Top 5 esports Tournament in KSA

Popular E-Sports Tournament in KSA

Over the past decade, esports has become a popular sport which has taken the youth by storm.

ESports business is one of the fastest-growing businesses in the world. According to research conducted by Newzoo, the online gaming industry is growing at a rate of 13% annually. Furthermore, it’s net worth is around $138 billion now.

In the 21st century, Egamers are athletes. Their tournaments are arranged with enthusiasm and excitement.

Like most of the world, the culture of e-gaming is increasing in Saudi Arabia as well. The country has the fastest-growing community of e-gamers in the world. 

Acknowledging the growing community of e-gamers, the Ministry of Sports is hosting many e-sports tournaments in the kingdom. Also, These tournaments help the Kingdom to achieve its Vision 2030 goals.

Here’s a list of tournaments that the Ministry of Sports is hosting to encourage widespread participation in sports. 

GSA e-sports cup

Ministry of Sports hosted the first e-sports cup in Riyadh with the cooperation of Kafu Games and the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS) in March 2018.

Participants competed in FIFA, Tekken, Overwatch, League of Legends, Mario Kart and other games. 

More than 2,000 players from around the world competed over a prize pool of SR1,000,000 Saudi riyals.

Esports Cup logo
Esports Cup logo

Insomnia Saudi

The UK’s biggest gaming festival came to Riyadh in November 2019 at the Riyadh front.

The participants took part in PC games, console games, tabletop games, retro gaming, VR, and much more.  

In this four-day festival, participants played FIFA, tekken7, Fortnite, Overwatch, and others.

For this event, the tickets were available at Hala Yala tickets.

Insomnia Saudi logo
Insomnia Saudi logo

PUBG Mobile Star Challenge World Cup 2019

PUBG has attracted a huge number of young people towards itself since its creation. 

Giving PUBG the due acknowledgment, the Ministry of Sports hosted the biggest PUBG tournament. This tournament was a part of Riyadh Season held at Riyadh front from 12 -14 Dec 2019. The players competed to win a total of  SR1 million ($267,000).

PUBG Mobile Star Challenge logo
PUBG Mobile Star Challenge logo

GSA FIFA eSports Cup

In 2018, Kafu Games organized the first live-streamed GSA FIFA 18 cup. This tournament was the qualifying round for the FIFA eWorld Cup. 

Held in Jeddah, the cup was open for residents of Saudi, UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar. Eplayers played on PlayStation and Xbox consoles and were competing for the prize pool of 1,000,000 SAR.

Kafu Games organized the FIFA 18 eSports tournament in the Kingdom with the collaboration of SAFEIS and Global eSports Resources (GER).

It was a multi-game tournament conducted in 2 phases for 8000 players. Kafu flawlessly provided the complete management of the brackets and appeal system for both online and offline phases. 

GSA FIFA 18 Cup logo
GSA FIFA 18 Cup logo

Overwatch Arab tournament

Organized by Challenge Arena, the Overwatch Arab Tournament took place in January 2019.

In this six-day tournament, 64 teams played on the system of single elimination. 

Furthermore, the participants competed for a prize pool of SR 15,000.

man playing esports
man playing esports

In order to organize more tournaments like these, Kafu Games has come forward to take the charge.

Kafu Games, by Hala Yalla, is the hub of eSports in Saudi Arabia and the MENA. It’s bringing different online tournaments for Egaming enthusiasts.

If you don’t want to miss the updates on sports and tournaments around you, Join the Kafu Games community.

https://kafugames.com/en/

Download the Hala Yalla app and stay updated about the sports tournament happening around you

Get the app on Android or iOS

 

Top 7 benefits of playing esports

Learn How Playing eSports Impacts Your Life

Gone are the days when people considered video games a “waste of time and money”. Now it’s recognized as one of the fastest-growing businesses in the world, and people have started to see the benefits of esports.

The popularity of esports is only growing and it has become impossible to ignore it!

Researchers have shown that playing esports can be beneficial in a lot of ways. This is why the culture of e-gaming is increasing rapidly throughout the world.

Let’s list down a few benefits of esports.

Reflex

Studies show that gamers are more responsive and receptive than people who don’t play at all. 

According to the PlosOne journal research done on Super Mario players shows that gaming helps in the better functioning of the part of the brain which controls reflex activity and muscular activity. 

It also improves hand-eye coordination. It means that gamers are better able to do activities that take in information through visuals (eyes) and guide their hands to carry out a movement. 

man playing on PC

Critical Thinking

During a game, gamers need to make quick decisions. It requires players to take in information, process it, analyze it, and make decisions, all within a time span of a few seconds. 

Gaming also demands to think from the opponent’s perspective. Gamers have to make a plan while keeping in mind their opponent’s weaknesses and strengths. 

Making quick and strategic decisions is the key to winning any game!

happy brain.
Happy brain

Memory Capacity

According to research conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) America, expert gamers often outperform non-players on basic attention and performance grounds. They usually have a longer attention span and good photographic memory. 

Above mentioned study also shows that the Expert gamers and non-gamers differ from each other on the basic cognitive skills as well. The gamers are better at short-term memory and more efficient at switching tasks.

Since they’re more focused, they perform better in schools as well. 

human above brain
Healthy brain

Earning

If you’re a gamer in a team of any educational institution, you’ll be recognized as an athlete and granted esports scholarships. 

According to a gaming industry analysis company Newzoo, the global eSports revenue has seen a rise of up to 27% in a year. It means that the prize money available for the winners is increasing dramatically. 

The winners can earn up to $200,000 in a single game. Some global competitions, like Dota 2 or FIFA, can help the winning team earn up to $10 million. 

Isn’t this enough motivation?

During the lockdown, Kafu Games brings you online tournaments. Join the tournaments of FIFA, PUBG, and Overwatch to win prizes up to 25,000 SAR.

https://kafugames.com/en/

Kafu Games bannerSocial skills

Social skills are important to function in any society. 

While playing, gamers have to interact with their teammates and coaches which helps them in the development of their personality. 

They learn to refrain from interrupting others and learn to share their ideas effectively. 

Participation in esports provides an environment to learn and practice these important skills. 

friends playing FIFA
friends playing FIFA

Multi-Tasking Skills

Multi-tasking is one skill that generally everybody aspires to have.

According to Science Direct research, multi-tasking ability can be improved through video games.

With practice, gamers are able to do different actions with each hand at the same time.

Entertainment

Esports is a pastime with entertainment and fun. 

Who wouldn’t like the idea of earning while playing without getting hurt? Huh?

People playing egames
People playing egames

Execute thee benefits of esports! Join the community of gamers and stay updated with Kafu Games.

https://kafugames.com/en/

Download the Hala Yalla app and stay updated on the sports events happening around you

Get the app on Android or iOS

 

Future of eSports in Saudi Arabia

Kafu is the future of eSports in KSA

Who can deny the fact that technology is the future?!

It’s here and we’re living it!

In this digital world, esports is a new popular culture. Every millennial has set his hands on consoles to never put it back.

The online gaming business is one of the fastest-growing businesses in the world. According to market research firm Newzoo, the online gaming industry is growing at a rate of 13% annually. Now it’s worth as much as $138 billion. 

The Middle East has one of the fastest-growing communities of online gamers. In the region, Saudi Arabia is the largest market, as 70% of the population is youth. The user representation is 5.9% as of now, but it’ll grow to 6.1% by 2024.

Just in 2020, the revenue in the online games segment amounts to $18 million in Saudi Arabia. It’s expected to show an annual growth rate of 4.9% and the market will generate $22 million by 2024.

