Saudi Arabia’s city of roses welcomes visitors

Saudi Arabia’s city of roses welcomes visitors
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Taif’s pink roses have a sweet, strong aroma and it is rich in soft petals. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Saudi Arabia’s city of roses welcomes visitors
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A worker at the Bin Salman farm tosses freshly picked Damascena (Damask) roses in the air, used to produce rose water and oil, in the western Saudi city of Taif, on April 11, 2021. (AFP)
Saudi Arabia’s city of roses welcomes visitors
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A worker at the Bin Salman farm sits amidst freshly picked Damascena (Damask) roses in the air, used to produce rose water and oil, in the western Saudi city of Taif, on April 11, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 17 April 2021

Saudi Arabia’s city of roses welcomes visitors

Saudi Arabia’s city of roses welcomes visitors
  • I am very happy to be working as a tour guide as I am a nature and environment enthusiast and I feel very accomplished when I am entertaining the tourists. Awad Al-Talhi

TAIF: Every year in March and April, people flock to Taif city to enjoy the fragrance of its pink roses and the captivating landscape of the Rose Festival.
The festival takes visitors to the authentic rose gardens and fruit orchards, where they can explore the stages of flower development from picking, cooking, distillation, and finally turning them into products.
It is an annual highlight for Taif farmers as they are given the chance to introduce the aesthetic identity of the city’s nature.
“I am very happy to be working as a tour guide as I am a nature and environment enthusiast and I feel very accomplished when I am entertaining the tourists,” Awad Al-Talhi, a tour guide in Abdullah Al-Talhi’s farm that was established in 2008, told Arab News.
He added: “Taif has a diverse type of topography where you can see a beautiful landscape. It boasts a range of fantastic places and mountains to discover like you would not expect in Saudi Arabia.”
Al-Talhi’s farm is soon to be certified as fully organic, he said, as they do not use any chemicals when it comes to pesticides and fertilization.
“Beside flowers, we also have 19 types of fruits including apricots, peaches, pomegranate, figs, plums, and prickly pears.”
The farm oversees a captivating landscape from the top, which visitors can enjoy as they ascend the turret, offering them a full view overlooking other farms.
The area surrounding the farm is carpeted with 11,000 saplings of pink roses in every direction as far as the eye can see, as well as the mountains and rock formations of Al-Shafa — the highest mountain in the region.
The farm is located on a mountain peak, with a cozy wooden rest house nearby for visitors to the farm.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The festival takes visitors to the authentic rose gardens and fruit orchards, where they can explore the stages of flower development from picking, cooking, distillation, and finally turning them into products.

• Rose water is the prized product among the many bounties extracted from Taif roses. It has been used for centuries, especially in the Middle East, as its components are known for making the skin smooth and soft.

Rose water is the prized product among the many bounties extracted from Taif roses. It has been used for centuries, especially in the Middle East, as its components are known for making the skin smooth and soft.
Taif’s pink roses have a sweet, strong aroma and it is rich in soft petals. It was historically known as the “Damascus Flower” after it was brought to the Hijaz region over 500 years ago.
The roses are also luxury ingredients for many international perfume brands. During the tour in the farm, visitors will have the chance to have their faces splashed with rose mist to experience the fresh essence of the scented rose water.
Taif resident Abdulaziz Al-Malky, who was part of the tour, told Arab News: “I am really surprised with the amazing view here, flowers and fruit blossoms are everywhere. I have been living in Taif my whole life and I have not been fascinated this much before.”
City visitor Salsabela Alrehaily told Arab News that it was her debut visit to a rose farm. “I went to Alshyookh farm and rose factory, which has a store and a nice seating area as well as a penthouse cafe. Every corner of that place smells amazing,” she said, adding that the workers were friendly and welcoming.
“Going to Taif for hiking is amazing. My friends and I had a lovely walk near the lake of Ward Al-Shafa farm and we have collected some wildflowers like lavender, common sage, and other colorful flowers to dry as souvenirs,” she said. “It was very peaceful and not crowded.”
Alrehaily said one of the most thrilling activities was the rose shower: “They poured a bucket of flowers over our heads, which was fun. It looks great in pictures but I underestimated how heavy roses can be.”
Al-Talhi’s farm has a rose water factory in a large stone cottage, where visitors can explore the process of cooking and evaporating a vast number of roses until they produce an aromatic oil or water.


Saudi Arabia records 13 COVID-19 deaths, 1,020 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 13 COVID-19 deaths, 1,020 new cases
Updated 12 May 2021

Saudi Arabia records 13 COVID-19 deaths, 1,020 new cases

Saudi Arabia records 13 COVID-19 deaths, 1,020 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 908 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • The highest number of cases were recorded in Riyadh with 342

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 13 new COVID-19 related deaths on Wednesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,111.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 1,020 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 429,389 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 9,268 remain active and 1,352 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 342, followed by Makkah with 276, the Eastern Province with 133, Madinah recorded 56 and Asir confirmed 55 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 908 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 413,010.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions, especially during the Eid Al-FItr holiday, which starts on Thursday.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 160 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.33 million.


