By Mariam Al-Jaber
ABHA — Five unique factors influenced the election of southwestern Saudi city of Abha as the Capital of Arab Tourism 2017. A committee of experts from the Arab Tourism Organization of the Arab League made the selection.
Bandar Al-Fahiid, head of the Arab Tourism Organization, detailed the five aspects that bolstered the recognition of the city, which are: the climate, natural beauty, historical, social and cultural heritage, its unique agricultural environment, and its particular brand of festivals.
One of the greatest characteristics of Abha is its moderate climate. Being at high altitude above the sea level, the city enjoys pleasant weather all year round. It is also renowned for its stunning scenery such as the woods and forests in Dulghan, Al-Hubala, in addition to the spectacular scenery of Soudah, which has the tallest mountain peak in the Kingom.
With 70 percent of vegetation cover of the Kingdom, Abha enjoys a clean and pollution-free environment. Not to forget the parks and natural sanctuaries, and the phenomenon of the rising fog from the valleys of Thihama to accumulate at the peak of the mountain, in addition to myriad plant species.
Abha’s extensive history has resulted in a rich cultural heritage and tradition as the Tuesday Market, Muftaha Art Village and the Muqabil suburb. In addition, it has mountain monuments that carry a rich history, namely Mount “Zra”. It hosted a military barrack, which was later converted to a telecommunications tower before becoming a touristic landmark. Geographically, because of its strategic location, Abha was an important trade route.
The city is a pioneer in establishing the concept of festivals and hosting events that fascinate the Arab World, including musical performances, shows and sporting events that are still ongoing. — Al-Arabiya English