The stats show the future is Egaming!

E-tournament
E-tournament

How is it happening? 

In Saudi Arabia, the esports business is booming due to multiple platforms, tournaments, and some outclass players.

Kafu Games, by Hala Yalla, is the ultimate Esports hub in Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, responsible for hosting the biggest Esports tournaments in the Kingdom. It’s immersive online gaming for all fans out there. It has a place for everybody, from amateurs to professionals and gamers to organizers.  

Our team is made up of gamers, nerds, techies, and dreamers. We love what we do and are dedicated to bringing you the best in competitive gaming. Whether it’s local, GCC, MENA, or even global, we’ve got tournaments for everyone.

The Ministry of Sports has partnered with Kafu Games to organize different local and regional esports tournaments. In the past, Kafu has organized regional successful tournaments like GSA esports cup in 2018,  Pyramids E-championship in Dec 2018,  and many more.

Consoles and screen
Person playing FIFA

GSA FIFA 18 Cup: 

In 2018, Kafu powered GSA FIFA 18 Cup. The tournament was the qualifying round for the FIFA eWorld Cup. 

Held in Jeddah, the cup was open to citizens and residents of Saudi, UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar. The players were competing for a prize pool of 1,000,000 SAR.

Kafu Games organized the first live-streamed FIFA 18 eSports tournament in the Kingdom with the collaboration of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS) and Global eSports Resources (GER).

It was a multi-game tournament conducted in 2 phases for 8000 players. Kafu Games flawlessly provided the complete management of the brackets and appeal system for both online and offline phases. 

FIFA players competed in a cross-console competition with an equal number of PlayStation and Xbox players.

Kafu FIFA banner
Kafu FIFA banner

PUBG Mobile Star Challenge Cup

In addition to FIFA tournaments, Kafu Games has also successfully organized other eSports tournaments like PUBG Mobile Star Challenge Cup. This tournament was a part of Riyadh Season. At Riyadh front, from 12 -14 Dec 2019, the players competed to win a total of  SR1 million ($267,000).

32 teams took part in the competition. 16 came from MENA regions and the other 16 came from other regions of the world. 

Team Unique won $100,000 for the first position. The runner up ‘RRQ Athena’ won $60,00. The third position came to Team Queso who went home with $30,000.

game logo
game logo

Kafu Games is the future of esports!

Organizing some biggest tournaments in the region has given Kafu Games the confidence to say that ‘We are the future’!

Be a part of the future, join the Kafu Egaming community.

https://kafugames.com/en/

Download the Hala Yalla app to stay updated on the sports events happening around you.

Get the app on Android or iOS

Fun Things to Do while Social Distancing

Events are canceled. Riyadh boulevard is closed. Malls and restaurants are being shut down. And no one’s booking those balcony seats in the cinemas anymore.

The coronavirus – and the social distancing it’s warranting – has the world worried, and for all the right reasons. To keep yourself entertained and active, Netflix & chill is not the only option at your disposal.

While you’re in quarantine or working from home, we’ve compiled a list of fun things to do while you maintain that social distance for COVID-19. Read on! 

 

  • Virtual Tours of Museums and Art Galleries

Did you know you can now take an inside tour of each gallery and ancient relic within a museum, all from your living room? I sure didn’t. 

Museums and art galleries around the world are closed due to safety reasons. But if you’ve ever wanted a virtual tour of these places, now’s the time!

From the State Hermitage Museum in Russia to the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands, Google Arts & Culture has collaborated with 500 such establishments for visitors to gain a virtual peek inside their doors. There are opportunities to browse exhibits with a 360 view within halls, along with pictures and detailed history behind each of them.

 

  • Free Online Classes from Ivy League Institutions

The world is truly your oyster when it comes to learning new things. Be it language, skill, or just something to give you that edge over others. 

While maintaining healthy social distancing, there are endless online courses and classes available on websites like Class Central. From business to humanities to personal development, choose your pick. Search “Harvard” alone for classes on law, psychology, literature, neurosciences, and beyond.

 

  • Esports Tournaments

This is for all the kickass gamers out there. To be honest, you don’t really need a situation like quarantine to play Esports, but this might be the best time to participate in our epic tournaments at Kafu Games!

If you’re staying at home, start playing at home. 

You can also organize a FIFA 20 tournament just for your employees and qualify for Saudi’s 1st National Corporate Esports Championship! Head over to Kafu Games for more information.

  • Reading, Watching – all out Binging!

Alright! Let’s finally address the elephant in the room – BINGING!

If your reading list is overflowing with new and old books, if your watch list sits staring at you every time you open Netflix, chances are you’re gonna have an entertained social distancing. 

This is, of course, the perfect time to catch up on all the new shows, movies, documentaries, books, albums and so much more! Truth be told, some of us are quite delighted to the idea of binging on food and shows right now (I’ve already got hold of 7 new books and 4 shows). 

So grab that blanket, roll up your socks, and get the party going!

 

  • Podcasts

Binging Netflix is obviously self-quarantine activity, but don’t forget about the endless podcasts that you can listen to while cooking, cleaning, meditating, or working out.

Podcasts are an excellent way to make use of time and multitasking your way through tight schedules. They also allow you to be up to date and informed about recent developments in technology, world news, and even COVID-19 for example.

Although if you feel like truly distracting yourself, there are some good sports, crime, and humorous podcasts out there. Hit us up if you’d like some recommendations!

 

  • Crafts & Board Games

It might look strange to club these two activities, but when was the last time you actually spent time doing them?

When did you start (or finish even) that DIY project you’ve been planning for days? Remember the last time you played Monopoly with the fam? The time is now!

Bring out the cards and lay down the board, keep the gadgets aside and roll that dice. 

For DIY, Pinterest and YouTube are your friends for crafty inspirations. From bath bombs to graffiti house walls to even making your own hand sanitizer – if you’ve got the idea, there’s probably a video out there willing to help!

 

  • Cooking

Now is the perfect time to try out those recipes you haven’t had time to get to, and it is a good way to bring the family together or have a little distraction. Keep in mind to stock plenty of food in your freezers, in case of emergencies. 

Prep a quick lasagna or go head-on for a 3-course meal, the kitchen is yours and so is the time. Make sure to save some of everything you make and pack it up in the freezer. (Brownies tend to last quite a while up there, just saying!)

 

  • Decluttering aka Cleaning

Your cupboard, bookshelves, kitchen, garden, backyard and so many other things probably require a deep clean. What’s the best time than this to sort that pile out? 

Decluttering is great for mental stability and brings you a sense of calm. Regular decluttering has also proven to reduce anxiety and stress caused by the mere thought of cleaning.

Tip: Sort and label your stuff in several piles and decluttering can turn into a fun activity. Donate, throw out, hand-me-down, sell, and so on. Unused items make for creative gifts too sometimes!

Let us know in the comments what you’re up to during self-quarantine, we’re always open for new shows and book recommendations. Stay safe!

Top 10 Eplayers of Saudi Arabia

Popular ESports players in KSA

No matter how chaotic the world we live in, we all agree at one point. Technology is the future and we’re living it!

As the world is evolving, everything is becoming digital, from letters to clocks. In the process of digitization, esports is also taking over, and so are the Eplayers!

E-gaming is a new popular culture. It’s one of the fastest-growing businesses in the world now. 

The Middle East has one of the fastest-growing communities of online video gamers. In the region, Saudi Arabia is the largest market, as 70% of the population is youth. 

Top 10 Eplayers:

In today’s world, gamers are treated like athletes. Here’s a list of top Saudi egamers on the basis of money earned.

