Marathon of Color keeps Saudi Arabia’s Taif Season on its feet

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Actors depict 50 knights and 100 camel riders who transport visitors back to the pre-1500 era. (SPA)
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The Arab Neighborhood, which contains pavilions for 11 Arab countries, is the latest addition to Souk Okaz, helping to confirm Taif’s status as one of the most important Arab tourism destinations. (SPA)
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Actors depict 50 knights and 100 camel riders who transport visitors back to the pre-1500 era. (SPA)
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Actors depict 50 knights and 100 camel riders who transport visitors back to the pre-1500 era. (SPA)
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Actors depict 50 knights and 100 camel riders who transport visitors back to the pre-1500 era. (SPA)
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Actors depict 50 knights and 100 camel riders who transport visitors back to the pre-1500 era. (SPA)
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Actors depict 50 knights and 100 camel riders who transport visitors back to the pre-1500 era. (SPA)
Updated 16 August 2019

Marathon of Color keeps Saudi Arabia’s Taif Season on its feet

  • Event also hosts exciting activities, including live performances and dazzling fireworks

JEDDAH: The General Authority for Entertainment (GEA) is presenting the Marathon of Color event at the Taif Season. The event, held between Aug. 15 and 17 on Al-Hada-Taif Road, is a sporting and artistic celebration full of diversity, competitive running races and color.

The marathon starts at 4 p.m. each day with several tracks. The first day starts with the family path, which extends for 4 km for 4 hours; the second day hosts the amateur path, which goes for 8 km for 2 hours, and the third and final day witnesses the path of professionals, which runs for 21 km for 6 hours.

Participants on the tracks are divided according to different age groups. Racers in the professional category must be at least 17, in the amateur category they need to be 15 and above, while the children must be accompanied by their parents to participate in the family race. People with special needs can participate in wheelchairs on the 4-km path.

The events will be accompanied by drumming and musical performances. Winners will be honored during the marathon with medals, marathon participation certificates and valuable prizes.

The marathon also hosts exciting activities for individuals and families including food carts, live performances and dazzling fireworks.

The Marathon of Color is part of the GEA’s plan to organize competitions that integrate sport into daily life and improve a sense of community.

Participants can register in the Marathon of Color through the following link: www.taifmarathon.com

 

Arab and foreign films

Taif Season is enjoying the return of cinema in more than 70 events, where the latest and most famous Arab and foreign films will be shown. The screenings are part of an open-air show, perfect for the wonderful atmosphere and moderate weather at the resort.

The cinema was launched in Taif with four daily shows, each hosting up to 150 people, to accommodate the growing demand. A range of distinctive and modern movies, suitable for the whole family, will be shown. Screenings will be updated every 6 days.

The first week features the Egyptian film “Saba Al Baramba,” starring Ramez Galal, Gamila Awad, Maha Abu Ouf, Bayoumi Fouad and a number of Egyptian stars. It will also show the American film “Men In Black:  International,” starring Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson and other famous Hollywood actors.

At the beginning of the second week, the cartoon film “Toy Story 4,” which attracted critical acclaim around the world, will be shown. The famous Disney film “Aladdin” will also be screened.

 

Egyptian pavilion

The Egyptian pavilion, which is currently held in the 13th edition of Souk Okaz in the Taif Season, has attracted a large number of visitors. The pavilion is found in the Arab neighborhood, which includes eleven Arab countries. Visitors have enjoyed the unique atmosphere with popular folklore, art, delicious dishes and famous products.

They are transported directly to the pulse of Egyptian life. Guests can discover the famous Egyptian markets, with their special products specially brought from Cairo, Alexandria and Nubia.

The pavilion is also characterized by authentic art with folklore bands from all over Egypt, monologue performances, as well as concerts on the weekend.

Egyptian cafes and shops have witnessed a huge turnout after emulating the atmosphere of their homeland, especially those who opened their doors with the launch of Souk Okaz. 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The marathon starts at 4 p.m. each day with several tracks.
  • The first day starts with the family path, which extends for 4 km for 4 hours.
  • The second day hosts the amateur path, which goes for 8 km for 2 hours.
  • The third and final day witnesses the path of professionals, which runs for 21 km for 6 hours.
  • The latest and most famous Arab and foreign films to be screened. The UAE and Egyptian pavilions at Souk Okaz give visitors a warm welcome.

