By Rawan Abudawood
DESCRIBING the Historic Jeddah Festival as an artistic elegant area full of entertaining activities suitable for all ages and not just limited to exploring the city’s heritage, Governor of Jeddah and the Head of the Higher Committee of Historic Jeddah Festival Prince Mishaal Bin Majed inaugurated the event’s activities, under the title of ‘Atareek’, on Wednesday night.
At Balad’s historical area, where the event is being held, Prince Mishaal said, “That in the past Jeddah used to be illuminated by Atareeks, which refer to light and happiness in cities. However, today the festival’s visitors, who can immerse themselves in the beautiful history of the city and explore the deep heritage and culture, are the light and happiness of the area.”
Many government officials as well as businessmen, American Consul General Matthias Mitman, President of King Abdulaziz University Abdulrahman Al-Youbi, and President of the University of Jeddah Abdulfattah Mashat were among the attendees.
The event began with the rendition of the national anthem followed by a presentation of Historic Jeddah Festival and of the historical and modern Jeddah. The Historic Jeddah Festival is being held since 2014. Its main goal is to promote the Kingdom as a source of knowledge, literature, and Islamic as well as Arabic history by presenting Jeddah’s heritage and traditions to the visitors.
The Historic Jeddah Festival is fully supported by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, Governor of Makkah Province Khalid Bin Faisal, the president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) Prince Sultan Bin Salman.
“The General Entertainment Authority supports all activities that serve families and individuals as well as the citizens and residents. We are happy to have the new exciting activities this year, which are entertaining to the youth. This fun method helps to teach the youth effectively about our heritage,” said Amr Al-Madani, CEO of General Entertainment Authority, soon after the inauguration.
“The Authority actually aims at strengthening the relationship between the youth and their heritage. Moreover, this festival is just the beginning of the many pleasant events that will take place during the Spring break. The Authority is sponsoring 15 events around 11 cities of the Kingdom,” added Al-Madani.
The Historic Jeddah Festival is streamlined into various sections. Each section presents its own art, story, and unique idea. For instance, there is the section of Ola Hijazi, an artist who painted so many beautiful paintings to illustrate the huge emotional difference between old mail messages and today’s modern messages sent easily by the Internet.
Another wonderful artistic section is the section of the sculptor Nabeel Al-Najdi, which is filled with perfectly designed sculptures. An example of his stunning sculptures at the festival is an Islamic sculpture of Allah’s name and the Prophet’s, peace be upon him, name designed in a gorgeous calligraphy.
There is also a huge Gallery Shop filled with so many cultural, historical, and Islamic paintings. The minute the visitors enter the Gallery Shop they are sure to feel as if they are immersed in paintings surrounding them from everywhere.
In addition, there is an exhibition on ancient currencies. The owner showed us a currency that was used a long time ago, even before the appearance of Islam. He also showed us almost all of the Saudi currencies that were used since the establishment of the Kingdom. The exhibition also includes so many different ancient Islamic as well as Saudi items.
There is a section under the title of ‘Atareek seaport’. It is owned by Salem Al-Hajori who also owns a cultural exhibition in Yanbu. The exhibition at the festival is large and contains unlimited marine items. It also shows embalmed large sea animals such as the great hammerhead, crocodile, dugong, and many other deep-sea creatures.
A humorous section at the festival is the section of Al-Falah school. It used to be the most popular school of Jeddah in the past. When visitors pass by this section, they get to see the teacher of the yore — highlighting the way they used to educate children in the past.
The teacher in the past used to play the role of the teacher as well as the father. So visitors will get the chance to see the Hijazi way of imposing discipline, using a specialized stick, very long time ago.
The festival is full of many other extraordinary sections. Some of the sections present the Hijazi food such as the Balila. Other sections show beautiful old Islamic mosques. There are also some sections that present the Hijazi traditional clothes including bride and groom costumes.
Visitors can also get the chance to taste the old Hijazi bread fresh from the bakery at the festival itself. The festival this year has also added some international shows that are presented at the festival to entertain the youth such as the aerial acrobats and others.
Prince Mishaal honored the Historic Jeddah Festival supporters: The General Entertainment Authority, Jeddah Municipality, Saudi Electricity Company, and Jeddah National Water Company.
The Historic Jeddah Festival is open for visitors daily from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. from March 30 until April 8. The festival will include international shows as well as 65 entertaining activities that meet top international criteria.