  1. Aldossary Mossad, aka “MSdossary7”, is the top FIFA player in the Kingdom who enjoys the top position in the list of overall esports players in KSA. He has earned $568,865 from 20 tournaments
  2. Call of Duty player Cuyler garland aka “huke” enjoys the second position in the list. He made $293,977 from 69 tournaments
  3. The second best FIFA player stands on the third number. Abdullrhman Almasri “Lightning BoNabil” has earned $101,250 from 1 tournament
  4. Khalid “TheRoyal” Aloufi stands at the fourth position in the list of overall esports players of KSA. His total earning from 12 tournaments is $78,550
  5. Abod_AS3 is the FIFA player who won $70,000 from 2 tournaments
  6. Abdulaziz “A8drafwz” Alshehri earned $41,500 from 3  tournaments by playing FIFA in national tournaments
  7. The FIFA player “Abo_Hwas” Al Hoisen earned $33,750 from 1 Tournament
  8. The top Overwatch player in the Kingdom, Mohannad “BeCanBauer” Baharith is at #8. He has earned $27,592 from 4 Tournaments
  9. The second-best Overwatch player in Saudi Arabia is Abdulmalek “kssarplayz” Al-Dwaireg. He has earned $27,592 from 4 Tournaments. In the country’s overall Eplayers list, he stands at 8th position
  10. Mohammed “VisT0 ” Almajed is the third-best overwatch player in Saudi Arabia. His total earning from 03 tournaments is $26,877

Saudi Arabia recognizes and acknowledges these players by arranging esports tournaments throughout the Kingdom. 

PUBG Mobile Star Challenge World Cup:

In Riyadh Season, the biggest mobile esports competition ‘PUBG Mobile Star Challenge World Cup’ held from 12 -14 Dec 2019 at Riyadh front. The players competed to win a total of  SR1 million ($267,000).

Kafu Games-Saudi eSports hub in the MENA region- organized the first live-streamed FIFA 18 eSports tournament in the Kingdom. Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS) and Global eSports Resources (GER) collaborated to make this tournament happen.

It was a multi-game tournament conducted in 2 phases for 8000 players. Kafu Games flawlessly provided the complete management of the brackets and appeal system for both online and offline phases. 

Besides FIFA tournaments, Kafu Games has also successfully organized other eSports tournaments like GSA esports cup in 2018,  Pyramids E-championship in Dec 2018, Baloot championship, and many more. 

If you’re interested in gaming pick up your consoles. Make use of this quarantine and practice your favorite egames.

Join the Kafu tournaments and play from home. Don’t miss the chance to win 25,000 SAR!

https://kafugames.com/en/

Download the Hala Yalla app to stay updated on the sports events happening around you.

For Android users:

https://hyapp.app.link/Pld1ZHFGo6

Or IOS:

https://hyapp.app.link/nnWnOTIGo6

Play these Popular Mobile games during Quarantine

Popular Mobile Games to Play

Quarantine day# 70!

Never thought we’ll be counting days like that. Quarantine has us counting hours.

It’s good that we have our internet connection intact and we can surf online and play the best mobile games.

Speaking of games, it’s a good pastime these days. We can even play multiplayer online games if we don’t want to play alone.

Here’s a list of best multiplayer games that can help you pass your days.

Overwatch

Overwatch is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The game was initially launched with only casual play. Although a competitive ranked mode, various ‘arcade’ game modes, and a player-customizable server browser were added after release.

The sequel, Overwatch 2, has new advanced modes. It has a new player versus environment (PvE) and co-operative multiplayer mode, competitive ranked mode, various ‘arcade’ game modes, and a player-customizable server browser.

Within Saudi Arabia, Overwatch has the most teams and individual players. In the overall top eSports list, Overwatch players top the list.   

The top team is “OSH-TEKK WARRIORS”. They are at 23 in worldwide ranking and at #1 in the Overwatch teams in Saudi Arabia by prize money won.

Overwatch game
Overwatch game

PUBG

PUBG is a new addiction.

South Korean video company Bluehole developed and published PUBG in 2016. It’s an online multiplayer battle royale game.

The best PUBG Mobile Player in the Kingdom is Abdullah Taleb, aka “Dabi”. He’s at 28th position in overall esports player of the country. His total earnings are $4,300 from 03 tournaments. 

PUBG game
PUBG game

Rocket League

Rocket League a vehicular soccer video game developed and published by Psyonix. The game is available on Microsoft Windows and PlayStation, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. 

Rocket League is the most played game in Saudi Arabia by the number of teams and players.

Team “OSH-TEKK WARRIORS” is at #117 among 478 Rocket League teams worldwide. In Saudi Arabia, they stand at #1 on the basis of earnings.

game logo
game logo

FIFA 

Who doesn’t know about FIFA? Everyone plays it regardless of age.

Saudi Arabia has some special connection with football, be it live, physical, or esports. FIFA players have scored high on various national and international events and made their country proud. 

Aldossary Mossad, aka “MSdossary7”, is the top FIFA player in the Kingdom.  He also enjoys the top position in the list of overall esports players in KSA. He has earned $568,865 from 20 tournaments.

If you’d like to play online mobile games join the Kafu Stay home FIFA tournament. The dates will be out soon. Keep an eye on the website if you don’t want to miss the chance to earn 15,000 SAR.

Kafu FIFA banner
Kafu FIFA banner

It appears that only gamers are having a good time at home. Join the Saudi community on Kafu Games and join tournaments to win prizes!

https://kafugames.com/en/

Download the Hala Yall app to stay updated on the sports events happening around you.

Get the app on Android or iOS

 

Want to Donate? Here’re top 5 Charity Organizations that you can help

Top 5 Charity Organizations that work to uplift society

Charity organizations play an important role in the development of society. Their primary objective is social wellbeing and development of society. 

Different organizations are dedicated to different social causes and advocate a certain point of view. 

The key aspects of charity organizations are accountability, trustworthiness, honesty, and openness to every person who has invested time, money, and faith in the organization.

Saudi Arabia is known for its hospitality and generosity. There’re many nonprofit charity organizations that work for the betterment of the community.

Here’s a list of top 5 non-profit organizations that need your donation to function well.

Zahra Breast Cancer Association

Zahra Breast Cancer Association was founded by Princess Reema bint Bandar for early detection, prevention, and treatment of breast cancer.

The aim of the organization is to cooperate with women diagnosed with breast cancer on a step-by-step basis for treatment and help them recover. 

Their goal is the protection against breast cancer via spreading health and social awareness among women and fighting the spread of the disease in the community.

They’ve got a plan that covers five main sectors.

  1. Health Education
  2. Early detection
  3. Training
  4. Patients support
  5. Research
Cancer logo
Cancer logo

King Khalid Foundation

King Khalid Foundation is a philanthropic organization that aims to improve social and economic development in Saudi Arabia. KKF uses its resources and expertise to make lives better and provide ease.

The mission of the institution is to positively impact peoples’ lives by providing innovative solutions to critical socio-economic challenges in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Their vision is to become the leaders and role models in the philanthropic and development work in the country. 

They run various programs, which are listed below;

  1. Capacity building
  2. No more abuse
  3. Incubation program
  4. Grantmaking
  5. Dialogue & Advocacy
  6. Social entrepreneurship
  7. Youth development
  8. Research and publications
KKF building
KKF building

Saudi Wildlife Authority

Saudi Wildlife authority is a Non-Governmental Organization responsible for the protection, preservation, and development of wildlife in the country.

SWA aims to develop and implement plans to preserve wildlife in its natural ecology. It also works on the establishment and management of the proper protected areas and reserves for wildlife.

