Al-Qassim Region

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Al-Qassim
Region
القصيم
Qassim Random.png
Map of Saudi Arabia with Al-Qassim highlighted
Map of Saudi Arabia with Al-Qassim highlighted
Capital Buraidah
Boroughs 11
Government
 • Governor Prince Faisal bin Mishaal
Area
 • Total 58,046 km2 (22,412 sq mi)
Population (2010 census)
 • Total 1,215,858
 • Density 21/km2 (54/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 05

Al-Qassim Region (Arabic: منطقة القصيمAl Qaṣīm [ælqɑˈsˤiːm], local Najdi Arabic pronunciation: [ælgəˈsˤiːm] ), also spelled Qassim, Al-Qaseem, Al-Qasim, or Gassim internationally, is one of the thirteen administrative regions of Saudi Arabia. Located at the heart of the country, and almost in the center of the Arabian Peninsula, it has a population of 1,215,858 and an area of 58,046 km². It is known to be the "alimental basket" of the country, for its agricultural assets.

Al-Qassim is the richest region per capita in Saudi Arabia.[1] It is the seventh most populated region in the country after Jizan and the fifth most densely populated. It has more than 400 cities, towns, villages, and Bedouin settlements, ten of which are recognized as governorates. Its capital city is Buraydah, which is inhabited by approximately 49% of the region's total population. The governor of the province from 1992 to 29 January 2015 was Prince Faisal bin Bandar, succeeded by Prince Faisal bin Mishaal.

Etymology[edit]

Al Qassim is derived from the word "Qassimah" (Arabic: قصيمة‎), a reference to قصائم الغضا, meaning the region's sand dunes from which the white saxaul trees grow.[2] The region is known to contain a large group of Calligonum plants such as comosum (locally known as arta).

Location[edit]

The province is located in the center of Saudi Arabia approximately 400 km northwest of Riyadh, the capital. It is bordered by Ar Riyadh Region to the south and east, by Ha'il Region to the north, and by Al Madinah Region to the west. The region is connected to almost every part of Saudi Arabia by a very complicated network of highways. The regional airport, Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Regional Airport, connects Al Qassim (Gassim) to the other provinces of the country.

History[edit]

Pre-Islamic Arabia[edit]

A current photo of, what is said to be, Antarah's Rock in AlJiwa

There is not much information known about Al Qassim the province in the times of Pre-Islamic Arabia. Unaizah was repeatedly mentioned as a desert watering hole in the poems of Imru Al Qais (the famous Arabian poet). Moreover, AlJiwa, which is about 60 km north of Unzaizah, was mentioned by the heroic Absi poet Antarah bin Shaddad.

The Abbasid Empire[edit]

Al Qassim Province had some important foyers on the road of pilgrims and traders coming from the east (mainly Persia and Iraq) in the era of the Abbasid Empire.

The Zubeida road was a long pilgrims road that started from the city of Kufa in Iraq and ran to Mecca in Arabia. The road was constructed in the reign of Harun Al Rashid and was named after his wife Zubeida. It had pilgrims foyers in many of the region's cities including Unaizah.

Tribal conflict (1600s-1907)[edit]

The Al Abu Olayan - dynasty from the Banu Tamim tribe established the emirate of Buraydah in the late 16th century by its leader, Rashid Al Duraiby. He built Buraydah and made it the province's capital. However, Unaizah was ruled by Al Sulaim dynasty. The emirate was later captured by Muhanna Salih Abalkhail, the leader of the Abalkhail dynasty. In 1890, the Al Rashid dynasty based in Ha'il annexed the province. In 1904, the Abalkhail recaptured the province4. In 1907, the province was integrated under the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

The province is Saudi Arabia's most conservative region. It is the heart of the Najd region and the centre of the Salafi movement. The province is regarded as one of the key support bases of the Al Saud family, along with Al Riyadh Province, Ha'il province and Al Jawf province. This province has also contributed many notable Salafi ulema and sheikhs.[3]

Population[edit]

Year Population [4]
1992 750,979
2004 1,015,972
2010 1,234,531
2014 1,370,727

Geography[edit]

Al Qassim province is divided by the Wadi Al-Rummah (Rummah Valley). The valley crosses the entire region from the west to the northeast. It is the longest valley in the whole Arabian peninsula, it stretches for about 600 km (370 mi) from near Medina, to the Thuayrat Dunes in the east, and northeast of the region. The land's height in Qassim is about 600–750 meters above sea level, and it is gliding from west to east in general.

Climate[edit]

Al Qassim region has a typical desert climate, known for its cold, rainy winters, and for its hot and sometimes balmy summers, with low humidity.

Agriculture[edit]

Palm trees in Unaizah

Along with tourism, agriculture is still the cornerstone of the region's economy. Although the region has been famous for its agricultural assets for a long time, it wasn't until recently that wheat production has been introduced to the local agricultural industry, making Saudi Arabia a net exporter of cereal. The region also produces dates, grapes, lemons, grapefruits, mandarin oranges, oranges, pomegranates, and a large group of vegetables.

