The Janadriya Heritage & Cultural Festival inaugurated its activities last Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at Janadriya village, 45 km north of Riyadh, and will end on March 18, 2009. The opening ceremony included a camel race in which 500 contestants participated.
In the heritage village, visitors can stroll through history and watch blacksmiths smelting iron and hammering out swords and daggers, metal smiths creating traditional brass and copper coffee pots, potters using a traditional foot-powered wheel, tailors handsewing cloaks, and basket weavers shaping palm fronds. In addition, there are folkloric performances; traditional dancers performing the Ardha, the national sword dance; singers; and poetry recitals. Poetry is considered to be one of the highest expressions of literary art in Saudi Arabia. It has been passed down from the days of the Bedouin where travelers would gather around a storyteller to hear tales of love, bravery, and chivalry. Moreover, regions and governorates participating in the festival will be staging cultural programs on a daily basis.
HRH Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, assistant commander of the National Guard for Military Affairs and vice chairman of the festival’s Supreme Committee said in a statement, “The festival mirrors the glory of our past culture and heritage, serves to preserve our Arab and Islamic identity, and inspire the present and future generations with our glorious heritage.”
The president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities HRH Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz praised the festival and singled its role in preserving and bringing out the elements of national heritage. HRH added that, SCTA will participate this year in the festival through its Provincial Tourism Development Organizations and will provide electronic tourism information, brochures, leaflets for introducing tourism potentials, and activities in each province, distributing printed materials at the tourism information centers deployed in the King Khalid International Airport and major shopping centers. In addition, SCTA is organizing free daily trips, from the city center to the festival, in cooperation with SAPTCO (Saudi Public Transport Company).
HRH also praised the role of the festival in supporting and enhancing the tourism activity in Riyadh province. He indicated the importance of such tourism events towards preserving the popular heritage, in addition to enhancing nationals’ engagement in the country’s genuine heritage besides its cultural and social role. At the end of his statement, HRH commended the diversity of the festival and its ability to attract the interest of visitors from home and abroad, pointing out that culture and heritage tourism is today one of the most important tourist attractions in most countries of the world.
The Janadriya Heritage & Cultural Festival is the most famous cultural event in Saudi Arabia and is organized every year by the National Guard. The festival
was first held in 1985, and today it continues to attract millions of visitors annually. For more information visit: http://www.janadria.org.sa/Janadria24/Arabic/ .