The biggest cultural event of Saudi Arabia, the Janadriyah Cultural heritage festival is just around the corner! In this Blue Abaya guide you will find everything you need to know to attend the most important national festival for culture and heritage of Saudi Arabia in 2016.
Read on to find out the Janadriyah 2016 visiting hours, dates for family and single days, maps, location, directions, festival guides, tips for parents and more. For more Janadriyah updates, like & follow Blue Abaya on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
First of all, what exactly is the Janadriyah (Arabic: مهرجان الجنادرية) Heritage Festival?
An annually held, cultural heritage and folk festival of Saudi-Arabia organized by the Saudi National Guard since 1985.
The Janadriyah village was built specifically to host this festival. This is the largest festival of its kind in the Gulf, attracting millions of visitors from all over the region each year. The festival was cancelled in 2015 due to the passing of King Abdullah. During Janadriyah of the previous year 2014, over 3 million people from all over Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries visited the festival.
Janadriyah village is divided into sections according to the provinces of Saudi Arabia. Each area, or pavilion as they are referred to, showcases the unique culture, architecture, foods, dances, traditional dress and craftsmanship of that region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Janadriyah will be held this year for the 3oth time in the Al Janadriyah village on the outskirts of Riyadh. Entrance to Janadriyah Village is completely FREE of charge for everyone!
What can be found at the Janadriyah Village?
Al Janadriyah Village is a huge area, covering over 1.5 sq km of land. It’s is divided into sections according to the different Provinces of Saudi Arabia such as: Jizan (Gazan), Asir, Riyadh, Hail, Tabuk, Eastern Province, Makkah, Medinah, Taif, Al Baha, Qassim, and Najran. Each Province area has buildings which are replicas of the architectural style typical to said region.
Each year there’s also visiting country at the festival and in 2016 it will be Germany. Germany will have their own cultural pavilion at Janadriyah, all the info and their program can be found here: Germany at Janadriyah
In addition to the province areas, Janadriyah showcases also the largest governmental organizations such as National Guard Health affairs, Ministry of Agriculture, Saudi Ports Authority, Saudi Tourism and Heritage and many others. Additionally various social projects, non profit organizations, private companies and charity foundations are present.
A Camel race track which hosts camel races during the first three days is also a part of the Janadriyah village.
Several marketplaces, art exhibitions, food stalls, stages for traditional dance performances and commercial pavilions are also present.
When can I visit? Can I go with my husband/family/single male friends?
2016 dates and timings as follows: The festival grand opening is by invite to males only on Wednesday 3rd of February, you can watch it on live Tv from the KSA channels. Starting from 4th February the festival is open to males. In 2016 Singles (male only days) are February 4rd- 7th from 9-12 am (school kids) and 4pm-12 am. (Source Sauditourism site)
Family days at Janadriyah begin Monday 8th February until the 2oth February.
Opening hours: Gates open 4 pm until 12 midnight everyday.
Family days are when single women (either on their own or with their male family members) and married men with their families are allowed to enter.
Note that sometimes single males might be able to enter on family days accompanied with a tour group, by sticking with the group strictly at all times. The religious police are on the look-out for single males and all single males will be escorted out of the festival if found unaccompanied by family members. The Haia are very strict in particular with the Saudi youth, however expats might get some leeway in this matter.
Where is Janadriyah village located? How do I get there, is there a map of the area, or GPS co-ordinates?
The Janadriyah Village is located on Janadriyah Rd, opposite the Salwa Garden Village North of Riyadh, approximately 40 km from the city center. Further along the same road are the King Abdul Aziz Race track and Thumamah National Park. Three roads from Riyadh lead to Janadriyah. Check the Google map to see which one is closest to you and for driving directions. It takes about 30- 45 minutes from Riyadh city center to reach Janadriyah depending on the traffic. There’s no public transport available to the festival apart from taxis, they should all know the Janadriyah location.
GPS co-ordinates: 24.958592, 46.794462
Location Google Maps: http://goo.gl/maps/184ur