Yesterday marked the opening of the 11th edition of International Samaa Festival for Spiritual Music and Chanting, which takes place annually at Cairo's Salah El-Din Citadel and other venues.
The Samaa Festival is headed by Intisar Abdelfattah, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Culture.
This year the guest of honour is the country of Congo, while the festival chose Mother Teresa, known as the saint of the poor, to be its person of the year.
At the opening, Ines Abdel Dayem, minister of culture, gave an introductory speech on the festival and its role in the preservation of culture.
The festival honours five people this year: Yasmine El-Khayyam, musician Gamal Salama, Bishop Youhanna Thabet, the late Sheikh Abdelbaset Abdelsamad, and late writer Ahmed Bahgat.
The venues hosting this edition, alongside the Citadel, include the Hanager Theatre at the Cairo Opera House grounds, El-Moez Street, El-Ghoury Dome, in addition to new venues Roxy Square, the Behlr passageway in Downtown Cairo, and the Religious Complex in Old Cairo.
Besides Egypt, 15 countries are joining in with performances, including India, Greece, China, Nigeria, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Jordan and Congo.
In parallel to the festival, there is an exhibition of traditional handicrafts at the Citadel, as well as the Moltaqa Al-Adyan celebration taking place at the Religious Complex in Old Cairo on 27 September.
Moltaqa Al-Adyan is a general mass, with the participation of 16 countries, to encourage peace and tolerance between all peoples.
The festival runs until 29 September, to close on International Peace Day.
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