Buraydah (the capital of the province) is one of the biggest dates producers worldwide. Each year (in September), a big "dates season ceremony" is celebrated, at which a lot of people come from all over the GCC countries to buy their yearly requirement of dates. It also has the biggest camel market in the world.

Unaizah (the second largest city) has created its own "dates season ceremony", called "Unaizah, the kingdom of dates", the municipality of the city has paired it with other festivals being held annually, to promote a good tourism reputation.

Agriculture in general is considered to be a very important part of the region's natives culture, with special vegetables being linked to every city, for example eating leeks (kurrat) is associated with the people of Unaizah, while adding chili peppers to meals is associated with the people of the city of Rass.

Transportation[edit]

Air[edit]

Departures at Qassim Airport

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
Air Arabia Sharjah[5]
AlMasria Universal Airlines Cairo
EgyptAir Cairo
flydubai Dubai-International[6]
Gulf Air Bahrain
Nile Air Cairo Alexandria
flynas Jeddah
Qatar Airways Doha[7]
Saudia Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh, Dammam
Saudia Dubai-International
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk[8]

Roads[edit]

Rail[edit]

Al-Qassim will be connected to a new passenger railway mid 2015[9] The train will connect Al-Qassim to Riyadh on the South and Ha'il, Al Jouf, Qurayyat and Jordan Boarders on the North.

Education[edit]

Schools[edit]

The region is served by schools in every city and town for all three educational levels (primary, intermediate, and secondary), and includes various types of school (public, private, Koranic, international), with international and private schools.

The region has 263,379 Female and Male Students, 33,061 Female & Male Teachers and 2,533 Schools.[10]

Universities[edit]

Qassim University Main Hall

Qassim University, which is located in Almulida area, West of Buraidah, North West of Unayzah and Almuthnab, North East of Ar Rass, Al Badayea, Al Bukayriyah, Al Khabra and Riyadh Al Khabra.

University Stage

Qassim University was established in 2004 by merging two Qassim branches of Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University and King Saud University. Since the establishment of the university, it has experienced a remarkable growth in enrollment and a significant expansion of faculty and its administrative staff. The number of male and female students registered at university during 2010-11 approached 50,000 and number of faculty members and staff reached well over 4,000, At present the university encompasses 28 colleges both for male and female students.[11]

QU International Engagement

Qassim University (QU) appeared in the QS World University Rankings for the first time in 2011. According to the QS report, it has shown excellent potential for strengthening its position by harnessing its core strengths in teaching and Research. QU has published Research papers with institutions ranked in top 100 of the 2011 rankings. QU has also shown initiative in arranging International Seminars in order to develop relations with global academic peers.[12] Qassim Universities has very competitive colleges that are spread at the main campus (Almulida) and campuses at Al-Qassim's main cities:

Main Campus (Al Mulida)[edit]

- Applied Science:

  • College of Science
  • College of Computer Science
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Architecture and Design
  • College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine

- Health Science:

  • College of Medicine
  • College of Applied Medical Science
  • College of Pharmacy
  • College of Dentistry
  • College of Nursing

- Arabic & Humanitarian

  • College of Business and Economics
  • College of Arabic Language and Social Studies

- Judiciary

  • College of Judiciary and Islamic Studies

Buraidah[edit]

  • College of Education
  • College of Science and Arts
  • College of Design and Home Economics
  • College of Medical Rehabilitation
  • Community College

Onizah[edit]

  • College of Engineering
  • College of Science and Arts
  • College of Pharmacy
  • Community College

Ar Rass[edit]

  • College of Business Administration
  • College of Dentistry
  • College of Health Science
  • College of Science and Arts
  • Also the College of Arts and Science is located in the following cities: Al Badayea, Al Bukayriyah, Al Muithnab, Al Asyah, Uyun Al Jiwa, Al Nabhaniyah, Uqlat Al Suqor and Daryah. In addition there is a College of Science in Al Zulfi and a College of Health Science in Al Bukayriyah.
Prince Dr. Faisal and a visit to Buraidah TVTC College


AlRajhi College

Technical and Vocational Training Corporation[edit]

  • The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation has colleges located in Buraidah, Onizah, Ar Rass and Al Badayea. Colleges prepare and train students to be skilled and ready for employment in different sectors (industrial, agricultural, commercial and public services), with a focus on fields of science and technology and offers different specialization's in computer science, electronics, welding, electricity, mechanics, refrigeration and air conditioning, motor vehicles, chemistry, technical and administrative, communications, space management, plumbing, carpentry, photography, marketing, architectural construction, printing, plumbing and paint.
  • Colleges of Excellence, the international subsidiary of TVTC has opened a new government sponsored college in Buraydah. TQ College is a vocational college focusing in Business, Technology and Electronics as majors and career fields.