Their activity areas include;

  1. Agriculture
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Biodiversity
  4. Conversation and protection
  5. Development
  6. Environment
  7. Hunting
  8. Research
  9. Wildlife conservation
SWA logo
SWA logo

Alwaleed Philanthropies

Alwaleed Philanthropies is a charitable and philanthropic organization founded by Prince Al Waleed bin Talal and Princess Ameerah. 

The guiding principle of the organization is “Commitment without boundaries” as their mission is to ease the suffering of the people locally and globally.

Their goal is to empower women through education, medical, health, and social assistance. 

This foundation has established centers and programs at institutions of higher education around the world for the promotion of better mutual understanding between the Western and Islamic worlds.

The main focus of the organization is on four basic themes:

  1. Global and cultural understanding
  2. Community development
  3. Disaster recovery
  4. Women empowerment
AlWaleed Philanthropies logo
AlWaleed Philanthropies logo

Saudi Red Crescent Authority

The Saudi Red Crescent Authority is a humanitarian society that provides emergency medical services in Saudi Arabia. It was founded in 1934 by King Abdul Aziz Al Saud. 

The Authority provides medical services to residents and visitors at the time of need. It contributes to relief work inside the Kingdom and abroad through the use of air ambulance.

The target of the authority is to help people in normal circumstances and in disaster without any discrimination.

Their mission is to:

  1. Provide emergency medical service
  2. Raise the level of health awareness 
  3. Involve in relief work
  4. Strengthen their relationship with the public
logo
Saudi Red Crescent Authority logo

Make this world a better place to live in, donate to these charity organizations, and contribute to a better cause.

Support for the betterment of your country and take part in the events organized by Hala Yalla.

Download the app to stay updated. Get the app on Android or iOS

 

2020 is the Year of Arabic Calligraphy

2020 is the Year of Arabic Calligraphy. Learn the calligraphic scripts to celebrate the culture of calligraphy

In the Year of Arabic Calligraphy learn the calligraphic scripts to celebrate the culture of calligraphy.
 

The art of calligraphy is an ancient form of expression. The soul reflects the fonts while the spirit takes the shape of words.

It’s spiritual writing, a talent that is mastered by few. Calligraphy started as Arab culture, but the beauty of the art is recognized around the globe.
 
With the spread of Islam, the Arabic language, script, and calligraphy also crossed borders. From the 14th century onward, other styles of calligraphy also took root in other regions of the world, such as Persia, Turkey, and China.
 
The culture of calligraphy is too deep-rooted in the Arab community to fade away anytime soon. The love for the art still exists at every level in Arabic culture. 
 
To celebrate the ancient art, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture prince bin Abdullah bin Farhan announced that 2020 will the “Year of Arabic Calligraphy”. The celebrations will focus on its aesthetics, history, and its importance in expressing the full depth of the Arabic calligraphy
 
To celebrate the culture, let’s take a look at the most ancient Arabic calligraphy scripts.

Kufic Calligraphy

The Kufic script is the oldest form of the Arabic script. It appears to be a modified form of the Nabataean script (1st century BC -1st century CE).

The style emphasizes rigid and angular strokes. The ancient script consisted of 17 letters without diacritic dots or accents. The diacritical markings were added during the 7th century to help non-Arab readers with the pronunciation of the Qur’an and other Arabic scripts. In this process, the number of letters was increased to 28. 

The style later developed into several varieties.  The Kufic fonts include floral, foliated, plaited, interlaced, bordered, and squared styles.

The inscriptions on ornamentals and stone carving exist mostly in Kufic font. Also, the inscription in the dome of the rock is in the Kufic Script.

Kufic script
Kufic script

Naskh Calligraphy

With the spread of Islam, Kufic script evolved into Naskh in the 10th century. This font is widely used in the Quran, official decrees, and private correspondences. 

Ibn Muqla is regarded as the inventor of the Naskh script. Within a short span of time, the font became so popular that it was used as the regular Arabic print.

Naskh is written with short horizontal stems and vertical depth above and below the medial line. The curves are full and deep, the uprights are drawn straight and words are generally well-spaced. 

There are 03 variations of the font:

    • Thuluth: The font was established in the 10th century by Ahmad Tayyib Shah. The script is used for the inscriptions, titles, headings, and emblem in books. Thuluth means “third” in reference to the x-height, which is one-third of the Alif
    • Reqa: The handwriting style is derived from the Naskh and thuluth scripts. The font is simple with short strokes and small flourishes. The curves are densely structured and the letter Alif is never written with barbed heads
    • Muhaqqaq: It’s considered as the most beautiful and difficult script. It is largely restricted to short ayahs and phrases
thuluth Calligraphy
thuluth script

Diwani Script

Diwani is a cursive style of Arabic calligraphy. The script gained its popularity during the reign of Suleyman I The magnificent (1520-1566) in the Ottoman Empire. A Diwani text represented the authority of the Sultan and the Ottoman state. 

Spaces between the letters are narrow and lines ascend upward from right to left. There are no vocalization marks in Diwani.

It was generally used in the diwan and council, or in the writings of all the royals decrees, endowments, and resolutions. 

There are two subdivisions of the Diwani script.

  • Riq’a Diwani: This script is written without any decorations. The lines drawn are straight and the lower parts are curved
  • Jeli Diwani: Also known as the clear style, the handwriting is distinguished by the intertwining of its straight line from top to bottom. It’s decorated to appear as one piece. Since the script of Jeli Diwani is difficult to write, hence it’s difficult to master
Jeli Diwani
Jeli Diwani

Modern Calligraphy

In the mid 20th century, the Middle East and North Africa started a movement to transform Arabic art into modern art. The movement was named as Hurufiyyah Movement, derived from the word ‘huruf’– the letters of the alphabet.

It was an aesthetic movement to keep the spirit of Arabic calligraphy alive in modern times. By combining ancient and modern art, the calligraphers developed an Arabic visual language. This kept the sense of national identity and coherence alive.

Modern calligraphy exists in many forms.

    • Calligraffiti. Modern calligraphy was also highly influenced by Western art. This resulted in the form of calligraffiti. Calligraphers used Calligraffiti on the public buildings to convey politico-social messages
    • Zoomorphism. Zoomorphism is a Greek word meaning ‘animal’.  In Zoomorphic calligraphy, animals are used as the visual motif. This style allows artists to stylize animal forms and designs
Zoomorphic script
Zoomorphic script

2020 will be the celebration of the culture of calligraphy in Arabian and Saudi history. In order to celebrate the Year of Calligraphy, the Ministry of Culture will organize a number of events and activities to promote Arabic calligraphy. 

It’ll encourage the interest in calligraphy at the public and private levels. Also, these efforts aim to inspire aspiring calligraphers. 

Celebrate the year of Arabic calligraphy. To stay updated with the calligraphy events and much more, download the Hala Yalla app on Android or iOS

 

Mysterious and Unique Places in Saudi Arabia

List of Beautiful Places in Saudi Arabia

“Take chances, explore and find new adventures because no matter where you end up, it will always be exactly how it was meant to be, trust me, it will be worth it and you will feel it, and if you don’t, then your journey isn’t over yet

                                                                    – Enaya-

The contrasting images of the modern city and the cultural heritage & architecture of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will take you on an incredible journey into the majestic ancient era. The magical azure waters of the Red Sea call out to the soul and effortlessly your mind aligns with the rhythm of the universe. There is an air of mystery in the golden sands of the deserts, the enchanting winds whisper to you the stories of a magnificent past. You can witness unbelievable mountain sceneries and spectacular heritage villages. Why Saudi Arabia? Well, It’s not just culture, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not just traditions, it’s value. I try and write so that I can encompass, even if just a speck of the glorious features of the kingdom and I try to justify its beauty, but all boundaries simply cease to exist. I am left with a never-ending desire to capture and present the Arabian wonders and all I can say is that there is always more than meets the eye!

