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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Souq Okaz peeps into Pre-Islamic Saudi Arabia

The Annual Souq Okaz commenced on Wednesday, which allowed numerous visitors and tourists to catch a glimpse at how the locals had recreated their most famous bazaar in all of the Arabian Peninsula, where many years ago Bedouin traders would bring their goods for sale such as handicrafts, perfumes, rugs and spices. As per usual, the bazaar hosted a wide array of different activities which included folklore competitions, handicrafts, poetry and theatrical shows. The bazaar takes all of its visitors into how Saudi Arabia was prior to Islamic times. The Souq Okaz is set up in the middle of a rolling desert plain which is located around 40 kilometers to the north of Taif.



The media and public relations in charge of the festival, Mohammed Samman stated that the 2015 festival had been planned in such a way that it offered the visitors to the bazaar and festival a true cultural experience in which they were told stories in an informative yet entertaining manner. The main area for the festival has been developed so that it may include more activities and elements which perfectly fuse modern times with traditional values. With the Souq Okaz festival the organization does not simply aim to host a souk, but to also celebrate the people who have tirelessly carried on the tradition of the Souq over the years.



Round about 2000 media personalities, writers, poets and intellectuals from inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and from abroad are invited every year to attend this festival. Many of the intellectuals and academics that are set at attending the festival will reflect upon the importance that this cultural aspect holds in Arab life. Samman additionally stated that the Souq Okaz in this day and age represent an importantly unique landmark of tourism for the Kingdom. The Souq is said to have been recreated in this modern day and age, in the very spot that the Souq would be held in ancient times.


Mainly, the event focuses to showcase the various folk dances from the different regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, along with arts and craft, traditional foods, camel rides and poetry readings. The Souq Okaz also allows for the participation of various artisans to help represent various forms of traditional as well as modern craft, as well as market their products.


All artisans who participate in the Souq compete for the Okaz Award for their Handicraft creativity which has been devoted to recognize the best artisans from all around the Kingdom. For the Souq to be held this year, two foreign Artisans from Qatar and Bahrain were also invited. In accordance with the organizers, the Souq is a 10 day festival which provides artisans a unique opportunity to dwell in poetry and folk dancing as well as Bedouin arts and craft. The Souq Okaz festival was revived by the Emir of Makkah Prince Khaled Al Faisal in 2008 with complete support from the late King Abdullah.


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