Wadi Hanifa: A desert oasis running through Riyadh

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Wadi Hanifa: An oasis of relaxation and time out in Riyadh.
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Wadi Hanifa was once a waste disposal site and has been transformed into the largest natural open resort in the Kingdom.
Updated 29 June 2017

Wadi Hanifa: A desert oasis running through Riyadh

RIYADH: Once a waste disposal site, Wadi Hanifa is now a beautiful valley running a length of nearly 120 km from the northwest to the southeast of the capital.
Known in the pre-Islamic era as Wadi Al-Irdh, it was renamed Wadi Hanifa after the Bani Hanifa tribe that populated the area.
Riyadh grew substantially and expansion destroyed the environmental balance in the scenic valley, leading to erosion.
“The once fertile and scenic Wadi Hanifa suffered as the capital city rapidly expanded,” said a local, adding that the growing city used the river valley as a throughway for utility lines and a dumping ground for construction waste. Later, industrial activities were launched in the area, turning it into a dump for waste disposal.
In 1986, the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) launched a plan to turn the dump into a nature reserve, attracting local and foreign visitors, and encouraging investments. The redevelopment plan involved creating water channels, trails, and spots for visitors to observe the spectacular views the valley has to offer.
Riyadh’s first large sewage treatment facility channeled 400,000 to 650,000 cubic meters of runoff daily, creating an area of small lakes south of Riyadh. This area grew and a 100 km green corridor was created.
According to the ADA, the decision taken in 1986 proved to be a significant milestone as it helped transform the valley into the largest natural reserve in the Kingdom. The wetlands became a stop for migratory birds and a popular area for recreation.
The valley, located on the outskirts of the capital, has water channels, green corridors, walkways and picnic spots for visitors to enjoy the scenic beauty that includes orchards and farms, making it a major attraction for both Riyadh residents and visitors.
Abdullah Ahmad, who resides in the nearby Wadi Laban area, said: “Riyadh residents were in need of such a site in the city, having the opportunity to enjoy nature and a clean environment away from built-up places.”
Zakir Khan, a regular visitor to the natur reserve, said: “It’s a great place for a picnic. I go there all the time with my family for a barbecue… Surrounded by mountains and a lake, it is a beautiful and quite popular place among picnickers. The best part is, it is not even far from the city.”

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.