Saudi Arabia supports India to help combat COVID-19 — foreign minister

Saudi Arabia supports India to help combat COVID-19 — foreign minister
Updated 12 May 2021

Saudi Arabia supports India to help combat COVID-19 — foreign minister

Saudi Arabia supports India to help combat COVID-19 — foreign minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Wednesday telephoned his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Saudi Press Agency reported.
During the call, Prince Faisal affirmed the Kingdom stands in solidarity with India to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
They also discussed bilateral relations, aspects of joint cooperation between the two countries, and regional and international developments.


King Salman: Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s actions, violence in Jerusalem

King Salman: Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s actions, violence in Jerusalem
Updated 56 min 8 sec ago

King Salman: Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s actions, violence in Jerusalem

King Salman: Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s actions, violence in Jerusalem
  • Speaking in a call with Pakistani PM Imran Khan, king says Saudi Arabia stands by the Palestinian people

RIYADH: King Salman said Saudi Arabia condemned Israel’s actions in Jerusalem and the acts of violence committed by Israeli forces at Al-Aqsa mosque.
His comments came during a phone call with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday to discuss the Israeli attacks in Jerusalem, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
King Salman said the Kingdom stands by the Palestinian people in order to obtain their legitimate rights.
During the call, Khan extended greetings to the king on the advent of Eid Al-Fitr, which starts on Thursday. The king thanked the premier and reciprocated the sentiments.
They also discussed the “distinguished relations between their two countries, and reviewed the latest regional and international developments.”


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman directs donation to rebuild Ibn Al-Khatib hospital in Iraq

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman directs donation to rebuild Ibn Al-Khatib hospital in Iraq
Updated 12 May 2021

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman directs donation to rebuild Ibn Al-Khatib hospital in Iraq

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman directs donation to rebuild Ibn Al-Khatib hospital in Iraq
  • Saudi embassy in Baghdad said the gesture was a gift from King Salman to the Iraqi people
  • At least 82 people were killed and 110 injured after a fire broke out on April 24

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered to rebuild a hospital in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, that was destroyed in a fire.
At least 82 people were killed and 110 injured after a fire broke out on April 24 at the Ibn Al-Khatib hospital that was designated for COVID-19 patients.
The Saudi embassy in Iraq made the announcement of the king’s directives “based on the ties of brotherhood, good neighborliness, and the historical relations between the two countries and peoples,” SPA said.
The embassy said the gesture was a gift from King Salman to the Iraqi people and to stand by them following the hospital fire incident.
Saudi Arabia also said it will take on critical cases to provide them with medical care in the Kingdom’s hospitals at the king’s expense.


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman greets Saudis, Muslims around the world on eve of Eid Al-Fitr

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman greets Saudis, Muslims around the world on eve of Eid Al-Fitr
Updated 12 May 2021

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman greets Saudis, Muslims around the world on eve of Eid Al-Fitr

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman greets Saudis, Muslims around the world on eve of Eid Al-Fitr
  • King Salman said this Eid is an occasion to overcome the ordeal that the world has suffered from COVID-19
  • Saudi Arabia has been working to reject extremism and combat terrorism, the king said

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman extended greetings on Wednesday to Saudi citizens and residents and Muslims all over the world on the occasion of Eid Al-Fitr.
The statement was delivered by Acting Minister of Information Majid Al-Qasabi on behalf of the king.
The king said this Eid is an occasion to overcome the ordeal that the world has suffered from the health, social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
King Salman said he was “optimistic about the positive steps in place to achieve stability in the Arab world, so that security and prosperity prevail for all parts of the globe.”
Saudi Arabia, since its establishment by King Abdulaziz, has been working to reject extremism and combat terrorism, and has always stood with the international community to serve world security and restore peace, the king said.
On Muslim pilgrimage, the king said the Kingdom strives to serve and care for worshippers and pilgrims for Hajj and Umrah at the Two Holy Mosques, “a service that we are honored to do,” adding: “We are proud of our daughters’ contribution within the Hajj and Umrah security teams.”
He said the Saudi government has taken several measures this year and focused their attention on protecting them and providing them with the highest safety standards in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Combating this pandemic that has befallen the world requires all of us to adhere to the health measures announced by the Ministry of Health, including social distancing, and the need to receive the vaccine, which will work to immunize our dear community of citizens and residents,” the king said.
He added that the Kingdom will continue to work within the international community to confront this epidemic, stressing the Kingdom’s humanitarian role in preserving the achievements and to completely overcome all the effects of the pandemic.
King Salman also thanked those who are stationed in the military, civil and health agencies for spending Eid far away from their families.