Al-Bahah (city) & Baljureshi

Just imagine! Taking in a breath of fresh and cold air in the midst of peaceful silence where it’s only you and the melody of nature, would Arabia ever be the first thought to cross your mind? To walk in the midst of clouds is a dream for many, it’s real for those who visit here!

Along the impressively high cliffs of the Sarawat mountains, Al-Bahah and Baljureshi will offer stunning viewpoints on the cliffs of Al-Bahah Province, historical and traditional sites, and satisfying green parks. The city of Al-Bahah will welcome you to a marvelous sight of its finely detailed and picturesque old villages. Although these traditional buildings are now unoccupied, the local residents are proud to see that the visitors are keen on acknowledging skilled carpentry and their glorious ancestral past.

Al Bahah
evening in Al Bahah
  • Al-Bahah Souk: If you are lucky, you will get the chance to see the largest traditional market that is set-up in the city

This souk distinguishes itself as most vendors are locals from the Tihama coastline. All the goods and crafts sold in the souk have been developed by local suppliers and include items such as basil, household items, textiles, livestock and so much more

  • Al-Bahah Museum for Antiquities and National Heritage: This is most definitely a very intriguing place. Located in the city, the museum, which was established by the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage (SCTH), highlights the cultural and historical dimensions and covers the long history of Al-Bahah province

Baljureshi presents one of Al-Bahahah’s most intense views. In fact, from the park located on the base of the majestic rock formation of Jabel Heznah, the panoramic view of the scarp that separates the Mountains of Sawarat from the Tihama plain is simply breathtaking. If you are adventurous in your approach, a climb till the top of the majestic Jabel Heznah will be the perfect activity for you at the end of which you will be rewarded by the highest viewpoint of the entire province.

  • Jabal Mussala Ibrahim – Sheda: Does Arabia = heat, dust, desert and sand dunes? You will be surprised! The Jabal Mussala Ibrahim presents from a distance its resplendent silhouette with its sharp granite peak pointing to the sky, the view is nothing less than monumental. When you get close, a small road leads you to the hidden treasure that the place actually holds: a village perched halfway to the top, called Sheda. There are other charming sights on your way to this village in the sky, not an exaggeration! It happens to be 1600 meters above sea level! You will experience a dramatic change in the weather, especially during summers, as it will get much cooler as you arrive closer to this destination.
Jabal Mussala Ibrahim
Jabal Mussala Ibrahim
  • Zee Al-Ayn historical village: This enchanting historical village will take you by surprise. The striking contrast of the white structure against the darker shades of the Sarawat mountain backgrounds is a delightful sight and a nearby natural spring that provides water to a lush oasis surrounding the bottom of the hill completes this iconic view. This historical village is an interesting example of traditional human settlements that were well suited to their climate and to their social and financial statuses.

Al-Jawf Province

  • The Dumat Al-Jandal: This oasis is located in the heart of Al-Jawf province. Visit the local palm grove provides tourists with an enjoyable and tranquil experience; green fields and plants are distributed with apparent anarchy that reveals the area’s natural lushness. Palm trees provide the most exquisite dates. A definite place to visit for an exclusive and tranquil experience.
  • Nefud Al-Kebir: A characteristic feature of the Nefud Al-Kebir is its sand’s plethora of colors ranging from not only the regular beige to red, but also from yellow to white on its edges. Another interesting feature is the shape of the hilly yet scalable dunes. However, the most fascinating part is that it hosts some of the world’s most brilliant rock art. This place has to be on your list!
Nefud Al-Kebir rock art
Nefud Al-Kebir rock art
  • Rajajil is a mysterious ancient site located on a sandstone terrace, south of Sakakah. The conundrum of the site’s standing stones has attracted widespread interpretations and among them, tales of fear and superstition also go around. Archeological excavations have revealed that Rajajil is actually a burial site. It is possible to identify more than 50 burial sites, ranging from single trench tombs to structures of funerary chambers. A place that will definitely enlighten your historic spirit.
  • Za’abal Castle: Za’abal castle sits on a mountaintop in the northwest corner of Saudi Arabia. It is a mud and stone castle situated on top of a functioning well system, which has been operating throughout the city of Sakakah for years. The castle is believed to have been built about 200 years ago, consisting of a wall guarded with four watchtowers and a water reservoir. Archeological evidence, however, shows that there have been several structures on this site since the first century AD. This impressive location, at the highest point in the region, offers it a spectacular view of the city.
Za’abal Castle
Za’abal Castle

Aseer Province

  • Abha is the largest city at a high altitude. It is about 2,200 meters above sea level, BUT the skies fall here! Among the most attractive features is the display of tremendous traditional architecture. Jabal Al-Akhdar- The Green Mountain provides one of the best views of the entire city and its surrounding mountains, as far as the tip of the mighty Sarawat Ranges. The Al-Basta district is one of the oldest villages in the Abha valley where you will find beautiful and vibrant conventional architecture and enjoy its quaint streets.
  • The Ottomans constructed many landmarks in the region, including the Al-Basta Bridge and the Shamsan Fort which overlooks the northern part of Abha at the beginning of the 16th century (BC). The fort is a 91 meter long and 25-meter wide rectangle with three towers and a gate on the southwest wall. Several rooms and services open onto the inner courtyard of the castle.
  • Dhahran Al-Janub’s old village is a beautiful testament to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ancient traditional mud-brick buildings. There are still panels along the old street with inscriptions that surround you in an aura of the past, and even though the village is no longer populated, tourists can still experience the atmosphere that enlivened these streets not so long ago.
Dhahran Al-Janub's old village
Dhahran Al-Janub’s old village
  • The road leading from Abha to Jabal Sawdah, which is the highest point in the kingdom, runs through Moshebah’s hilly landscapes. These sights smash all prejudices about Saudi Arabia as the scenery here is all about mountains and greenery, the absolute opposite of typical sand dune landscapes.
  • The first picture that comes to your mind with regard to Saudi architecture is the artistic and dynamic Rijal Alma’s buildings. The landscape surrounding Rijal Alma ‘ is made up of steep hills overlooking a sinuous path that once carried spices and incense fruits into the Arabian Peninsula’s interior and a valley running towards the Tihama plain. It offers stunning sights and is a must-visit destination. 
Rijal Alma's buildings.
Rijal Alma’s buildings.

