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300,000 expected to visit Souk Okaz
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 11 - 08 - 2016

More than 300,000 people are expected to visit the 10th edition of the annual Souk Okaz festival, which was inaugurated by Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal at Al-Arfa Historic Souk area here on Tuesday night.
Various executive committees of Souk Okaz have completed all the preparations for wide varieties of programs and activities of the festival.
These included forums, seminars, dialogues, poetic evenings, performance of folklore arts, staging of dramas, exhibitions, and display of handicrafts.
More than 30 thinkers and writers will present papers at seven cultural seminars, which will be held over three days as part of the festival.
Around 24 poets from 10 Arab countries will present their poems on poetic evenings.
The functions include honoring this year's Souk Okaz Poet and Okaz Young Poet prize winners. Prince Khaled announced the name of Muhammad Mahmoud Al-Azzam of Jordan as this year's Souk Okaz Poet prize winner while Khulaif Bin Ghaleb Al-Shamri of Saudi Arabia bagged the Okaz Young Poet prize. The prize for fiction, which was introduced for the first time this year, went to the famous Saudi novelist Maqbul Mousa Al-Alawi.
Abdul Baqi Abu Bakr from Malaysia won the first position in Arabic calligraphy while Abdurahman Ibrahim Al-Majed of Bahrain bagged the prize in digital photography. Luay Muhammad Naseeb of Saudi Arabia secured the prize in entrepreneurship, which was introduced for the first time, while Muhammad Basalama has won the prize in innovation.
The winners were chosen from among 558 contestants from 20 countries. The value of prize money has been raised to SR1.7 million.
The emir also announced the establishment of an integrated city for Souk Okaz.
Souk Okaz, which represents a unique and important tourism landmark in the Kingdom, has been re-created on the same location where the ancient Souk Okaz used to be held.
The festival was revived in 2006 by Prince Khaled during his first tenure as emir of Makkah.


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