A Symbol Of Arab Heritage: Miteb

RIYADH, 6 March 2008 — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah inaugurated the 23rd National Heritage and Culture Festival at Janadriya, 45 kilometers north of Riyadh, yesterday.

The cultural extravaganza, which will feature the Kingdom’s art and cultural treasure including its traditional cuisine, crafts, folk dances and regional cultural specialties, will be open for public from today.

The festival opened with a traditional camel race, which was watched by a capacity crowd at the Janadriya festival grounds. King Abdullah gave away prizes to the winners after the first round of the camel race. The winners were also handed gifts sent by the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa ibn Zayed Al-Nahayan and Turkish Minister of Culture & Tourism Ertugrul Gunay. Turkey, this year, is the guest country of the festival.

Speaking on this occasion, Prince Miteb ibn Abdullah, assistant deputy commander of the National Guard for military affairs, said: “This cultural fair has become a symbol of Arab history and heritage”. He said that a large number of cultural programs have been lined up on this occasion. King Hamad of Bahrain also attended the opening ceremony.

Sheikh Hamid ibn Zayed Al-Nahayan, chief of the court of heir apparent of Abu Dhabi and Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay, were also present. The glittering ceremony was also attended by Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman, and several members of the royal family besides high-ranking Saudi officials and foreign diplomats.

Predicting over one million visitors to this year’s festival, Prince Miteb said: “All preparations have been made to make the fortnight-long festivities a grand success.”

Prince Miteb said artists from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states and Turkey have been invited to take part.

“More than 1,000 artists and delegates from far-flung areas of Saudi Arabia have arrived in the festival,” said Prince Faisal ibn Abdullah, chief of the Red Crescent Society, while speaking on the occasion.

A royal directive was issued in 1985 to promote Janadriya festival and develop it into the all-encompassing cultural festival. The event lays considerable emphasis on the principles of Islam and cultural values of Saudi society, said Prince Faisal.

The Janadriya village looks like a miniature of the Kingdom today, with visitors walking from area representing the western Hijaz region viewing its folk life and exhibits and then moving on to the southern Jizan or into the central Najd.

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