The historic Diriyah, the jewel of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is about twenty kilometers from the center of Riyadh, the capital, and embraced by the fertile Wadi Hanifa, northwest of Riyadh, where Diriyah is the first capital of the Saudi state and the largest heritage project in the world today.
Al-Diriyah rises about 700 meters above sea level, and a number of ancient Najd towns are located to the north, the most prominent of which are Al-Jubaila and Al-Uyaynah, and to the south of it the town of Irqa. At the height of its greatness, Al-Diriyah stretched over a distance of eight kilometers on both sides of Wadi Hanifa, from Al-Alb in the north to Al-Mulaibed in the south. Al-Diriyah is one of the important strategic sites, as it is located in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula, perched on top of the Tuwaiq Mountains.
Diriyah was founded in 850 AH / 1446 AD, by Mani’ bin Rabi’a al-Muradi, the grandfather of the Saudi royal family.
During this prosperous era, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – may God protect him – is witnessing a tremendous development at all levels. His efforts – may God protect him – contributed to making Diriyah one of the most important destinations for learning about Saudi history and the true heritage that is passed down through generations, which resulted in the registration of the historic Al-Turaif neighborhood in Diriyah in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.
This approach and the direction of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority – may God protect him – was translated into the process of construction and development in line with the Kingdom’s vision 2030 through the development of many projects On an area of more than 190 square kilometers.
Through the history, heritage and traditions of Diriyah, the Saudis are going through a common experience through which they can build the future of the country, to implement major, diverse and advanced projects, to become a symbol of national unity and a basic base for values that contribute to shaping the Saudi future.
The Diriyah Gate project is one of the most important outputs and achievements of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and one of the national projects stemming from the ambitious goals and aspirations of Vision 2030. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – may God protect him – in November 2019, and follows up on his growing achievements, His Highness the Crown Prince, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, so that the historic Diriyah will be one of the most important tourist and cultural destinations and attractions in the region and the world.
The Diriyah Gate project achieves many of the aspirations and objectives of the Kingdom’s 2030 economic, cultural and social vision, including promoting and protecting Saudi history and cultural heritage, developing local talents in the field of academic, historical and heritage research, enhancing the value of pride in history and national heritage, increasing GDP and developing local content.
The Diriyah Gate Development Authority plans to establish a number of distinguished museums, event centers and various heritage and cultural exhibitions, in an effort to highlight the role played by Diriyah in the strategic and economic development of the entire region, in addition to a number of assets of a traditional heritage.
International hotels and small hotels of historical style, managed by reputable international brands in this field, will be established to attract visitors to a unique experience through which they live the nobility of ancient cities according to the best international standards, in addition to the rehabilitation and development of the historic Wadi Hanifa with its parks and oases. And what the authority is preparing to develop, such as walking tracks, horse and ski tracks.
The resorts include luxury restaurants and hotel suites inspired by the atmosphere of the ancient Diriyah palaces with their own balconies, to be an integrated environment that gives its guests a unique experience of sophistication and privacy, which is the most distinctive in the Middle East.
The Diriyah Gate Development Authority intends to add old-style commercial markets, as the project includes establishing modern open markets and supporting them with advanced cooling systems that include a bouquet of stores for the most famous local and international brands, in an architectural style inspired by the historical season market in Diriyah, with a mechanism that restores the movement and activity of sellers in That time, with handmade industrial products, jewelry and traditional fabrics, rich in style with unique heritage interior and exterior designs in line with the historical environment of the place, where open markets are spread on both banks of Wadi Hanifa, to re-embodiment its ancient seasonal roles through the summer market and the winter market.
It also includes the Al-Yamamah Market, which is active in the trade of fresh, natural, organic products, with its name inspired by the Al-Yamamah area, which was known as “green” due to the fertility of its lands and the abundance of water in it, and the plants, trees and palms. And re-enactment of battles and major historical events from the life of the Kingdom, as well as other diverse representative performances.
The Diriyah Gate project includes the construction of contemporary housing by applying the standards of traditional Arab urban planning, attached to it some office spaces and a number of various administrative assets, and it also includes many public and governmental services connected and linked to the Riyadh train station.
The Diriyah Gate project includes many educational centers, distinguished cultural and heritage academies and vocational education institutions, through which programs and workshops will be held to teach visitors and tourists a range of ancient historical and heritage professions that the land of kings and heroes is proud of.
One of the most important historical neighborhoods of Diriyah is Al-Turaif neighborhood, which is located in the heart of Diriyah, on a high rise in the western side of Wadi Hanifa, where the valley is surrounded from the east and south. The ancient Saudi Arabia and its authentic traditions.
The Diriyah Gate Authority – in cooperation with the King Abdulaziz Foundation – was able to write down historical stories and events, as it developed and reviewed 100 historical stories of Diriyah, which focused on historical, heritage and cultural axes, related to prominent historical figures in our national history (imams – kings – heroes – and leaders – Notable Women – and Important Historical Events).
