Souk Okaz, being held this year as part of Taif Season, features more than 10 shops showcasing traditional swords and daggers, giving visitors more information about these famous historic weapons and how they are made.
Formerly instruments of war, in modern times swords and daggers are used in popular games, traditional displays, and on special occasions such as wedding ceremonies as a source of pride. Weapon makers regularly exhibit their craft in festivals and events such as Souk Okaz, where they are a popular attraction.
Descended from primitive implements made from such materials as stone, wood and bone, weapons evolved as civilization advanced, being made from metals such as copper, bronze, iron, steel, and featuring gold and silver. Today’s swords and daggers are made by skilled craftsmen, who have often inherited the profession from their fathers and grandfathers. Prices vary according to the level of manufacturing, with modern weapons often featuring elaborate designs and inlays featuring rare and expensive materials, and often being made to order.
The traditional weapon-making industry is an important part of the tourism sector, with visitors to Saudi Arabia considering it one of the country’s most important handicrafts, and it is an economic contributor to the Kingdom.