ThePlace: Saudi Arabia’s Souq Okaz

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Updated 30 June 2018
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ThePlace: Saudi Arabia’s Souq Okaz

  • The souq represents an important chapter in the history of the Arabs before Islam. It was more than a trade fair, serving as a cultural, social, economic and political gathering of Arabs
  • The souq is a unique chance to dive into a 1,000-year-old culture

Souq Okaz is a unique tourism destination in Taif, and is considered one of the most important in the Kingdom.
For 1,500 years, the festival has organized poetry contests, horse shows and textile workshops. It has become a go-to annual event for those wishing to discover Saudi Arabia’s roots.
In this mountainous town in the middle of the desert, one can discover the foundations of Saudi culture through shows, traditional clothing, handicrafts, art and textiles. The souq is a unique chance to dive into a 1,000-year-old culture.
Many tourists from around the world visit the souq, which has provided a unique historical and artistic forum gathering intellectuals and people interested in literature and culture.
Over the years, it has undergone comprehensive development due to the efforts of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal. The addition of new activities this year will boost the Saudi tourism sector.
The souq represents an important chapter in the history of the Arabs before Islam. It was more than a trade fair, serving as a cultural, social, economic and political gathering of Arabs.
This year’s edition, which will end on July 13, was opened under the patronage of King Salman, with Egypt the honorary guest.
This is the second edition since the king gave the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) the responsibility of organizing the event, in coordination with executive bodies in Makkah and Taif.
Each year, the souq hands out 12 pan-Arab awards, including for poetry, handicrafts, creativity, photography, folkloric art, theatrics and creativity, fine arts and entrepreneurship. The value of the prizes totals SR2.2 million ($586,510) annually.


Houthis accused of looting humanitarian aid

A worker unloads aid packages from a Saudi air force cargo plane, at an airfield in the northern province of Marib, Yemen, in this January 22, 2018 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 23 July 2018
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Houthis accused of looting humanitarian aid

JEDDAH: The Yemen Scholars Association on Saturday blamed the Iranian-backed Houthi militias for the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
The associated accused the Houthis of looting humanitarian aid.
According to the Yemeni scholars, Houthi actions have resulted in the suspension of salaries of hundreds of thousands of employees for nearly two years.
The Association praised the efforts and humanitarian support of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), which provides, directly and indirectly, most of the humanitarian relief support for the Yemeni people.
The Yemen Scholars Association condemned the Houthi militia for looting relief aid in areas under its control.
According to a human rights report, At least 113 people have been tortured to death in detention centers in Yemen run by the Houthis since the coup began
Yemeni Human Rights Minister Mohammed Askar told Arab News that the figures in the report were only estimates and that the real figures were much higher.