Hail Province

  • White Volcanoes (The lava fields of the Harrat Khaybar): This is also referred to as the volcanic wonder of Arabia. The jewel of the Harrat Khaybar lies at the center, where there is a very rare type of volcano made of silica-rich magma which gives it a white color. The two largest volcanoes are the Jabal Abiadh and the Jabal Bayda, whose grandiose majesty is stunning. 
  • Shuwaymis: This world-famous site contains some of the earliest and most impressive carvings and rock art of the Arabian Peninsula. The sequence that emerges from an evaluation of the hunting scenes divides rock art into an exclusive hunting period, a herding period and a later period of camel depictions. This is a fascinating place to be.
Rock art in Hail
Rock art in Hail

Jizan Province

  • Farasan Islands: It consists of 84 islands made up of coral reefs located approximately 40 kilometers offshore from the town of Jizan. With its beaches, its crystal clear waters, and its rich land and underwater wildlife. The uninhabited islands serve as breeding grounds for a large number of birds. Farasan waters also host many kinds of dugongs, sea turtles, lobsters, manta rays, lionfish, eels, etc. It is particularly famous for its parrot-fish (hareed). The land reserve has a very special feature with the Farasan Islands Gazelle, whose graceful silhouettes can be seen shyly in the bushes of the main island.
  • Wadi Lajab: Wadi Lajab’s most impressive attribute is that it provides fresh water more frequently than any other wadi in Saudi Arabia. The stream flowing at the bottom of the canyon creates mid-sized waterfalls and multiple ponds which are deep enough for visitors to enjoy a dip!
Wadi Lajab
Wadi Lajab
  • Fayfa is Jizan Province’s diamond in the sky. It provides spectacular and breathtaking views over the lush green mountains with its peaks reaching about 2,600 meters above sea level. Another beautiful feature of Fayfa mountains is the terraces that were built over the centuries in order to allow agriculture to develop in this humid and fertile but steep land.

Madinah Province

  • Wadi Jinn: The interesting part about this mysterious place is that be it a vehicle (left at neutral) or plain simple water poured onto the ground, it all moves in the uphill direction instead of the usual down the slope movement. People over the course of time have come up with all sorts of theories with the superstitious one being that the valley is occupied by supernatural beings while a scientific theory suggests that it might just be some magnetic field reaction. What do you believe?
Wadi Jinn
Wadi Jinn
  • Lion Tombs of Dedan: Some remains of these brilliant kingdoms have been excavated, including an astonishing necropolis whose tombs were dug on both sides of Jabal Dedan, which overlooks the city to the east. These tombs are square-shaped holes, cut off at different heights from the side of the mountain, with cavities about two meters deep. These lion sculptures, which are an outstanding example of the Mesopotamian influence, are proud iconic figures. An interesting fact, not for the faint of heart, is that remains of bones, shrouds and pieces of coffin wood have been found in these graves.
  • Jabal Al Rukkab: Jabal Al-Rukkab’s most impressive rock formations are three incredibly high natural pillars standing in the middle of a wide wadi and at the bottom of a huge sandbank offering a perfect view of an out-of-this-world scenery. The rocks ‘ silhouette is rather striking and the locals have nicknamed them as “the three dancers.”
Jabal Al-Rukkab's rock formations
Jabal Al-Rukkab’s rock formations

Makkah Province

  • Al Wahbah Crater: The Al Wahbah Crater is located in the middle of a barren desert, but the reason that it is an amazing natural wonder is that it has a huge source of salt contained at its base. The giant crater was presumed to have formed due to an ancient meteor collision, but ultimately it was discovered to have resulted due to volcanic activity.
  • Taif (Rose festival): Taif is famous for its roses. Its most attractive rose is an oil-rich 30-petal damask rose, the perfume of which has a robust, spicy, and dizzyingly complex scent. Every year in the months of March-April Taif’s Rose Festival is hosted at King Faisal Park in Qadeera. A flowering tapestry arranged like a carpet, by the Taif Municipality spread over 750 m2, comprising more than 15,000 species of all-color blooming roses, is one of the major highlights of the festival. The festival hosts several pavilions for traditional food items, art and craft, folk dances, and cultural competitions for kids.
Rose festival in Taif
Rose festival in Taif
  • Jeddah: Jeddah presents a quite different image via the seaport city which has an extensive history of exchanges with the world. Having the natural virtue of its location along the Red Sea coast and vibrant coral reefs and the white sand beaches, it has earned its nickname “bride of the red sea.” Obhur on the north of Jeddah is renowned for its resorts with private beaches and dive center. Red Sea marvels are celebrated in the Fakieh Aquarium, where more than 200 species are displayed, including Sharks, Groupies, Napoleon Wrasse, Sea Horses, etc.

One of the most famous attractions here is the fish market located on the west of the Corniche and offers at least 50 species of freshly caught sea creatures from the Red Sea, ranging from hammerhead sharks to groupers, shrimps, parrotfish, and squids. Besides the seafront is the beating heart of the city.

Ancient Jeddah people used to build their homes with coral stones collected from the coastal reef along the shores of the Red Sea, while purified clay from the depths of the two Al-Mangabi and Al-Arbaean lakes were used to cement coral stones. The clay was also used to protect the soils and roofs and lower coral walls. There is also some very old traditional architecture in Balad.

Al Rahma Mosque
Al Rahma Mosque
  • The Haunted House of Jeddah: Jeddah’s haunted house sits on the North Corniche hundred meters or so from the seafront. Among the communities in Jeddah, it is well known and people avoid going close to this house. People around say it’s a magnet for the youth (shabab). Approximately 16 people have entered this house and have never returned, confirms a news report. The outside world has no idea as to where they have gone, there is no trace of them still today.

Najran Province

Najran city is famous for its two palaces, Emarah and Al-Aan, which are inevitable landmarks and brilliant examples of the province’s traditional architecture. The old streets of  Najran traditional villages like Abu As-Su’ud is a delightful experience that will take you back in time. Another artistic feature of Najran’s traditional houses is the sleek crenellations on the top of the walls, which gives the silhouette of these rectangular buildings a strong impression of lightness. It is truly an aesthetically pleasing sight.

Najran province
Najran province

Qassim Province

The province of Qassim is home to some of the most symbolic attributes of the Arabian cultural heritage, not only with its iconic date festival but also with many other festivities, rural villages, and museums that have kept Arab customs and lifestyles intact.

  • Al- Shinanah Tower: This is an extraordinary architectural feature that can be found in the southwest of Al-Rass in the province of Qassim. The slender silhouette of the watchtower is located on the top of a small hill where the desert begins. This classic 27-meter-high tower is a brilliant example of Qassim’s classic architectural heritage, which has been preserved to this day. 
Al- Shinanah Tower
Al- Shinanah Tower
  • Uyun Al-Jiwa: Uyun Al-Jiwa’s name refers to the governorate as well as its main city. The term translates literally into “the pond valley” and is derived from the water ponds that used to surround the area. Classical Arab poetry attests to the reputation of loyalty, honesty, and hard work of the people of Uyun Al-Jiwa and the historical importance of the oasis.

Riyadh Province

  • Ushaiger heritage village: Ushaiger, which literally means “blonde”, is a heritage village located 200 kilometers northwest of Riyadh in the heart of the Najd. Although it’s built of red rock, locals say that the Arabic word for red was also used for blonde in the past.
Ushaiger heritage village
Ushaiger heritage village
  • Al Ghat Heritage village (One of the largest traditional villages of Saudi Arabia): The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has an incredibly rich architectural heritage with dozens of styles across the country. It is situated 250 kilometers from the capital city of Riyadh and adjacent to the province of Qassim, Al-Ghat is one of the most well preserved traditional villages in Saudi Arabia.
  • Musayqirah rock is one of the very rare known sites in the province of Riyadh where water-buffalo carvings can be found, attesting to the Arab Peninsula’s previous humid climate. They are on the eastern side of the main rock. Particularly notable is the large panel on the western side of Musayqirah given a large number of carvings and a variety of representations it carries. Ostriches, ibexes, dogs, lions, camels as well as hunters, warriors, a human skeleton, horsemen, and even Thamudic inscriptions have been found. A very interesting sight and should definitely make it to your list!
Musayqirah rock art
Musayqirah rock art
  • Edge of the world: The Edge of the World is part of the Tuwaiq Escarpments, which runs through the central region. The splendid view of the cliffs and the endless panoramic view of the plains below make it an enthralling tourist attraction. As the cliffs face westward, they also give spectacular sunset views over the Saudi Arabian desert to tourists who camp there overnight.

