Saturday, April 2, 2016

Event: Janadriyah Annual Heritage & Culture Festival 30 (2016) (Updated)

Map/Guide of  Janadriyah Festival in English (Click on the image to Zoom):

01-Janadriya map1

Update (22-2-16): You can find pictures on the following link:

Pictures: 20160217-08 - Janadriyah Festival 2016
Event: Janadriyah Annual Heritage & Culture Festival 30 (2016) (Updated) Map/Guide of  Janadriyah Festival   in Engl...
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Update (18-2-16): Yesterday we were able to cover what was left in Janadriyah Festival and thus this was the 1st time in 5 years that we were able to see almost everything at Janadriyah Festival. It took us 7 visits of 4+ hrs each and 30km walk to achieve that. We took only a few pics, I will upload them soon. Yesterday was also the most gift-rich visit. The sections we visited are as follows:

  • Geological Survey: It was interesting to see seabed of some of the beaches of KSA.

  • Boeing: We went straight to Boeing that we might be able to try the simulator but it was not open yet.

  • Ministry of Transportation: We got confirmed news that the train b/w Makkah and Madina will start after 1-2 years. The train station of Madina is complete but there is still work going on on the track. We also got to know that after 5-7 years, the train station of Dammam will be an international train station with trains coming from Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman etc. No work has been started on the track b/w Makkah/Madina and Riyadh. We received some calendars as gifts.

  • Makkah: We had paparh (which are commonly available in Pakistan but not available here), meat samosas and balila. We got interviewed for UNESCO's documentary on Janadriyah Festival, which will be available on UNESCO's website in 2017. Makkah house has been improved with balconies and different entry/exit points. There was a new booth on history of Makkah.

  • Armed Forces Exhibition: It covers army, air force and navy. This section is always full of gifts, we received many.

  • Asir: Some nice jewelry was on display. 

  • Ports Authority: There were far less things on display this year. Not much to see.

  • Ministry of Justice: Not much to see but we got gifts.

  • Riyadh Municipality: There were activities for kids.

  • Eastern Province: They have made a new building which looks like historic port of Uqair. They have also improved the background of the stage. We received several gifts.

  • BAE Systems: There are activities for children including video games. We received gifts.

  • Aljouf: We couldn't find it, it seems it was not made available this year.

  • KIA Driving Experience: There you can test drive latest KIA cars.

  • Hall Diriya: While coming back we found out that there was a side entrance to this hall which was not visible from the front side. It was a big executive sitting hall.


Update (17-2-16): Yesterday we again entered through West Gate. The sections we visited are as follows:

  • Germany: We went straight to it coz it gets very crowded later on. It had several booths from German companies working in KSA. We received some gifts and tried some german bakery items from Burj Rafal Hotel Kempinski booth on payment. The most interesting thing was Volkswagen XL1, which is the most fuel efficient car in the world. Only 250 have been made and the 1 there is the only one in Middle East. It travels 100km in 0.9 liters of diesel. It looked like something from the future. The booth of Airbus was also good. Overall I think germany could have made their section more lively and interesting by displaying more of their culture rather than their corporates.

  • Madina: They have increased the size of this section this year which is a good thing because food from madina is very famous among locals. We also had Mutabbaq, Fermosha, Sobia and a kind of local burger from there.

  • Old Farm: We passed through it and it is a good attraction for people who have not seen Saudi farms.

  • Ministry of Agriculture: We received some dates as gifts. There was also free fresh juice available but it was too crowded.

  • King Abdulaziz Center for Equestrian: We met a few friendly horses. Children can also get free rides on horses.

  • Saudi Youth Welfare: Last year there were video games available here, this time there was not much to see.

  • The Management of Prisons: There was some homemade dresses and woodwork was available there. Not much to see.

  • Borders Guard: It has weapons and vehicles on display.

  • Jubail and Yanbu: Not much to see.

  • Hospitality Tent: Its local style big tent used in desserts. Not much to see.

  • Isuzu: 2 new models were on display.