Private Colleges[edit]

  • Qassim Private Colleges
  • Al-Ghad International Medical Sciences Colleges
  • Buraydah Colleges
  • Sulaiman Alrajhi Colleges

Cities[edit]

Unaizah
  • Buraydah is the official capital of the region, with about 49% of the population residing in the city. The palace of the province' prince is located in the city, along with other governmental centers. It is the seventh largest city (by population) in the country with a total population of 609,000 (2010 census).
  • Unaizah is the region's second largest city, total population of 163,000 (2010 census). The city is ruled by Al Sulaim dynasty, in accordance to a written treaty between them and the Saudi royal family, the city is known to be center of religion and culture, thus making Al Qassim Province as a whole to be known as a center of religion and culture. The city is famous for its tourist attractions and festivals.
  • Ar Rass is the third largest city in Al Qassim Province by population, total population of 133,000 (2010 census). It is also thought to be the largest city in Al Qassim Province by area. It has an area of about 60 km²

There are also other nearby rural towns including Almethnab, Al-Bukairiyah, Badaya'a, Riyadh Al-Khabra, Al-Khabra, and Nabhaniya.

Health care[edit]

Habib Hospital Buraidah

Al-Qassim has many hospitals in the region that provide medical services to citizens and visitors to the region, hospitals are under the management of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Defense, and also includes many privately managed hospitals:

  • King Fahd Specialist Hospital, Buraidah
  • King Saud Hospital, Onaizah
  • Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Hospital, Buraidah
  • Children's Hospital, Buraidah
National Hospital Qassim
  • Qassim National Hospital, Buraidah
  • Central Hospital, Buraidah
  • Security Forces Hospital, Buraidah
  • Mental Health Hospital, Buraidah
  • Ar Rass General Hospital، Ar Rass
  • Al Badayea General Hospital, Al Badayea
  • Al Mothnab General Hospital, Al Mothnab
  • Al Bukairiyah General Hospital, Al Bukairiyah

Sports[edit]

King Abdullah Sport City Stadium in Buraidah
Al-Raed Club
  • Al-Raed is the first sport club established in Al-Qassim Region and the 12'th club in Saudi Arabia, established in 1954. Al-Raed is currently playing in the Saudi Professional League, which is the highest football competition in the country.
Al-Taoun FC Buraidah
  • Al-Taawon FC is the second sport club established in Al-Qassim Region and the 14th in Saudi Arabia, established in 1956. Al-Taawon FC is currently playing in the Saudi Professional League, which is the highest football competition in the country.
  • Many clubs from Al-Qassim have made good results in the first league, the clubs that have played in the Saudi Professional League or previously the (First League) are: Al-Raed, Al-Taoun, Al-Najmah, Al-Arabi and Al-Hazem.
  • The following is a list of all clubs in Al-Qassim region.
Club Name City Established
Al-Arabi Onaizah 1958
Al-Hazem Ar Rass 1958
Al-Najmah Onaizah 1960
Al-Taqadum Al-Muthnib 1961
Al-Amal Al-Bukairiyah 1962
Al-Badayea (Al-Rumah) Al-Badayea 1965
Al-Kholoud Ar Rass 1970
Al-Jawa Riyadh Al-Khbra 1975
Al-Hilaliah Al-Hilaliah 1976
Mared Al-Asyeah 1979
Al-Mooj Al-Khbra 1982
Al-Saqer Al-Buser 1984

Tourism[edit]

Al-Qassim Province is rich in heritage, nature, and traditional handicrafts, and its geographical location makes it the hub of diverse cultures and various festivals. Al-Qassim is an ideal destination for a short vacation or a weekend getaway. During your visit, you can savor the most delicious dates, explore unique built heritage, and appreciate traditional handicrafts. From visiting the markets and touring the museums, to enjoying the beauty of the palm groves and fruit farms, there is so much to do and see in Al-Qassim. Each season in Qassim has a certain festival and a specific occasion that highlights the prominent features of that season. During summer vacation, for nearly a month, various events and festivals are organized in Qassim and its governorates and are held in the markets, museums, public parks, and other locations as per the nature of the event. Such festivals are popular with the entire community, and are attended by women, men and children. The most famous events hosted in Qassim are the Buraidah Recreational Festival, Unaizah Tourism Festival, and the Al-Mithnib Summer Festival.

In addition, date festivals are held in Qassim to highlight that the Province is distinguished for its farms and dates. Shopping at the Qassim date market is a unique experience, especially during the harvest season during August and September. Al-Qassim’s desert parks become more favorable during the winter and spring seasons, attracting desert lovers as well as the locals and visitors who seek rejuvenation and enjoyment in the open spaces and natural environment. These parks host the spring festivals that are usually organized during the mid-year vacation periods. The festival feature multiple activities and events that highlight the festival’s nature and location.

In Al-Qassim, a number of festivals are organized in various places during different periods to recognize the city’s heritage. The most prominent festivals include Al-Khelija and Traditional Products Festival in Buraidah, Entajee Festival in Unaizah, Al-Musawkaf Traditional Festival in Unaizah, Eid Al-Khabra Festival, Reef Al-Awshaziyah Festival, and Al-Russ Heritage Festival. Then, enjoy a relaxing getaway to Qassim’s beautiful orchards in the countryside where you can unwind and renew your energy.[13]

References[edit]