The Commission has implemented many activities in the Diriyah region, the home of heroes and kings and the starting point for unity with its historical legacy, with the aim of preparing and preparing it to host a wide range of events and occasions that draw on its historical civilization, as an attractive center for visitors and guests from inside and outside the Kingdom, and to complement these efforts, the Commission has worked to reactivate Simulating life in Diriyah, especially in Al-Turaif neighborhood, during the events hosted by the region, by activating the hostel, which hosts a small group of open-air and indoor museums spread throughout the World Heritage site with more than 13 representative scenes that simulate history The opening scene reflects a journey that takes visitors through time to ancient Diriyah, while enjoying the finest types of dates and ancient Arabic coffee, while they can listen to stories from the narrators and learn about aspects of social life in Diriyah, such as the customs of welcoming guests, making dates, folk dishes, family life and the life of Street, traditional medicine, old schools and traditional markets.
The authority has also held art exhibitions, guided tours, exhibitions of handicrafts, performances and concerts, and traditional Al-Ardah performances, coordinating and hosting more than 10,000 VIP visitors; To introduce them to the ancient history and cultural heritage of Diriyah.
Diriyah has historically been known as the jewel of Najd, not only because of the sparkling waters of Wadi Hanifa, but the blogs of the first travelers to this place testify to the elegance of the simple city, and its importance as a center for learning, arts, national culture, and a precious symbol of Saudi identity.
The CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Gerard Inzerillo, stressed that the development of the historic Diriyah area – because it is the jewel of the Kingdom – comes within the ambitions and aspirations of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and the transformation of Saudi Arabia into a global tourist destination, thanks to its vast natural resources, ancient historical and heritage sites, and diverse cultural capabilities. And a distinctive architectural character, especially the well-known Najd architecture in Diriyah, which was founded about 600 years ago by the grandfather of the royal family, Mani’ Al-Muradi.
Gerard Inzerillo explained that among the projects implemented according to the plan to rehabilitate and develop the historic Diriyah, within the Diriyah Gate project, which extends over an area of 7 square kilometers, is the establishment of a variety of tourist and recreational destinations by adding more than 20 hotels, a variety of museums, and international shopping stores, And more than 100 restaurants of international restaurants, with tastes and flavors belonging to countries and peoples from different countries and cultures, and the project also includes a number of external squares with distinctive designs and scenic views, and a walkway length of 3 kilometers overlooking the historic Wadi Hanifa, but that the area will be the largest and most important area An open heritage and cultural area, with natural and historical views, including more than 20 Saudi cultural landmarks.
The CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority indicated that the completion of projects in the region will turn it into a global destination, with an exceptional lifestyle, as it is a home for all Saudis, which qualifies it – not only to be an area for exploration, shopping and tasting the most delicious international foods – but to become a place for housing, living and high-end life. Which qualifies it to attract millions of tourists and guests from all over the world, citizens and residents of the Kingdom.
The CEO pointed out that the first phase that has been implemented in the Bujairi area is witnessing a process of continuous development and improvement of infrastructure, as well as improving the quality of life for the community and residents of Diriyah, in light of the project’s plans to create streets with a historical architectural style, with beautiful landscapes completely, In addition to cycling paths, horse riding and natural shading for pedestrian paths, he added that the Bujairi area will be a major center for international luxury restaurants, with distinctive views and views of Al-Turaif neighborhood.
The project includes the development of an area of two square kilometers of the historic Wadi Hanifa, the rehabilitation of palm groves and old farms in the area, new walking paths, and picnic areas, to serve as open sites for tourists and visitors to enjoy these landscapes in the open air.
Infrastructure works have also started for the Diriyah Gate project, which is one of the most sophisticated and complex projects in the world, and includes the transfer of about nine million cubic meters of soil, equivalent to 3,600 Olympic swimming pools with a length of 50 meters, and a height of 15 meters below ground level. With the aim of constructing three kilometers of tunnels and a parking space for 10,500 cars, using 1.2 million cubic meters of concrete, the first phases of development will cover 1,320,000 square metres, equivalent to the area of approximately 185 football fields.
Gerard Inzerillo concluded his statement by saying: “There is only one Diriyah that is unparalleled, and this is our most important project, within the aspirations of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and we are happy to start this stage, and transform the vision into a tangible reality, so that Diriyah becomes a global center for culture and a high-end lifestyle, and a site for events, fun and entertainment.” , to be an expressive model of the value and greatness of Saudi culture, and its strong economy within the economies of the world. The most important and prominent difference of this project from other projects – which gives it great value on the economic, historical and tourism levels – is that it combines the unique location that represents the jewel of the Kingdom, and its heritage of about 300 years Since the launch of the first Saudi state, a global development and rehabilitation process has been underway for this historical region, which also includes the establishment of advanced educational institutions, academies, cultural institutes, universities and museums, in light of the great renaissance that the Kingdom is experiencing, thanks to God, and then the rational government led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and His Highness the Crown Prince, Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, – may God preserve them -.
For his part, Head of the Design and Development Department at the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Jonathan Timms, confirmed that the development and rehabilitation project constitutes a new way of life for the residents of Diriyah in particular and the community of Riyadh in general, especially as it combines traditional Najd life, and modern methods and means of entertainment and comfort, which are all mixed in An integrated urban society, which derives its values from the ancient human heritage, and the values of cultural equality in the Kingdom.