ThePlace: Al-Ahsa — the largest date-palm oasis in the world

Date harvest in Al-Ahsa. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 16 October 2018

ThePlace: Al-Ahsa — the largest date-palm oasis in the world

  • Al-Ahsa is particularly famous for the khalasah date, which is routinely named in polls as the best date in the world.
  • In the Islamic tradition, dates are the food the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ate when he broke his fast.

AL-AHSA, Saudi Arabia: Dates are a staple in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East, both in their own right and as a common ingredient in local dishes. In particular, they form an important part of the diet of Muslims during Ramadan, when they are traditionally eaten every evening to break the fast.
Al-Ahsa, in eastern Saudi Arabia, is the largest date-palm oasis in the world, with about 3 million trees spread across 30,000 acres. It is particularly famous for the khalasah date — known in Saudi Arabia as khlas, a word that loosely translates as “quintessential” — which is routinely named in polls as the best date in the world.
In the Islamic tradition, dates are the food the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ate when he broke his fast.
The date palm, called “nakhl” in Arabic, and the fruit, called “tamr,” are mentioned more than any other fruit-bearing plant in the Qur’an, and are symbols closely associated with Islam and Muslims.
Date palms are now grown extensively around the world. There are about 240 to 360 varieties, and the flavor of each is greatly influenced by the soil and weather conditions in the area where they are grown. Amir Hajj, Saidy, Khadrawy and Medjool are some of the finest varieties, known for their rich flavors and superior quality.
The Ajwah variety, however, has particular religious and medicinal significance. The Prophet said: “Ajwah dates are from Paradise.”
Every year, Al-Ahsa hosts a dates festival in an area covering 3,600 square meters, featuring government agencies and companies that grow and sell dates.
The strategic vision of the festival is for Al-Ahsa to become a focal point for the dates industry, by transforming them from simply being an agricultural item to a distinctive product for investment, tourism and the economy.
The festival aims to develop the concepts of agricultural marketing, quality production and communication between farmers and trader.


KSA library exhibits documents on Saudi-Russian ties

The collection includes letters exchanged between Soviet leader Stalin and King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud (right) when he was minister of foreign affairs during the reign of his father. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 13 min 42 sec ago

KSA library exhibits documents on Saudi-Russian ties

  • The library is one of the most important institutions in the Arab world interested in collecting and documenting intellectual publications related to the history of King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and the Kingdom

RIYADH: In conjunction with the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Saudi Arabia, the King Abdul Aziz Public Library exhibited several of its publications, most importantly a book titled “Saudi-Soviet Relations 1926-1938,” which contains 30 documents from Soviet archives dealing with the founding of the Kingdom by King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud and relations between Moscow and Riyadh.
The documents, preserved in the Russian State Library and Moscow Historical Library, provide in-depth information on Saudi-Russian relations including correspondence, letters and telegrams, the document recognizing the establishment of the Kingdom and reports on politics and trade.
The collection also includes letters exchanged between Soviet leader Stalin and King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud when he was minister of foreign affairs during the reign of his father.
Russian Prince Alexis Scherbatow’s book on purebred Arabian horses — which covers efforts to restore their importance in the region — was also displayed.
The library is one of the most important institutions in the Arab world interested in collecting and documenting intellectual publications related to the history of King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and the Kingdom.