9 Apr 2012

Al Qassim Camel Market – Al Hassa

The Al Qassim Camel Market is the largest camel market in the world and is situated on the outskirts of Buraydah in Al-Qassim and is a spectacular sight with thousands of camels for sale and hundreds of Saudi Men looking to buy them. Almost every person present was driving a large four wheel drive Toyota Landcruiser with white being the favoured colour. Many traditional handcrafts are also available nearby including hand crafted leather goods. The market starts at 06:00 hrs and apart from camels there are also plenty of goats and sheep for sale. The sales finish by 10:00 hrs so an early start is required to see the action. Many Bedouins are present at the market both buying and selling camels which are the one humped Dromedary type that have been domesticated for many thousands of years.
Bedouin on Camel


The camels present come in many colour variations from cream to jet black. A full grown camel can measure 1.85 metres tall at the shoulder and 2.15 metres at the hump. They walk at about 5 kilometres per hour but can go much faster if required. Some of the camels are loose and walking around on their own so care needs to be taken when at the market. Most animals are shut up in large enclosures and some of them have fancy adornments to make them look better.
 Cream Camels
 Large Black Male Camel
 Baby Camel
 Female Camel
Male Camel


One surprising thing for us was to see camels being lifted into the back of small trucks with small cranes. The cranes are attached to the truck and are operated by the camel traders of drivers of the truck. The can lift one adult camel or at least two smaller camels and the animals do not seem to mind too much being lifted off the ground. They have their legs tied before being lifted to prevent hurting themselves.
 Camel Lift Truck
 Camel Lift Truck
Camel Lift Truck

3 comments:

  1. I remember seeing a series of adverts for Camel cigarettes with slogans like 'Camel, where a man belongs' and 'Nothing satisfies like a Camel' - never mind jokes about 'get there early otherwise you'll get an ugly one'! - In Maroc you see 4x4 pickups driving around with triangular 'lumps' with heavy netting draped over them, sometimes the netting has a hole in for the animals' head to poke out of and enjoy the view!

    They also taste nice........in a tagine, one lump or two....

    Laurie -

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'll never forget my years in Riyadh and seeing all the camels riding around in the trucks with the Bedouin families. Sometimes the camels were in the back bed of the truck and other times, baby camels were riding in the front seat with the driver and the women were in the bed of the truck.. (sigh)I only went to the camel market once and didn't stay long as some of the camels seemed to be in a lot of distress although no one was harming them physically -- guess the tied legs and other things had them out of sorts.

    I had two or three different incidents regarding camels. One time I was having Friday morning brunch at a major hotel in Riyadh and when we walked outside I saw a baby camel on display -- it was far too young to be without its mother. It appeared to be nearly hysterical, in fact. I was with my husband Peter Sasson at the time and he spoke enough Arabic to tell my concerns to the man displaying the baby. The man became defensive about it so I went looking for a mutawaa, or religious man, since I had previously had good experiences with the religious clerics when it came to situations regarding animals. Once he understood the situation, he got a very stern look on his face and went with us to see the man and he rattled off something in rapid fire Arabic and the man displaying the camel loaded up the baby and took off. The religious man conveyed that he had told him to get the baby back with its mother. Of course, perhaps the man simply took the baby to another hotel to display, but at least the religious cleric agreed with us. Interestingly enough I found that when it came to women, the clerics never took their side, but if I had a complaint about animals, they generally supported me. This happened more than once, one time with an abused bird incident and twice with baby camels. But at least they helped with the animal abuse so I never forgot that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jean,

    Thanks for the interesting tales and well done for at least helping a few animals. I personally did not see any animals in distress at the market so lets hope things have improve for them since your visit.

    Jem

    ReplyDelete