Tabuk Province

  • Jabal Al Lawz: Jabal Al-Lawz, which in Arabic means the almond mount, is one of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s most mystical ranges with its height at 2,549 meters above sea level, rendering it the tallest mountain in the province of Tabuk. This is the only place in Saudi Arabia where snow falls almost every year. As shocking as it is, owing to its many mountains reaching heights of over 2 500 meters, Saudi Arabia does witness regular snowfalls. It is believed that Mount Sinai is also located in this region where Prophet Musa (as) received the word of Allah.
Jabal Al Lawz
Jabal Al Lawz
  • Al Shaq: Al-Shaq means the tear (or rip) since it seems that the tectonic forces have literally torn the earth apart. This is why this place is also known as the Great Canyon of Saudi Arabia. Elegant sandstone formations can be seen everywhere in that area. This is a very captivating place and you should definitely make time for this one!
  • Mahajah: Natural arches that are present in many parts of the country are among its enigmatic characteristics, however, Mahajah hosts the most remarkable ones. Wind and rain erosion sculpted a formation of sandstone into three striking arches, the highest reaching up to 40 meters. There is a natural rock wall, more than 160 meters long, adorned with thousands of carvings depicting life-size camels, horsemen, goats, buffaloes, geometric figures, and even a boat!

Owing to its hard, rocky terrain, it is a very remote area with soft sand fields that dictate slow progress. It’s also full of dead ends, so it’s just for experienced drivers! It is strongly recommended that you go with a guide who knows the way!

Natural arches in Mahajah
Natural arches in Mahajah
  • Ras Al-Mashee – Safinat Haql: The Gulf of Aqabah offers stunning views along its magnificent stretch of 170 kilometers from Ras Al-Sheikh Hameed in the south to the city of Aqabah in the north. Turquoise waters on both sides are home to vivid marine life, variegated corals, and white sandy beaches at the foot of astounding mountains. An unintended manmade characteristic lies on the coral reef near the beach-a shipwreck, part of the hull jutting out of the water. The shipwreck of ‘Georgios G’, known as’ Safinat Haql’ which stands for ‘boat of Haql’ by the locals. It remains unclear what caused its unfortunate fate.
  • Tayeb Ism (The valley of Musa {as}): This is a destination that will most definitely take you by surprise. While approaching the road that runs along the azure waters and white beaches, the first thing to grab your attention is the reverence of the 600-meter-high granite massif, whose indentations fall into the Gulf of Aqabah. The visitors will see another enticing wonder from the bridge, a stream of crystal clear water that runs through the gravel throughout the year. As a result, the wadi hosts numerous palm trees and reeds that create small valleys overlooked by the canyon’s vertiginous sides.

Another interesting fact is that Madyan is the land where, after fleeing from Egypt, Prophet Musa (as) spent ten years in voluntary exile. It is also believed that they reached the land of Madyan at Tayeb Al-Ism when he brought the people out of Egypt through the Red Sea, which is the reason why it is also called the Valley of Musa.

Tayeb Ism
Tayeb Ism
  • Wadi Qaraqir (Wadi Dissah):  The first distinctive feature of this wadi is its dimensions: the side cliffs are already higher than 100 meters at the eastern end of the canyon, but at the western entrance the distance between the wadi’s base and the highest cliffs reaches as high as 500 meters! It is there that one can enjoy the most breathtaking landscape of this magical place, from the huge granite peaks, standing on both sides of the canyon.

A mystical aura escapes through the sands which reflect the hue of the sun and brings forth destinations that smash stereotypes of Arabia simply being a desert landscape! This list of mysterious, unique, and interesting places will definitely broaden the horizon of your imagination.  Saudi Arabia – truly a magical place, a diamond in the rough!

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All about Saudi Arabia

Learn everything about Saudi Arabia

“We must never fail to affirm that we are indeed one nation under God”

Saudi Arabia is a fledgling country, covering most of the North and Central Peninsula. It is heir to a prosperous history. The Hejaz, the cradle of Islam, and the site of this religion’s holiest cities, Makkah and Madinah, are situated along the Red Sea, in its western highlands. An area is known as Najd, the country’s geographical heartland, had been inhabited, until recently, by the nomadic tribes. To the east, along the Persian Gulf, there is an abundance of oil fields that, since the 1960s, have correlated Saudi Arabia with their oil wealth. All three — culture, tribalism, and vast wealth — have fueled the country’s subsequent development.

The Arabian Peninsula has been supporting agriculture, herding, and hunting for thousands of years. Numerous civilizations, including those of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Byzantine, India, Persia, and China, have reached the ancestor of Arabia through important ancient trade routes. In the western Arab cities of Makkah and Madinah around 610 A.D., the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The emergence of Islam is one of the most important events in history.

The Saudi National Day

The Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz was a dual monarchy made up of a multitude of dominions and tribes. In the early 1900s, the ruler of Nejd, King Abdul Aziz, reclaimed his family’s ancestral hometown of Riyadh and began nearly three decades of territorial expansion in the region. By 1932, his forces were able to take control over most of central Arabia, and he changed the name of his kingdom to the name of his family, the House of Saud. The Saudi National Day celebrates the passing of that royal decree and is now a public holiday in the Kingdom. The Saudi National Day is enthusiastically celebrated in all major cities of the Kingdom with ethnic dances, local festivals, and other cultural activities.

Saudi flag on pole
Saudi flag on pole

National Anthem, Emblem, Flag of Saudi Arabia and its history

 Anthem – English  translation
Anthem – English  translation

Saudi Arabia did not have an anthem in 1947, so when King Abdulaziz visited Egypt that year, he approached Abdul Rahman Al-Khateeb, an Egyptian composer, to develop an anthem, and “Aash Al Maleek” was created. The rhythm, a style of Arabic fanfare, is similar to those in the vicinity of other Arab states. Mohammed Talat composed the first set of lyrics for the anthem in 1958, but they were not often heard. It was in 1984 that King Fahd instructed the poet Ibrahim Al Khafaji to write new lyrics that have become the official lyrics of today. The instrumental version of the anthem is called the Royal Salute.

Adopted in 1950, Saudi Arabia’s emblem consists of two swords below a palm tree (honoring the Hijaz and Nejd kingdoms), that represents vitality and development, and two crossed swords that symbolize justice and strength. The Emblem appears on government documents, diplomatic missions, as well as several Saudi Arabian flags. It is emblazoned in gold on the flag of the Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia (which is also the Kingdom’s war ensign), and on the lower hoist of the Royal flag.

A green flag with white Arabic inscriptions and a sword is the Saudi Arabian flag that was officially adopted on March 15, 1973. The inscriptions on the flag are the Islamic declaration of faith, “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad (saw) is the messenger of Allah. Ibn Saud’s victories are symbolized by the sword on the flag.

Saudi flag
Saudi flag

National Animal of Saudi Arabia

It makes sense that Saudi Arabia’s national animal is the camel pertaining to its vast desert regions. Often known as the “ship of the desert “, the animal has been used for millennia as a means of transportation by nomads. Having a life span of 40-50 years, camels can withstand desert heat and survive with minimal food and water.

Camels in desert
Camels in desert

Hard to believe, but these animals can be found in parts of KSA!!!

