Visitors wander down memory lane at Janadriyah festival

The virtual tour also allows visitors to the festival to explore many of the Kingdom’s most popular attractions. (SPA)
Updated 04 January 2019

Visitors wander down memory lane at Janadriyah festival

  • Visitors get a glimpse into its famous museum and the way in which locals performing the national anthem are dressed up

JEDDAH: Visitors to this year’s Janadriyah festival can take a virtual tour around the Kingdom in just three hours.
Through the tour, visitors can get a comprehensive glimpse into the culture, customs, diverse history and dramatic landscapes defining the country’s 13 provinces. Folklore and traditional musical renditions specific to each region are performed in the backdrop.
Visitors begin the tour at the Makkah pavilion, which is decorated with makeshift landmarks of the historic city, including the Zamzam well, and has traditional Makkah craftsman demonstrating their skills.
At the Madinah pavilion, home to the Prophet’s Mosque and his final resting place, visitors can listen to El-Arish, a traditional storyteller, telling tales from the region’s golden age.
The pavilion includes an interactive virtual tour of 53 key historic sties of contention and triumph during the reign of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
From there, visitors are taken on a journey back to the 1950s in the Eastern Province. The pavilion is marked by a door mimicking the grand gates of the region’s most famous landmarks, including Tarout Castle, Al-Ahsa School, Qarah mountain and the Jawatha Mosque.
This virtual tour also allows visitors to explore many of the region's most popular attractions, including Liwan.
At the Asir pavilion, meanwhile, visitors can take a walk through a reconstruction of the region’s three major palaces, in which traditional designs have been mimicked and customs enacted.
At the pavilion of Al-Jouf, a region renowned for its olives, visitors smell the fruit and can view three folklore shows specific to the region, as well as a replica of the famous Omar Mosque minaret.
The Qassim pavilion contains a model of the region’s historic tower, a heritage palace and traditional Qassimi houses, while the Hail pavilion offers a fine art gallery and an enactment of the city’s women-only souk.
The pavilion exhibiting ways of life in the Kingdom’s Al-Baha region is designed to the letter. Visitors get a glimpse into its famous museum and the way in which locals performing the national anthem are dressed up.
Al-Baha homes are also renowned for their distinct ceilings and wall colors, which are painted throughout the pavilion. Visitors can also get a whiff of the scents of the region’s cuisine and aromatic plants.
The Jazan pavilion reflects the region’s distinct geographic character. Set against a mountainous backdrop to exemplify the region’s rugged landscape, the makeshift villages are surrounded by virtual agricultural terrains.
Finally, at the Najran pavilion, visitors can view renditions of the region’s Hama wells, as well as handicrafts produced by Najran locals.

Saudi Crown Prince takes Pakistan bond ‘to new level’

Updated 18 February 2019

Saudi Crown Prince takes Pakistan bond ‘to new level’

  • Asseri said Saudi Arabia has deferred payments on oil worth billions of US dollars from time to time in order to ease pressure on the Pakistan economy
  • Pakistan’s relatively young population is also hoping for a stronger relationship with the Kingdom

RIYADH: A major transformation is underway in Saudi Arabia’s economic relationship with Pakistan, according to Dr. Ali Awadh Asseri, a former ambassador to Islamabad.

In a wide-ranging interview with Arab News, the former envoy said greater interaction between business and the private sectors in both countries will take the historical bond “to a new level.” 

Asseri, who spent nine years in Islamabad and was the second-longest serving Saudi ambassador to the country, said: “We know that Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have always enjoyed an incomparable level of understanding and friendship based on religion, culture and values. There is a historical bond between the two countries. 

“I have no doubt that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is taking a cohesive approach to strengthen the relationship and take it to another level.” 

Asseri said that while Saudi Arabia and Pakistan cooperated closely on security matters, bilateral trade between the countries remained limited to about $4 billion. 

“We need to ... encourage the private sectors to interact more. We can help Pakistan’s industry and we need to become more involved in the trade sector. There are advanced industries and firms in Pakistan, and they have raw materials — it’s a good environment for investors.”

Asseri said Saudi Arabia has deferred payments on oil worth billions of US dollars from time to time in order to ease pressure on the Pakistan economy. The Kingdom is also making billion-dollar direct investments in the country in line with the China-Pakistan economic corridor. 

“I am happy to see a major transformation underway in Saudi-Pakistani economic relationships with our leadership and government deciding to invest in the economic development of Pakistan,” he said. 

The former ambassador said frequent official visits between the two countries were important. 

“I came back recently from Pakistan, and the vibe of the media, government and people was so optimistic. Pakistanis were excited about the crown prince’s visit. People hope it will bring great opportunities for the economy as well as strengthening the political and social ties between the two countries,” he said.

Asseri said Saudi Arabia and Pakistan had faced many challenges together in recent decades.

In 2001, during Asseri’s first year as Saudi ambassador in Pakistan, the 9/11 attacks on New York led to greater cooperation between Islamabad and Riyadh in dealing with terrorism.

The Kingdom had been closely involved with Pakistan since its independence, he said. “King Abdul Aziz sent King Saud and Prince Faisal to Pakistan at that time. So if we go back through history, we can see that this relationship is truly unique.” 

Asseri also highlighted the ties between the two countries on humanitarian issues, security and military issues, saying: “Pakistan has suffered serious security and humanitarian consequences of the decades-long war in Afghanistan, besides housing millions of Afghan refugees.

“Together Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have worked for peace in Afghanistan and will do whatever it takes to achieve this long-desired goal.”

Asseri said Pakistanis were quick to show their appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s assistance in the past regardless of the change in Pakistani leadership over the years. 

“The relationship is unique because it is between people. Such a relationship (will) keep growing with every generation.

“When Pakistan was in a difficult position in 2005 after a devastating earthquake, Saudi Arabia went out of its way to provide the support it needed. Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz and eight ministers visited Balochistan. Field hospitals were created with Saudi doctors treating people and performing surgery there.” 

Pakistan also has a deep loyalty to Saudi Arabia, Asseri said. “Pakistan has military expertise, and through cooperation between the two countries, it helped the Saudi military during its development.” 

“The Kingdom’s recent appointment of a Saudi commercial attache in Pakistan will also bolster the economic links between the two countries,” he said. 

“There are good minds in Pakistan and good products that could be manufactured in Saudi Arabia.”

Asseri said he is also optimistic that Saudi plans to build a major oil refinery in Gwadar will help create an “economic hub.” 

The former envoy said the Saudi crown prince’s visit to Pakistan will add to the relationship between the countries. 

Pakistan’s relatively young population is also hoping for a stronger relationship with the Kingdom. 

“Young Pakistanis who are advanced in the IT and industrial sectors are looking forward to helping and cooperating with Saudi Arabia, and sharing their experiences and knowledge,” he said.