and cultural events such as a show that presents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz and encourages people to visit the souq’s events

JEDDAH: Events accompanying Souq Okaz that promote the market and invite people to visit its cultural and heritage activities will kick off on Wednesday, under the patronage of King Salman. The Souq is organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and will run June 27 to July 13.

Makkah will host the event of “The Historical Convoys of Thi Al-Mejna and Thi Al-Mijaz Souqs,” a show creatively presenting the historical convoys of trade souqs. These convoys show the method traders adopted to beat travel exhaustion and entertain themselves as they would sing about Souq Okaz and invite people to visit it.

Madinah will host the event “Let’s go to Souq Okaz,” which will encourage people to attend the cultural and heritage events. This event includes activities such as folk shows and interactive, innovative and heritage competitions.

Jeddah will host several cultural seminars focusing on the history of the souq as well as poetry readings and a theatrical show that represents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz.

Riyadh and the Eastern Province will be hosting heritage and cultural events such as a show that presents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz and encourages people to visit the souq’s events.

Taif will host “Souq Okaz for Performance Arts,” an event that includes heritage and cultural performance activities that reflect the souq’s identity in Al-Hada, Shifa and Ar-Rudaf Park. 

The events accompanying the souq this year will be launched on Friday in Al-Baha and many archaeological sites in the provinces of Al-Mikhwat, Al-Qura and Al-Mandaq.

The events include the camel convoy, horse shows, traditional folk and dancing shows, artifacts, Saudi traditional dishes and the introduction of some popular traditional and historical souqs in the regions.