His Excellency Mr. Ahmad Al-Khatib
Cultural Heritage Development Projects
Souk Okaz is a unique tourism destination in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and it is considered as one of the most important tourism tributary in the Kingdom. Souk Okaz was an authentic historical destination of the same name held in the same place in the ancient past. Many tourists come to see the Souk annually from all over the world as a historical landmark whose roots are deeply entrenched into the Arabic past. This unique place is fabled for retaining the fragrance of its past and a glamour of history that rolled by its allies and corridors. Here the visitors are awe spelled by a paradox of an ancient market that combines with the modern technologies ubiquitously used in the display of its grandeur. Authentic geographical location of Souk Okaz, embellished in historical values, was determined after studying the antiquities and landmarks found in the valleys and mountains that surround it and after analyzing a large amount of available documentation, in all its accuracy and precision.
The importance of the Souk Okaz lies in the fact that the location was an unique historical and artistic forum, where intellectuals and people concerned with literature and culture gathered and displayed their art in the remote ancient past. Visitors are made to understand the cultural value of this place through seminars and lectures that take into account the glorious original Arab heritage, especially through the art of Al Mo'alagat (Interactive poetry). Each version of the Souk Okaz celebrates one of the Al Mo’alagat poets to emphasize their connection to the country's heritage. Souk Okaz, through its events, activities and competitions aims to revive the Saudi heritage arts and crafts in all authenticity.
Each year Souk Okaz offers twelve awards for various contests in the Arab World. They include, the Okaz International Poetry Award for Standard Arabic language poetry (Okaz Poet), Okaz International Handicraft Award, Okaz Creativity Award, Okaz Photography Award, Young Okaz Poet Award, Okaz Folklore Art Award, Okaz Children Folk Art Award, Okaz Theatrics and Creativity Award, Okaz Fine Arts Award, and Okaz Entrepreneurship Award. The total number of prizes and competitions amounts to SR 2.2 Million every year.
Noteworthy, recently the authority on the Souk Okaz Supervision was transferred to SCTH after was under the supervision of the Makah Province for the past ten years.