By Arab News
By Lojien Ben Gassem
Visitors to this year’s Janadriyah Festival are taking a trip down many a memory lane, especially at the fair’s Madinah village.
In fact, the festival’s younger visitors are sure to be getting a healthy glimpse into how their forefathers lived in historic regions, such as Yanbu, Al-Ula and Khaibar.
Handicrafts, paintings and folkloric elements have also been put on display by the very local families that made them.
Madinah village stood out to the crowds thanks to the large wall that mimics the city’s ancient fortress. The village entrance is marked by simulations of the city’s famous Anbariah and Masri gateways. The Shami gate at the back of the village also drew many crowds thanks to its distinct Hijazi imprint.
The house that depicts Madinah paints a vivid picture of how houses were built in the past and how people lived through the ages, dating back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Maryam Al-Hamed, head of the women’s delegation, said: “Visitors will have a chance to explore the region’s poetry, documentaries, lectures and seminars about the famous city’s landmarks, as well as the history and development of the Prophet’s Mosque.”
The city’s craftsmen, especially their coppersmiths, are renowned for their unique work because residents used copper in everything, from kettles and kitchen items to copper plate sets, back in the day.
Madinah was home to many skilled craftsmen in the iron industry who made lamps and lanterns, among other essentials. Visitors can find these stores in the market wing of the village.
Visitors can also watch the “sakka,” who used to carry water, and the “fawakherji,” who makes pottery, at work.
Getting high on VR
The festival embraced the future with virtual reality (VR) providing education, entertainment and training for visitors.
People were able to experience paragliding at a private security VR pavilion, while a separate exhibition was used to warn of the dangers of celebratory gunfire.
Visitors to a different pavilion donned headsets for a driving simulation exercise, which was particularly welcomed by women at the festival who used the occasion to learn about the rules of the road and traffic violations.
Many visitors said that VR technology was being widely used in education and training and that its deployment was likely to increase in the future.