  • Public Market: They have increased its size even more. It has many small sections and shops. We received books as gifts.

  • Ladies Events: It is a women only area.

  • Art Gallery: It was closed.

  • King Abdulaziz Library: Pics and Books are on display, we received calendars as gifts.

  • Kia: Several new models are on display.

  • Boeing: There was a flight simulator available there but there was a long queue thus we didn't wait for it.


Update (15-2-16): On Thursday we entered through West Gate and it was not as crowded as South Gate (Gate 4). On Friday it was too crowded, there was traffic jam a few KMs away from the entrance. If you want to visit on Friday then reach 1hr before the opening time else u will spend a lot of time on road. We again used West Gate. We didn't visit on Saturday/Sunday/Monday. Here are the sections we visited:

  • Ministry of Education: We visited it again as we had missed a few displays in our last visit. We received some gifts and I got my blood type tested for free.

  • Commission of Wildlife Conservation: It had pics of wildlife present in KSA and there was a small zoo at the back side. Not much to see.

  • Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice: We found good information about who to approach if someone is blackmailing using cyber crimes. We received some gifts as well.

  • Emirate Northern Border: It had traditional theme. Not much to see.

  • Old Farm: It had some goats and a camel making oil.

  • Qassim Province: We had some local sweet dish (Kaleja) and dates for free. We also got the information that Awja Dates is not only from Madina but it can grow in other areas as well. There is Ajwa from Qassim as well. We received some gifts.

  • Saudi Post: We got some info about EMS service and received some gifts from EMS and Lebara Counters.

  • Muslim World League: It has information about charity work. We received some gifts and some really good books for free.

  • Ministry of Social Affairs: You can get information about labor rights, I got my BP tested for free. You can also get your sugar tested.

  • Riyad Bank: We got Janadriyah Festival Guides/Maps from here (finally).

  • Arabian Oud: We purchased our favorite Aiter (Perfume Oil) at 50% off.

  • Baha Province: We had Mandi (Arabic dish) and we received some gifts as well.

  • Monetary Agency: It has old Saudi coins/medals on display.

  • Hall Diriya: It was closed.


  • Hall Diriya: It was again closed. Maybe it's not open this year.

  • Health Affairs National Guard: 
    • 1st Hall: We got our eyesight checked for free and got a small course on how to help a choking infant/adult and how to help someone who had a heart attack. We received some gifts as well.
    • 2nd Hall: It was for blood donation. I can't donate blood if I have visited Pakistan in last 1 year's time as Pakistan comes under malaria infected countries.
    • 3rd Hall: It was for volunteering for registering in blood bank, where if required they can request us for blood platelets etc. We got registered. We received some gifts as well.

  • A Group Aaksphoto: It was a photo gallery with some nice pics.

  • Students of Faculty of Medicine of Imam Muhammad bin Saud University: I got my BMI calculated, sugar and BP checked and got advice on how to stay healthy.

  • Ordnance Survey Geological: You can see precious stones and millions of years old fossils here. We got some gifts as well.

  • Saudi Press Agency: Not much to see.

  • King Abdulaziz Hall: It was similar like last year. Good traditional themes.

  • Media Center: Janadriyah Festival Guides/Maps were available here as well.

  • The National Family Safety Program: It was a big indoor auditorium and there was some show for children going on there.

  • Saudi Food and Drug Authority: We got some really useful info from this section about daily products we use. I will try to write a separate post for this. We received some gifts.

  • Technical and Vocational Training Corporation: This is a newly build section and it was quite big. It had a lot of activities for children and teenagers, especially boys. We received some gifts.


Update (11-2-16): Overall the amount of gifts have decreased this year and the security has increased. Yesterday we again entered through South Gate (Gate 4). We visited the following sections:

  • Ministry of Special Security Forces: We went straight to this section to get a chance to fire a real run. We were given 2 shots each, I was able to hit 2nd and 4th circle and got appreciation for my good aim from the soldier there.

  • Bahrain: It was open this time, we got some pictures with their descriptions of popular places of Bahrain as gift.

