- Title: Saudi souk gives tourists a taste of medieval life and culture
- Date: 20th July 2017
- Summary: KNIGHT ON HORSE REARING ON ITS HIND LEGS VISITOR TAKING PICTURE OF KNIGHT CRAFTSMAN, ABDULAZIZ HASSAN, PLANING A PIECE OF WOOD PLANE SHAVING PIECE OF WOOD INTO MAST FOR MODEL BOAT HANDS PUTTING MAST ONTO BOAT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ABDULAZIZ HASSAN, CRAFTSMAN AT HAND MADE CRAFTS SECTION OF SOUK OKAZ, SAYING: "SouK Okaz market is an international market visited in summer from all over the kingdom and from outside the kingdom. We must be here to give people background about the kingdom in ancient times.'' KNIGHT ON HORSEBACK CUTTING DOWN OBJECT FROM A ROPE (NIGHTSHOT) FIRE IN SAND TWO KNIGHTS COMPETING IN GAME TO PUT OUT FIRES POET PERFORMING MEN RIDING CAMELS AUDIENCE WATCHING POET PERFORMING (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) KHALED AL-QAHRA, DIRECTOR OF THE GENERAL AUTHORITY FOR TOURISM AND NATIONAL HERITAGE IN TAIF, SAYING: ''We are thinking seriously about transforming Okaz into a destination called 'Okaz Tourism City' which would include a large number of tourism projects, tourist buildings, facilities and accommodation, as a way to open to the world, God willing.'' MEN STANDING AT SOUK ENTRANCE WITH FLAMING TORCHES FLAMING TORCH ACTOR SPEAKING WITH CHILD (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RASHDAN AL-RABIAI, VISITOR, SAYING: "Even if you attended daily you would not be bored of what you see. You come today and say you will come the next day and you find things that attract you more and more." VISITORS WALKING AROUND THE FESTIVAL
- Embargoed: 3rd August 2017 16:56
- Keywords: cultural festival arts and crafts Souk Okaz Saudi culture
- Location: TAIF, SAUDI ARABIA
- City: TAIF, SAUDI ARABIA
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA0036QIROT1
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: **PART AUDIO AS INCOMING**
More than just a market, Souk Okaz in western Saudi Arabia, was once a cultural, political and legal melting pot.
Today, visitors can get a taste of the medieval forum, with re-enactments, poetry recitals, ancient sports and traditional crafts on display.
A two-week cultural festival is under way for the eleventh year, drawing tourists from around Saudi Arabia and the wider Arab world, to see what life was like at the bustling souk which was active from approximately 542 to 726 AD.
"Okaz market is a meeting place for literature, poetry, heritage and multicultural civilizations," said Jasem Al-Musa, who was visiting the festival, near the city of Taif, from the other side of the country.
Camel's parade and archers show their skills. In one part of the festival, artisans display ancient crafts such as woodworking, while, outside, horsemen re-enact medieval sports - racing in pairs to extinguish fires lit in the sand.
"Even if you attended daily you would not be bored of what you see," said visitor Rashdan Al-Rabiai.
The local tourist authority is now considering making a more permanent attraction, "Okaz Tourism City" at the site which is also undergoing archaeological excavations at what is considered an area of historical importance as a symbol of Arab heritage.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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