DIRIYAH: A festival celebrating the Kingdom’s knights and their horses is being held in March in Diriyah.
The “Ubayyah” Festival is inspired by Arabian thoroughbreds and is named after the favorite horse of King Abdul Aziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, who rode it into battles that led to the establishment of the Kingdom.
Diriyah is home to Al-Turaif district, which was built in 1744 and is known as one of the largest clay cities in the world. It was registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2010 and is one of five Saudi sites listed.
The Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) is working with the festival’s organizing committee represented by the president of the governing council, Prince Salman bin Faisal bin Salman, and DGDA’s CEO Jerry Inzerillo, to deliver the event.
“We are excited to celebrate the return of Ubayyah — the Kingdom’s most famous horse — to its home in the cradle of Saudi culture and heroism. We hope that this cooperation succeeds in reflecting the Kingdom’s great heritage where horses have always been a symbol of honor and membership,” said Inzerillo.
The Turaif neighborhood has an equine museum that showcases stories about the bond between a knight and his horse, as well as the cultural heritage and traditions of Arabian knights.
“This step is a turning point in the Saudi Arabian Horse Festival Ubayyah, and following the success of last year’s first edition, we aim to continue being distinguished in Diriyah, in line with the directives of our leadership and (the reform plan) Saudi Vision 2030,” said the prince.
The event aims to promote cooperation in areas that raise awareness about the beauty of thoroughbred Arabian horses, Diriyah’s legacy and its mission to adhere to traditional Saudi cultural values.
The festival will include activities such as an auction, art competitions, and live performances from singers and actors.
Last December Diriyah hosted an equestrian tournament with Olympic and World Cup qualification points up for grabs.