Souq Okaz is an open air market, near Taif, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was the largest and best-known market in pre-Islamic times. Today it has become a popular tourist destination.
Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, which is also known as SCTNH, will organise 40 trips aiming 10 Asian, European and American groups, benefiting 2,200 tourists, with the participation of 50 tour guides and 8 tour operators, according to the organising committee of Souq Okaz.
Souq Okaz, was a seasonal market which ran for two weeks each year throughout the month of Dhu al-Qi’dah. It was active from roughly around 542-726 CE. It was more than just a market, it was an important center where Arabs would meet to celebrate tribal rules, settle disputes, pass judgments, create agreements, publicize treaties and truces. They would also hold sporting competitions and races, poetry competitions, and religious gatherings.
The 11th session of Souq Okaz, began on July 12, and has featured more than 100 various events replicating the identity of Souq Okaz in its cultural and economic heritage and will include many origins reflecting everyday life in the ancient marketplace, enabling it to keep up with the growing demands of Saudi citizens and expatriate communities.
The whereabouts of Souq Okaz was disputed until historian Muhammad bin Abdallah al-Blahad rediscovered it.
A modern market has been recreated at the location of the historic souk. Each year, the souq honors a different poet. In modern times, as in the past, there are sermons, sporting competitions, poetry, artwork, and items for sale.
This year’s Souq Okaz will have 10 cultural seminars, 5 evening events of Arab standard poetry, 10 cultural workshops, 5 of which are intercontinental and 5 domestic, a calligraphy exhibition displaying the winning works, a fine arts oasis, and carved rock monuments and Okaz Mu’allaqat.
In a step to develop Souq Okaz, Prince Sultan Bin Salman, president of SCTNH and chairman of the Higher Supervising Committee of Souq Okaz, broadcasted last month that the festival be will renovate into a leading cultural destination around the year.
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