  • Hamadryas Baboon: The hamadryas baboon is a species of baboon from the Old World monkey family. They are a very common sight near the cities of Taif and Abha. 
  • Nubian Ibex: This is a desert-dwelling goat species. The NCWCD (National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development) has established special ibex reserves to save the diminishing population of the Nubian Ibex in Saudi Arabia.
  • White-tailed Mongoose: This is the Mongoose family’s largest species and is located in the country’s southwestern region. It is a nocturnal species with a lifestyle close to that of the Desert Hedgehog, living in a burrow in the daytime and stalking at night. 
  • Caracal: It is a species of wild cat that is known for its long black tufts on the back of its ears, they are found in the western part of Saudi Arabia.
Wild cat
Wild cat
  • Striped hyena: The Striped Hyena follows the nomadic lifestyle, on the move constantly. It’s a popular feature of folklore in the Middle East

National Tree and Flower

The date palm tree is the national tree of Saudi Arabia, as a desert tree, it thrives in bright, full sun locations, and is also quite drought-tolerant, as its deep roots will travel far to seek water.” The Royal jasmine happens to be the official national flower of the kingdom.

date tree
date palm tree-National tree

National Bird

Falcon is the national bird of Saudi Arabia. They are commonly known as “Hunting Dogs of the Sky.” Falcon is by far the most powerful, huge and majestic bird of all species of birds.

falcon
falcon-National bird

National Sport

Sports in Saudi Arabia is an essential part of its culture and the country participates in many international sporting competitions. Although the traditional sport is Camel-racing the national game happens to be Football.

Traditional Dance

The National Dance is the Sword Dance, known as the “Ardha”. Men carrying swords stand in two lines or a circle, with a poet singing in their midst, performing the traditional Sword Dance. The term ‘Ardha’ is derived from the Arabic verb ‘ard’, meaning ‘to show’ or ‘to parade’. The Ardha dance recalls the battles, wars, and victories led by King Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia. It is also considered as a symbol of the re-pledging of allegiance to the King.

men dancing in ethnic clothing
men dancing in ethnic clothing

Traditional attire and jewelry

In general, Saudis wear modern adaptations of traditional designs. The loose, flowing traditional clothing is practical for the warm, wind-swept climate of the Kingdom, at the same time symbolizing the Islamic ideal of modesty. 

Men wear a wool/cotton ankle-long shirt called a thawb. They wear a large square of cotton (ghutra) on the head, which is folded over a skullcap (Taqiyyah), and secured in one place with a cord (igaal). The flowing, full-length outer cloak (Bisht), generally made of wool/camel hair, completes the outfit. Women usually wear a black outer cloak (abaya) over their clothing, which may well be modern in style even in today’s society. Traditionally, Saudi women wear a black Shayla over their heads, a belt tied over their heads. Traditional dress is often richly decorated with coins, sequins or brightly colored fabrics.

Jewelry has been an essential part of Arab fashion for decades. This reflects a social and economic rank rather than a mere decoration. It was a convenient form of wealth and security for the Bedouins. Modern Saudi women wear ornaments with a blend of traditional and contemporary diamond designs and a variety of precious metals.

Arabic Cuisine

Traditional staple foods include dates; goat, camel, and cow’s milk; ghee, cheese, and other dairy products; bread and other foods from wheat, millet, and barley; squash, eggplant, okra, pumpkins, beans, leeks, onions, and a few other vegetables; mint, coriander, parsley, and cumin; and occasionally mutton, goat, or camel meat and, on the coasts, fish. Elderly people remember the food of the past as simple but adequate, with no morsel wasted. Meals today are eaten later, and the foods are more copious and elaborate.

The arrival of a guest at one’s home is an event that leads to a special meal in honor of the visitor. Traditional etiquette requires that sheep, goat, or camel be sacrificially slaughtered for a meal, and this is still often done. The meat is boiled in large pots, and part of the soup is passed between the guests, and the rest is poured over large trays of rice and on top of which the cooked meat is placed.

Chicken on rice.
Chicken on rice.

Culture and Traditions

Saudi Arabia’s culture is characterized by its Islamic heritage, its historic position as an ancient commercial center, and its Bedouin traditions. The Saudi culture has evolved over the years, changing with modernization Saudi Arabia’s cultural dimension is represented as follows:

  • Depth of its civilization that dates back to more than one million years, which is confirmed by the archaeological evidence and the heritage prevalent in this country
  • Its distinguished geographical location made it a point of intersection of international trade routes through all the ages
  • Being the cradle of Islam and the country of The Two Holy Mosques.
  • Being a bridge for cultural communication

A number of organizations have been set up across the country to protect the cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia. One of the largest of them is the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Ministry of Culture, which supports a wide range of cultural activities, including literature and theater groups, storytelling workshops, museum festivals, arts and crafts, and science projects. Many clubs offer Saudis the opportunity to cultivate different artistic talents. The Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts; and The King Fahd Cultural Center, play a key role in the artistic life of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi traditions are embedded in Muslim teachings and Arab rituals. The crest of the year is the holy month of Ramadan, followed by Eid ul Fitr and the season of Hajj (Pilgrimage), followed by Eid ul Adha and the other national holidays. Arab traditions also have an important role to play in Saudi life. Over the millennia, these age-old traditions have evolved and are highly respected. These include kindness and hospitality provided to strangers, friends, and relatives by every Saudi individual. Arabic coffee is known as “Gahwa” is the simplest form of hospitality–its preparation alone is a sophisticated cultural tradition, and it is often served with dates and sweets in small cups. The burning of incense (oud) to welcome guests is another gesture of hospitality.

men in congregational prayer
men in congregational prayer

Folk Music, Dance, and  Poetry

The annual Jenadriyah National Cultural and Heritage Festival is a recognition of Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage. “Al Ardha,” the kingdom’s national dance, is one of Saudi Arabia’s convincing traditions. It is an ancient Bedouin practice that is based on this sword dance: drummers beat rhythms and poets recite verses as shield-carrying men walk shoulder to shoulder, swaying. The festivals also feature the reading of poetry by established poets.

The hollow-drum is also an important instrument in traditional and tribal practices. “Samri,” in particular in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia, is a popular traditional music and dance form in which poetry is sung. In Arab cultural life, poetry is particularly important and has long been considered to be one of the most important forms of literary art. This is a way to preserve the history, customs, and social values of the nomadic days of the Bedouins. Poetry remains popular with the Saudis even today. 

men playing instruments
men playing instruments

Festivities in Saudi Arabia.

  • The Jenadriyah Heritage and Cultural Festival

    It plays a crucial role in preserving Saudi national heritage, coordinated by the National Guard under the direction of the Crown Prince. The festival opens with a traditional camel race and intends to cover all facets of Saudi Arabia’s traditions and culture. A highlight of the festival is the performance by folklore troupes of traditional music by musicians from across the Kingdom and national dances. The festival runs every year for two weeks, with more than one million Saudis participating.

  • Riyadh Festival for Shopping and Leisure

    This festival is held every year in the month of July. Visitors can shop all types of things right from garments, accessories, and electronic goods. 

  • Riyadh Food Festival

    Among the most popular festivals and events in Riyadh, the Saudi Food Festival is one of the longest established food exhibitions in Saudi Arabia. It is a bi-annual event and it is a great opening to introduce new products, innovations, and machinery to the leading food production companies.

  • Buraidah Date festival

    In accordance with the ubiquity of this gift of nature, there is an annual festival devoted to dates, held in the agricultural heartland of Saudi Arabia, Buraidah, in Qassim province. It’s the largest festival of dates in the world.

There is something very intriguing about exploring culture, there is always more than meets the eye. Don’t look at it, try and actually see it. Once you see it, you will understand it too.

“Travel to regulate the imagination of reality, and instead of dreaming about how things can be, just see them as they are”

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