Rose Village blooms as Taif offers ‘a global touch of joy’

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Visitors to the village not only learn about the city’s traditional handicrafts, but also take part in the making of local traditional handmade products. (SPA photos)
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Updated 21 August 2019

Rose Village blooms as Taif offers ‘a global touch of joy’

  • Festival of art, crafts and music brings more than 10,000 visitors daily, organizers say

TAIF: Taif Season may have turned the whole city into a magnet for local and regional visitors, but it is the Ward (Rose) Village that is proving to be one of the most popular attractions, bringing an average of 10,000 people to Arrudaf Park every day. According to village spokesman Naif Al-Damouk, people are thirsty for entertainment and a constant flow of visitors arrives every day from 5 p.m. to almost midnight.
“By the end of August, when the total number of those who visited our village is disclosed, I am sure the figures will be surprising. For the time being, we can say that we receive about 10,000 people per day. The exact number will be announced at the end of Taif Season,” Al-Damouk said.
More than 90 percent of visitors said they were satisfied with activities at the village, he added.
Ward Village blends nature with art, offering eye-catching dance performances as well as music and fragrant roses at the summer resort.
Al-Damouk said that some of Europe’s leading entertainment troupes and bands invited to Taif Season are creating “an atmosphere with a global touch of joy for visitors throughout August.”
“Some activities are repeated three times a day to cater for the flow of visitors who come at different times,” he said.
Visitors to Ward Village at Taif’s well-known Arrudaf Park can enjoy a variety of entertainment experiences, with many creative events designed to appeal to family members of all ages. Among the most popular attractions are the “horrible roses.”
“The horrible rose shows offer a fun-filled experience, with multiple rooms, dim lighting, sound effects and characters from horror movies and others dressed in floral costumes. The surprises make visitors’ experiences unforgettable,” Al-Damouk said.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Around 10,000 people visit the Ward Village daily.

• Some of Europe’s leading entertainment troupes and bands are enthralling visitors.

• A wide range of entertaining activities is underway.

Other activities include the rose lab, where visitors can learn about the rose oil industry from the moment a rose is picked through distillation, condensation and, finally, bottling.
Visitors to the village not only learn about the city’s traditional handicrafts, but also take part in the making of local traditional handmade products.
In compliance with Saudi Vision 2030, Ward Village is supporting and encouraging participation by skilled and productive families through the Bar’a (Adroit) initiative.
“The initiative has invited craftsmen from around the Kingdom to show their craftsmanship and display their products to visitors. Visitors can also take part in making some products, and then buy them as a wonderful reminder of their beautiful days during the Taif season,” he said.
Over the past several years, attitudes have changed dramatically in Taif, a city that is home mainly to tribal members. People have accepted change and even seem to want more of it, proving that the only barrier to greater openness was the so-called religious police.     
Khaled Al-Zahrani, an educationalist, told Arab News that he “can’t believe that was his city.”
Members of the religious police were strict, especially when it came to sitting close to families, talking to women, or playing music in public, he said.
“I remember when we used to come to this area (Arrudaf) and there were only open spaces for young men to play football, and piles of rocks here and there,” he said.
Al-Zahrani recalled that one of his friends was a good lute player, and some other friends agreed to meet him and enjoy a night playing music at Arrudaf.
“While our friend was cautiously tuning his instrument, we were listening and looking around in fear that a religious police patrol would pass us. Some police were lenient, but others were hardhearted. They could take us to their centers and treat us as if we were worthless persons simply for playing music in public,” he said.
Now people are free to attend activities and enjoy music events at the park, Al-Zahrani said. “We are back to normal,” he said.

Visitors flock to the Ward Village (Rose Village)


Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.