KSA’s King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival attracts visitors from around the world

The King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival seeks to connect the new generation to the ancient Arab heritage. (SPA)
Updated 26 February 2019
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KSA’s King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival attracts visitors from around the world

  • The event focuses on Saudi cultural heritage, with camels having played an important role in the region

JEDDAH: The third King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival, in the southern Sayahdah district of Al-Dahnaa southeast of Riyadh, has attracted camel lovers and camel racing enthusiasts from Gulf and Arab countries.

The bleachers of the festival and the Saudi Camel Village were crowded with participants and visitors enjoying the event.

The Omani Royal Camel Corps performed four shows in the festival’s open-air theater while playing their own music amid considerable interaction from the audience.

The show began with the band riding on camels and presenting different formations in a circular shape, with seven camels moving in a circular motion and running fast, led by one man who controlled them with long ropes in a simulation of circus horses. 

There was also a show of Al-Azi art, which is attributed to the skill of praise and pride, in addition to a final show that gathered the camels in one place and had a camel with a banner that said “Thank you,” while another camel raised a bouquet of roses with its mouth to signal the end of the shows. 

Mohammed bin Khalifah, an Emirati who has been attending the festival since it began on Feb. 5, praised the event: “After having attended the previous King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival, I have come to this year’s festival with my friends and noticed that it has significantly changed.” 

He said that he attended several camel beauty contests but had never seen camels that were as beautiful as the ones at the King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival.

“The beauty contest is made unique by the exciting competition between camel owners to the point that we are following all the results on the Camel Club’s Twitter account,” he said. 

Egypt participated in the camel races at the festival with 29 camels. The head of the competitions committee at the Egyptian Camel Federation, Salama Abu El-Nada, said that camel corps have come from all Egyptian governorates. 

Abu El-Nada said that the participation of the Egyptian camel corps will be at the end of the festival from March 11 to 20.

He expressed his pride that the Egyptian camel corps will be participating in one of the most important camel racing events in the world.

On the sidelines of the festival, the Camel Museum exhibits the history of camels in Islam and Arab countries and how they evolved throughout history.

The museum aims to identify and review the history of camels and the stages of their evolution through murals decorating the museum.

The museum also features a mummified statuette of Khuzama, one of the camels participating in past editions of the festival. It represents the beauty of camels and the use of the latest means of mummification. 

The Camel Museum included an overview of camel models, types, and benefits, as well as paintings and drawings made of camel hair, showing the beauty and detail of its craftsmanship.


Saudi capital to get world’s biggest park in $23bn project

Updated 14 min 44 sec ago
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Saudi capital to get world’s biggest park in $23bn project

  • The project will see 7.5m trees planted and the creation of the world's biggest park
  • There will be 70,000 jobs created across the four major projects

RIYADH: The world’s biggest park will be created in Saudi Arabia as part of a $22.9bn project that promises to create vast open green areas in Riyadh, creating thousands of new jobs, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday

The aim of the project is to “significantly improve the lives of its citizens, transform the city into an attractive destination and make it one of the world’s most livable cities,” the report added.

The four projects - King Salman Park, Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh and Riyadh Art – will complement the Saudi Vision 2030’s “Quality of Life” Program and are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to create sustainable cities and communities, while driving urgent action against climate change.

Developed with a government investment of $23 bn, the four projects will offer opportunities worth $15bn for the private sector to invest in residential, commercial, recreational and wellness projects.

As well as creating tens of thousands of new jobs, the project will also help boost efforts to improve the city’s health and wellbeing with a commitment to wellness, health, sports, culture and the arts, underpinned by a commitment to environmental sustainability.

Measuring 13.4 square kilometers, King Salman Park will be the world’s biggest park, with residential areas, hotels, and will also feature a Royal Arts Complex, theaters, museums, cinemas, sports venues, water features, restaurants and an 18-hole Royal Golf Course.

The park will also boast several landmark assets, including the Riyadh Fountains and a Vertical Garden. As an environmentally sustainable urban development, it will offer opportunities for the international community in arts, entertainment and culture.

Image: riyadhgreen.sa

One of the world’s largest urban greening projects, Green Riyadh will increase Riyadh’s green cover with 7.5 million trees.

The massive planting project will help increase the city’s green cover from 1.5 percent of Riyadh’s total area to 9.1 percent – that’s approximately 541 square kilometers, by 2030.

Image: riyadhgreen.sa

Green space availability will increase to 28 square meters per capita from the current 1.7 square meters per capita, compared to the World Health Organization’s recommendation of 9 square meters per capita.

Green Riyadh will help reduce average ambient temperature by 2C, and will use more than 1 million cubic meters of treated sewage effluent daily for irrigation, for the sustainability of water resources in the city.

Image: riyadhgreen.sa

Sports Boulevard  - a health and wellness destination in the heart of the city- will feature a 135 kilometer-long professional cycling track covering the city and the surrounding valleys, the first of its kind in the region.

Adding 3.5 million square meters of new open space across the city, this grand project will also feature a sports pavilion, riding stables and athletics tracks.

Riyadh Art will be the world’s largest government investment in public art and will establish the city as “a gallery without walls” through a world-class interactive public arts program.

With 1,000 artworks curated through 10 separate programs and an annual arts festival, this project will feature large-scale art works with the aim of drawing art lovers and creators from around the world.

The projects are part of Saudi Arbia’s strategy to meet their Vision 2030 goals, they are expected to provide 70,000 new job opportunities.

Construction work is due to start in the second half of 2019.