  • National Anti-Corruption Commision: It was open this time. There were some activities for children. We received some gifts.

  • Ministry of Economy and Planning: This is a new ministry with innovative logo and decor. The host were very welcoming but there was not much to see.

  • Amusement Children Air Cities: We just saw it from a distance as it looked for children only. Must be a treat for children.

  • Hyundai: You can get all info about latest Hyundai cars available in KSA. Many cars were on display.

  • Ford: You can get all info about latest Ford cars available in KSA. Many cars were on display.

  • Customs Department: You can see how smuggling is done, the most surprising for us was using peanut shells to smuggle illegal stuff. They also had live demonstration of trained dogs detecting illegal stuff.

  • Global Village: This is a new section introduced this year. It was like an old traditional indoor congested market but the shops were from various nationalities. There was huge variety of honey available there. We had Kushri, Shuwarma (traditional arabic food) and beef burger from there. One side also had free rides and arcade style video games for children.

  • Public Pension Agency and Ministry of Finance: Not much to see there.

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs: It was open this time but not much to see there. There were activities for children.


Update (10-2-16): Yesterday we entered through South Gate (Gate 4) and all the crowds are back. We found the parking 6 rows back even at 3:45pm and it took us 15-20 min just to cross the gate. This is a newly constructed gate and all sections after crossing it are new until you reach the old wall. So Janadriyah Festival has got even bigger from this year. Weather got even more colder yesterday. We visited the following sections:

  • UAE: Good historic pics were on display. We got good bootlets about UAE tourism with some gifts as well. A falcon and I posed for a pic together.

  • King Salman for Relief Center: We got information about volunteering for charity work and received some gifts as well.

  • Saudi Commision for Tourism and National Heritage: There were nice interactive projections to play with. Games for children were available. There was also a small high quality cinema with Saudi Tourism video. It was nice to see that we have already seen almost all of the places being shown there. We received some gifts as well.

  • Human Rights Commission and Martyrs and Injured:  These 2 were together in a row. Not much to see.

  • Ministry of Islamic Affairs: We received Quran with English Translation and a DVD as gifts.

  • KACST: Information about enhancements in Science and Technology was available. We found out that KSA has its own Solar Cells manufacturing factory.

  • Ministry of Housing: We came to know about new housing societies planned for remote cities of KSA. Not much to see.

  • Saudi Energy Efficiency Center: Good information available on energy saving in daily life. I got the opportunity to experience Samsung Gear VR powered by oculus, I have extreme motion sickness and I can't play 3D games but interestingly the Gear VR didn't make me nausea-tic, although after taking it off "Meri duniya thori dair ghoomti rahi thi" (my world was spinning for a while) but maybe I will be able to play games again once VR technology get's mature enough.

  • Ministry of Water and Electricity: Good info was available on how to save water in daily life. Games for children were available.

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs: It was closed.

  • Ministry of Special Security Forces: Many military related stuff (weapons, uniforms, vehicles etc) was on display, firing range was also available but was very crowded, will try to visit it again.

  • Saudi Scouts: Information about different charity organizations working in KSA was available there. We found info on how to volunteer for them. Craftsmen were preparing traditional stuff as well. I got my sugar tested for free.

  • Oman: We got good info on Tourism in Oman. We also came to know that the direct road b/w KSA and Oman is complete from Oman's side and is pending opening from KSA's side. We tasted some traditional Omani sweet. The section was small, it seems their actual section is under construction.

  • Bahrain: It was closed, will try to visit it again.

  • Social Affairs - Productive Families: We had traditional food Mentu, Fermoza and Balila from there, all was tasty but due to cold weather food was not hot.

  • National Anti-Corruption Commision: It was closed, will try to visit it again.

  • The Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques: Information on expansion projects of both mosques was available there. Historic pics and video was also on display. You can also see live how the kiswat al-ka'bah is prepared. We were running out of time thus we intend to visit it again.


