Record-breaking flower power carpets Saudi Arabia’s Yanbu festival

The festival aims to allow people to be environmentally aware of different plants and flowers and how to grow them. (AN photo)
Updated 07 March 2018

Record-breaking flower power carpets Saudi Arabia’s Yanbu festival

MADINAH: More than a million visitors are expected to attend the 24-day Yanbu Flower and Garden Festival, which opened on Thursday, and view the largest flower carpet in the world.
Already, in the first three days since opening, there have been 110,000 visitors to the largest flower festival in the Kingdom on the Red Sea coast.
Saleh Al-Zahrani, director of the Operation and Maintenance Department at the Royal Commission for Yanbu, said this year a flower tapestry using thousands of different colored blooms have been used to represent hills, which spread over 45,000 square meters.
Al-Zahrani said that Saudi Arabia regained world record for the largest carpet of flowers. “Reclaiming its title from 2014, the carpet of flowers spreads over an area of 16,300 square meters. Entering the Guinness Book of Records further motivated us to move forward so as to be recognized on the world scene of flower festivals,” he added.
In addition to providing beautiful displays, the festival, organized by the Royal Commission for Yanbu, aims to allow people to be environmentally aware of different plants and flowers and how to grow them.
Twenty-six artists from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Georgia, and France will be taking part in the competition to paint a picture of the Saudi team’s participation in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
“We appreciate the authorities arranging such a wonderful show,” said visitor Nasser Al Juhani. “They have created more space so that it will not look overcrowded and delivered a unique kind of recreational activity for the residents of the region.”


Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. The 86-year-old is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. (Supplied)
Updated 15 August 2020

Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

  • The Syrian Qur’an writer, regarded as one of the world’s finest calligraphers, is on the road to recovery following his recent hospital admission

MAKKAH: Syrian calligrapher Uthman Taha is in good health and recovering at home after a 13-day stay in a hospital where he was treated for what he and his wife initially suspected to be the novel coronavirus COVID-19, although he ultimately tested negative for the virus.

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. His wife, Fatimah Umm Al-Nour, said Taha had a chest infection during his stay at the hospital and stressed that he had been “careful and took all the precautionary measures” and that he had not left the house for five months before his hospital visit.
The 86-year-old calligrapher is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. She praised his doctors, who have consistently checked in with the couple since Taha returned home, and added that she has tested negative for COVID-19 too.
Taha is regarded as one of the most skilled calligraphers in the Arab world. Al-Nour told Arab News that he continues to practice calligraphy daily.
Taha, who has written the Qur’an 12 times at the King Fahd Complex, was born in 1934 and attended school in Aleppo. His father was also a skilled calligrapher, who used the Ruq’ah script, and Taha studied with several of Syria’s finest calligraphers including Mohammed Al-Mawlawi, Mohammed Al-Khatib, Hussein Al-Turki, and Ibrahim Al-Rifai.
When he moved to Damascus for university, Taha began to learn other scripts, including Thuluth, Naskh (in which he is now considered a master), and Farsi. He received his calligraphy certificate from master calligrapher Hamed Al-Amadi in 1973.
He arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1988, and began work as a calligrapher at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. He writes the Qur’an in the Ottoman script, and copies of his work have been distributed throughout the Islamic world.
What makes Taha’s work unique is that each page of the Qur’an that he writes concludes at the end of a verse. The secret, he explains, is to simplify the words — which is the origin of the Kufic script in which the Qur’an has been written since the days of Prophet Muhammad’s companions — keeping the letters close to one another.
Taha spent years perfecting his technique of evenly distributing the words in every line so that the space between the lettering is consistent throughout every page of every book, which means eliminating many of the script combinations that make such consistency difficult.
He explained to Arab News that when he is working on his Qur’an calligraphy he is transported: “When I begin writing the Holy Qur’an, I resort to solitude to allow myself to be invested in the verses and their interpretation, forgetting about the world around me,” he said. “I wish the verses about Jannah (heaven) would never end, and my hand trembles when I write the verses about Jahannam (hell).”