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Middle Eastern Culture Market 2019

The fourth edition of the Middle Eastern Culture market was a great success with more than 2000 visitors over the weekend. Attendees participated in the many workshops, attended lectures, and shopped at the market stands.

The Middle Eastern Culture Market aims to be a platform for education and information about the region. The market is organised by LUCIS (Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society) with a strong desire to present different aspects from the Middle East, often unknown to many. 

This year's lectures covered a variety of themes. Cristiana Strava spoke about the Middle Eastern city in three de-constructed stereotypes, and Willem Vogelsang shared his expertise about the Uzbeks in Afghanistan. A storyteller was present to introduce children and grownups to fairytales from the Middle East. Visitors participated in language and dance workshops and learned their first Arabic words and first dabke steps. 

For the fourth consecutive year, the market took place in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden. The spectacular backdrop of Egyptian temples and sarcophagi gives an additional dimension to the market. 

A variety of stands sold their products on the central square. Especially popular were the stands with products from the region. There were stands with Uzbeki crafts, Persian products, perfumes, and Syrian sweets. 

Wim Weijland (director RMO), Nathal Dessing (director LUCIS), and Henri Lenferink (mayor of Leiden)
Mayor Henri Lenferink receives a special LUCIS bag from Nathal Dessing

Mayor Henri Lenferink of Leiden gave a speech where he stated that Leiden, as a city with curious inhabitants, is the perfect place to host the Middle Eastern Culture Market. The market also offers an opportunity for local entrepreneurs. Atlas Argan Company is a Leiden based company that sells products made with argan oil. Instead of importing the oil, they buy the ingredients in Morroco and press the oil in their workshop in Leiden. During the Middle Eastern culture market, they gave various demonstrations on how to use argan oil in food and beauty products. 

UZREPORT TV, an Uzbeki TV channel, shot a news item at the Middle Eastern Culture market 2019 to display the strong presence of Uzbek culture at the market. The Uzbek language workshop, presented by Nicholas Kontovas, was one of the most popular workshops. Uzbek craftsmen sold their goods and Elena Paskaleva's lecture on 'Timurid Splendour along the Silk Roads' had many attendees. 

The Middle Eastern Culture Market at UZREPORT TV

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Local newspaper Leidsch Dagblad dedicated the front page of  their Monday edition to the Middle Eastern Culture Market 2019 
Local newspaper Leidsch Dagblad dedicated the front page of  their Monday edition to the Middle Eastern Culture Market 2019 
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