By Habib Toumi
June 27, 2018
The 17-day Souk Okaz will also give an insight into Arabian history and
its traditions, according to officials
campaign to publicise and boost Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector will be launched
at Souk Okaz festival today in the city of Taif.
The campaign, by the Saudi Commission for
Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), includes 17 days of arts and craft
exhibits and literary readings.
The event is expected to draw in more than
two million touritsts.
“Souk Okaz is a significant national event,
where we showcase the historical significance of this country,” SCTH Chairman
Prince Sultan Bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz said.
“This event is one of the important moments
in this country’s history as well as the history of Islam, and one of the vital
aspects that has attracted economic prosperity to the region.”
The programme for this year includes
presentations of stories from the lives of ancient Arabia’s legendary poets
such as Tarafa Bin Al Abd, Amr Bin Kalthoum, Al Aasha, Qais Bin Sa’eda, and
Zuhair Bin Abi Salma.
Souk Okaz will also host 15 competitions
for poets and writers with the aim of nurturing literary creativity and talent
Among the competitions are the Okaz
International Poetry Award for Standard Arabic language poetry (Okaz Poet),
Okaz International Handicraft Award, Okaz Creativity Award, Okaz Photography
Award, Young Okaz Poet Award, Okaz Folklore Art Award, Okaz Children Folk Art
Award, Okaz Theatrics and Creativity Award, Okaz Fine Arts Award, and Okaz
Last year, Souk Okaz introduced a programme
called Narrator’s Tent which featured six narrators from the Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC) and four from Saudi Arabia recounting important historical events
around the Arabian Peninsula. The Tent attracted more than 500,000 visitors.
According to the Centre for International
Communication (CIC), SCTH’s research into the history of Souk Okaz triggered
valuable archaeological discoveries that indicated that the souk had been an
event as far back as the Stone Age and that it was an important forum in the
history of Arabs before the advent of Islam.
Rich History of Souk Okaz
Souk Okaz has historically been a meeting
place discussion, storytelling and trade dating as far back as the Stone Age.
In ancient times, it was more than a
cultural and trade fair, serving as a point of social and political gatherings
for the people of the region.
The ancient souk was also a cultural
platform where Shaikhs met their tribes, initiated agreements and exchanged
prisoners. It provided opportunities for reconciliation, declaration of
alliances and ending of hostilities.
It was also known for horse racing and
fencing and was a large commercial market visited by traders coming from Syria
and Yemen, among other countries, and a forum where titles were given to poets