JEDDAH: The first edition of the Darb Zubaida (or Zubaida Trail) festival will be launched on Nov. 28 under the patronage of Hail Gov. Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saad bin Abdul Aziz, who is also the chairman of the region’s Tourism Development Council.
The event will be held in the historic city of Faid in Hail, with the support of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), the Tourism Development Council and the Tourism Development Committee in Faid.
The SCTH regional director general, Ziad bin Ayada Al-Masyoul, said the festival aims to revive the historic Darb Zubaida as a pathway for pilgrims and commercial convoys departing from Kufa in Iraq to Makkah.
“It also highlights heritage tourism and culture in the city of Faid that is the third largest historical city after Makkah and Kufa, and it is located halfway between both the cities,” he said.
Al-Masyoul said the first edition of the festival includes a number of activities like a camel march, cultural and scientific forums, calligraphy and photography exhibitions etc.
Zubaida Trail, or Al-Kufi pilgrimage route, runs from Kufa in Iraq to Makkah, passing through the north of the Kingdom and its center.
It stretches more than 1,400 km in the Kingdom and passes through the following five areas: Northern Borders Region, Hail, Al-Qassim, Madinah and Makkah.
The trail was listed among the projects of the Two Holy Mosques program to care for the Kingdom’s cultural heritage, executed by the SCTH among its initiatives in the National Transformation Program.
Zubaida Trail was named after Zubaydah bin Jafar, wife of the Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid for her charitable work, in addition to the number of stations she ordered to be established along the trail.
Zubaida Trail was a trade route in the pre-Islamic era, but its importance increased with the dawn of Islam and it flourished during the time of the early caliphate. According to the report by the SCTH, the trail reached its peak during the Abbasid Caliphate between the years 750 and 1258, when a road and pavements were installed.
Stations were also installed, wells, pools and dams were established and houses were built. Twenty-seven major stations have been identified, most importantly Al-Sheihiyat, Al-Jumaima, Faid, Al-Rabadha, That-Erq and Khuraba.