ThePlace: Saudi Arabia’s Souq Okaz

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Updated 16 October 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.


Saudi pilot Yasmeen Al-Maimani’s 1st flight celebrated

Hail International Airport and Nesma Airlines celebrated the first official flight of Saudi pilot Capt. Yasmeen Al-Maimani. (GACA)
Updated 25 June 2019
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Saudi pilot Yasmeen Al-Maimani’s 1st flight celebrated

  • Yasmeen Al-Maimani has a commercial pilot’s license (CPL) from the US

RIYADH: The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), represented by the management of Hail International Airport and Nesma Airlines, celebrated the first official flight of Saudi pilot Capt. Yasmeen Al-Maimani, 29, on Sunday.
Al-Maimani made her first official flight between Hail International Airport and Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Qassim, becoming the first Saudi woman to fly a commercial aircraft as a co-pilot with Nesma Airlines.
She received the opportunity after the airline advertised vacant positions for co-pilots on its New Pilots Program — 11 were accepted, including Al-Maimani, who has a commercial pilot’s license (CPL) from the US.
Following their acceptance into the program, the pilots underwent a four-stage training regimen at Prince Sultan Aviation Academy in Jeddah, including practice on multi-engine planes with multiple crews.
Ground training using an ATR 72-600 aircraft at Nesma Airlines’ training center in Hail followed, before progressing to simulators in Jakarta and Madrid.