 

Emirati pavilion 

The UAE pavilion in the Arab Neighborhood in Souk Okaz gives visitors a warm welcome, greeting them with a spectacle that embodies the country’s honorable history and bright present. The pavilion represents an Emirati old quarter, with markets, products and distinctive folklore.

Guests can see Emirati folk art in the spacious arena, with original Arab music and dancing, including the traditional yola dance, war dances and popular games for children. 

The Arab Neighborhood, which contains pavilions for 11 Arab countries, is the latest addition to Souk Okaz, helping to confirm Taif’s status as one of the most important Arab tourism destinations. The neighborhood is hosting families from all Arab countries throughout August. 




Actors depict 50 knights and 100 camel riders who transport visitors back to the pre-1500 era. (SPA)

Fursan Al-Watan Club 

Okaz Avenue is depicting Arab life in different eras, portrayed by the theatrical performances of the Fursan Al-Watan Club (knights of the homeland) and a camel convoy.

Club supervisor Daifallah Al-Jaeed said that the scenes depict 50 knights and 100 camel riders who transport visitors back to the pre-1500 era.

Al-Jaeed added that the historical atmosphere was enhanced by the pristine display of Okaz Avenue, the historical markets and the work of the performers. He said that horsemen roam around the market wearing knights’ costumes, and the camel convoys tour the market all day telling stories about commerce.

International expertise and designers from Arab countries were employed to enhance the costumes for Fursan Al-Watan. Shields, swords, spears and arrows were all made from material authentic to the pre-1500 era.


Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year

Awareness campaigns highlight the importance of trees. (Shutterstock)
Updated 21 February 2020

Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year

  • The fine for cutting down a tree can reach SR5,000 ($1,333) while the fine for transporting logs is SR10,000

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia loses 120,000 hectares of trees every year through destruction and tree logging.
Trees help stop desertification because they are a stabilizer of soil. In the Arabian Peninsula, land threatened by desertification ranges from 70 to 90 percent. A national afforestation campaign was launched in Saudi Arabia last October, and there is a national plan set to run until this April.
The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said that although natural vegetation across the country had suffered in the past four decades, modern technologies such as satellites and drones could be used to track down individuals or businesses harming the Kingdom’s vegetation.
“Harsh penalties should be imposed on violators such as the seizure or confiscation of transport and hefty fines,” Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sugair, chairman of the Environmental Green Horizons Society, told Arab News.
These were long-term solutions and they needed coordination with authorities to ensure warehouses and markets did not stock logs or firewood, he said. Another solution was sourcing an alternative product from overseas that was of high quality and at a reasonable price. A third was to provide support to firewood and coal suppliers.
“The general public needs to be more aware of the importance of trees and should have a strong sense of responsibility toward these trees,” Al-Sugair added.
“They should also stop buying firewood in the market. We can also encourage investment in wood production through agricultural holdings as well as implement huge afforestation projects and irrigate them from treated sewage water.”
The fine for cutting down a tree can reach SR5,000 ($1,333) while the fine for transporting logs is SR10,000. These fines could not be implemented as they should be because there were no available staff to monitor and catch violators and, to make matters worse said Al-Sugair, there was a weak level of coordination between authorities.
Most of the Kingdom’s regions have suffered in some way from tree felling, and some places no longer have trees. These violations are rampant in the south and Madinah regions, as well as in Hail and Al-Nafud Desert.
Riyadh is the most active and the largest market for firewood. Many people in Al-Qassim use firewood as do restaurants in some parts of Saudi Arabia.
Omar Al-Nefaee, a microbiology professor at the Ministry of Education in Taif, said the reason behind the widescale destruction of the environment could be attributed to a supply shortage of imported firewood.
“Tree logging causes an environmental disequilibrium,” he told Arab News. “The Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Water has launched an initiative raising public awareness on the issue and is asking people not to use local firewood. Several awareness campaigns have been launched for the same purpose to educate people about the importance of using imported wood instead of the local wood in order to protect the Kingdom’s vegetation.”
Official reports warn that the Kingdom has lost 80 percent of its vegetation and that the drop will have a detrimental effect on its biodiversity, as well as causing great damage to the environment.
The general public should use other heating options during the winter and stop using firewood, Al-Nefaee said.
Some local studies have called for farms that can produce wood from plants that do not consume too much water and do not affect vegetation, while at the same time reducing the pressure on other regions in the Kingdom that are rich in animal resources.
Falih Aljuhani, who runs a business that imports wood from Georgia, encouraged Saudi firms to import wood from the Balkans because it was a competitive market and the trees had low carbon percentages.