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.


Sunsilk’s Color Run returns to Riyadh

‘The Happiest 5k on the Planet’ is set to turn Riyadh colorful on Oct. 26. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 56 min 31 sec ago

Sunsilk’s Color Run returns to Riyadh

  • The General Entertainment Authority is bringing The Color Run back to the Kingdom following the success of the Alkhobar event

RIYADH: The Color Run presented by Sunsilk is returning to Saudi Arabia! The countdown to “The Happiest 5k on the Planet” is on, with The Color Run bursting onto the streets of Riyadh on Oct. 26.
The event is part of the GEA’s efforts to attract top entertainment to Saudi Arabia. The Color Run — now the largest running series in the world — will be making its vibrant return to the Kingdom’s two biggest cities, with over 15,000 expected to participate in each location.
The Riyadh event follows the Kingdom’s extremely popular inaugural Color Run, which took place in Alkhobar in March and saw over 10,000 people run, jog, walk and skip their way along the 5 km course.
To date, The Color Run has been hosted in more than 40 countries with over 7 million runners participating in the event. It is untimed and sees thousands of participants covered from head to toe in an array of different colors throughout the course before collecting their medals at the finish line. The only rule is that those taking part must cross the finish line covered in color and have fun while doing it!
The non-competitive run is not only an opportunity to create perfect memories — and Instagram posts — but also serves as a celebration of health, happiness and individuality. The GEA, a core pillar under the Saudi government, is supporting the event as part of its continued efforts to enrich the lifestyle of residents as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plans and in line with the nation’s Quality of Life Program 2020.
The first of the upcoming events will be hosted as part of Riyadh Season, considered to be the biggest entertainment event in the capital city, with activities catering to sports, music, theater, fashion and much more.
Ahmed Al-Mehmadi, executive director of communications at the GEA said: “We are thrilled to be bringing The Color Run presented by Sunsilk to Riyadh. We witnessed an incredible turnout in Alkhobar and we have every confidence this event will attract even more people who want to engage in a healthy activity that combines fun and exercise. Its vibrancy matches the aims of the GEA and the Quality of Life Program 2020 objectives to support and create new options that boost participation across cultural, entertainment and sports activities.”
Kristen Biegler, spokesperson for The Color Run said: “Since its inception in 2012, The Color Run has had become a global phenomenon, and we are very excited to be returning to Saudi Arabia. The response in Alkhobar was truly amazing and we are extremely excited to bring ‘The Happiest 5k on the Planet’ to Riyadh. Our top rule is that everyone has fun — it is up to you whether you run, jog, walk or even skip your way to the finish line.”
Once the 5 km is over, the fun will continue at the Finish Festival, a larger-than-life celebration equipped with music, dance-offs, fun and games and massive color throws, which create millions of vivid color combinations!