Update (9-2-16): I visited it yesterday which was the 1st day of the festival for families. We entered through West Gate. Unexpectedly it was not very crowded, infact it was the lowest crowd we ever came across at Janadriyah Festival, which was definitely a good thing for us. After 5pm it started getting very cold, which was expected. Dress up accordingly as it's in the middle of the desert with very cold breeze. We visited the following sections:

  • Jezan: We were able to see some amazing pics of Farasan, which convinced us to have another tour to the island, a longer tour this time. We received 2016 calendars as gifts. Traditional Houses of Farasan are always nice to see. We saw making of oil in the traditional way. We had Matabagh (traditional arabic dish), Samosas, potato chips and Lemon Mint Juice. We took some pics but I will share the pics collectively after the end of the festival.

  • Hail: We visited Historic Faid City in 2014 but there was not much info available there. Luckily the section of Hail University was all about Faid City and we found out that after 5 years we might be able to see the ruins restored completely. We received caps and keychains as gifts. A whole section was dedicated to pictures of annual Hail Rally. Traditional house looked very cosy. We had tasty Lemon Mint Juice. 

  • Najran: The section was not full to its capacity this year. I had a little interview at Najran TV. You can see live honey bees making honey and could taste it as well.

  • Ministry of Education: This section is a treat for children. Many toys and activities are present with some stage shows as well. We received stickers, keychains, card covers, mugs as gifts from 1st floor.

  • Saudi Airlines: Here you can see the history of the company through pictures. We were also informed about current offers. We also participated in a draw where we can win free tickets.

  • Alwaleed Philanthropies: There were many customizable/exclusive items for sale and the earnings will go in charity. This is the 1st time I saw their section in Janadriyah Festival.


Originally Post on 3rd January 2016:

The vibrant Janadriyah Annual Heritage and Culture Festival in Riyadh City District is a showcase for crafts from across the Kingdom. It celebrates the cultural traditions that unite this great country, while also revealing the regional differences which create the distinctive character of Saudi individuality.

The festival includes displays of regional architecture, cuisine, craft, markets, dances and folklore. It lasts approximately two weeks and takes place in the winter when the weather is cooler. There are working displays of carpet-weaving, pottery-making, and woodcarving from different regions. Arabian dancers and singers provide entertainment, while reviving all the traditional songs of different regions. There are also displays by the armed forces, and displays of traditional swords and daggers.

Date: 3 - 19 Feb, 2016 (17 days)
(3rd Feb 2016) is Opening Ceremony (might not be open for general public)
(4th - 7th Feb 2016) is for Men Only - 4pm to 12am
(7th - 11th Feb 2016) is for Students – 9am to 12pm
(8th - 19th Feb 2016) is for Families Only – 4pm to 12am

Address: Janadriyah Annual Heritage and Culture Festival, Riyadh
Coordinates: 24.958592,46.794462
Google Maps Link:
Event Email:
Social Media:
  Youtube Channel

The National Guard
Phone: +96614038992
Fax: +96614038992

The National Guard

I visited it every year from 2012 to 2014 and it was great. It did not happen in 2015 due to King's death. I would recommend it as a must see event. It is so huge that you cannot see it completely in one day.

Pictures and Feedback:

Janadriyah Cultural Heritage Festival 2014: 

Janadriyah Cultural Heritage Festival 2013:

Janadriyah Cultural Heritage Festival 2012:

Expected Sections at the Festival:

  • Guest of Honor - Germany 
    • “In the pavilion visitors will find ideas and projects ‘Made in Germany’ whether in business, science or society, and experience innovative solutions the country is offering to meet future challenges. We are inviting the Saudi audience to time travel through a typical German city,” Ruge (German Ambassador) said. More details can be found on:

  • Ports Authority
    • This is a new addition to Janadriyah’s gigantic setup. This area is representing the ports of KSA, it is a 3 stories building in a unique design of containers with a big watch tower near it. It has water and fountains outside. Inside you can see many big sized pictures of historic as well as current ports, ships and boats. Also highly detailed 3D models of actual ships. Before exiting in the right hall you can also get a gift bag. Overall a very good addition to Janadriyah.

  • Ministry of Justice
    • There was not much on display and everything was in Arabic thus you can skip this one.

  • Medical Centre
    • It was an actual clinic and there was nothing on display thus skip this one as well.

  • Riyadh Municipality
    • There we got the information about the big projects under constructions in Riyadh. A huge international garden is under construction in Riyadh. We were given fresh roses here.

  • Ministry of Social Affairs
    • Many local handicrafts were on display, there were some craftsmen making beautiful crafts live there and then. There was also a stall for free Sugar check.

  • Eastern Province
    • This is a big area with beautiful models of famous spots/building of Eastern Province. We were warmly welcomed by the authorities there, they gave us a guided tour, also gifted us a customized wooden keychain with my name written on it in Arabic and in Signs Language and a handbag to my wife.

  • Saudi Food and Drug Authority
    • It has good information about what is considered as a drug in KSA. Also before exiting they give you a gift bag with mug, calendar and other items. They also have special gift bags from children.

  • Technical and Vocational Training Corporation
    • This is a stage show with songs and dances.

  • The National Guard
    • This is not open for public.

  • Control
    • I'm not sure if where we went was the Control section but this section had information about medical facilities available in KSA with information about Hospitals, Weight lose, Healthy and Non-Healthy food, what to do in case of fire and other similar items. They gave us a gift bag and juices.

  • Al-Andulas Villas
  • Al Dawliah
  • Festival Management
    • All the above are for the management of festival and its not open for public.

  • Big Hall
    • It is closed so you can skip it.

  • King Abdulaziz Hall
    • It gives small glimpses of all various cultures of KSA. We bought a big sea shell from there which cost SR15.

  • Health Affairs National Guard
    • This area is about medical facilities of National Guards.
    • I was able to get a free injection for Influenza Vaccination which is good for 1 year. They also gave a gift bag.
    • I also got my heart checked for free, they checked
      • Good and Bad Cholesterol,
      • BP,
      • BMI and
      • Sugar.
      • They also gifted a table clock.
    • I also got my eyesight checked for free.
    • They also gave us a quick course on what to do in a medical emergency.
      • How to perform CPR on Adults, Children and Babies.
      • What to do if a person is chocking etc.
      • They also gifted us First-Aid kit.
    • There was also a small counter in the middle where there were live snakes and scorpions on display behind the glass containers. Some of the most dangerous species were present there.

  • Public Market (only some of the things)
    • We couldn’t cover it completely. The parts we covered had:
    • Blood Donation Section. If you are not interested in donating blood then you can skip it.
    • Pictures Gallery with historic pictures of KSA. They gave us gift bags.
    • SASO section also gave us a gift bag.
    • Gulf Oil section has pictures and information about Oil Rigs, they also gave us gift bag.
    • Geology Section had many beautiful stones on display with information, they also gave us gift bags. There was also a facility to get your jewelry stones checked.
    • Islamic Center had many books on Islam on display and they gifted us Quran.
    • Stuffed animals of KSA were on display along with pictures of marine life as well.
    • Saudi Retirement Association had some stalls for jewelry, small electronics, bags and food on sale. We bought a ring (SR30), a USB cable (SR15 after discount) and some food (SR4) from there.
    • There were free books available in different languages about KSA. We gathered around 5/6 books in English.
    • There was a Picture Gallery with some really good pics on display.

  • Civil Defense
  • National Anti-Corruption Commission
  • Emirate of Northern Border Province
  • Bahrain
  • Popular Presentations Difference Square
  • Saudi Youth Welfare
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • The Management
  • Borders Guard
  • Royal Commision for Jubail and Yunbu

  • Public Pension Agency
  • Test Drives
  • KIA
  • Hyundai
  • UAE
  • Ministry of Transport
  • Armed Forces Exhibition
  • Ministry of Interior: They gifted a DVD, it has English subtitles, you can find it on: Ministry of Interior, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


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