Wednesday 11 December 2019
 
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King Salman at the ceremony. Image courtesy: SPA

King Salman lays foundation stone for $17bn Diriyah Gate Project

RIYADH, 19 days ago

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud yesterday (November 20) patronised the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the SR64-billion ($17 billion) Diriyah Gate Project which aims at restoring the historical area as a cultural heritage project.
 
The project aims to return the historical area to its ancient glory in the 18th century in order for the site to become a local and international tourist destination.
 
King Salman was received by Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Riyadh Region; HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense and chairman of the board of directors of Diriyah Gate Development Authority; Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Governor of Riyadh Region; Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Minister of Culture and member of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority board.
 
During the event, King Salman and the audience watched a video presentation on the seven gates of Diriyah. Later, King Salman laid the foundation stone for the Diriyah Gate project. He was also briefed on Alajrab Sword, the sword of Imam Turki bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud, the founder of the second Saudi state.
 
Diriyah Gate Development Authority's plans for the project reveal its aim to make this ancient place a historical, cultural and tourist destination of international level; and to tell the story of the homeland and its loyal men since the founding of the first Saudi state to generations. "Diriyah" was established on the banks of Wadi Hanifa in 1446 (850 Hijri).
 
The masterplan of the Diriyah Gate Project aims to build a traditional mixed-use urban community that celebrates the rich cultural history of Saudi Arabia, covering an area of 7 sq km. The scheme provides five distinct places for gathering and exploration, including:
* King Salman Square - located in the north side of the site, it represents the largest gathering area in the Gate of Diriyah.
* Samhan Amphitheatre -- located halfway along the cliff, next to Al-Tagzeah area on the west side of the Diriyah Gate.
* Monument Square of the Kingdom's heroes -- located in the middle of the Diriyah Gate to link between the east and west of the Gate and adjacent to the area of new lifestyles.
* Al-Masjid Square -- located along the paved road and represents the access point to King Salman Mosque.
* The historic village square -- located at the southern end of the historical village. Places, streets, gates, towers and squares will be given names inspired by famous historical figures, kings and heroes to celebrate their ancient heritage.
 
The project will have six museums, including:
* Museum of Al Saud House, which includes a pavilion dedicated to King Salman. It embraces the legacy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the achievements of King Salman.
* Museum of the Saudi State and the Arabian Peninsula. It reviews the history of the region and the development of the Saudi state.
* Museum of Hundred Story Journey. This will enable visitors and residents to interact with the stories of the Kingdom's history and cultures across various sites and through real-world and electronic experiences.
* Diriyah Center for Arts. This will showcase contemporary arts and culture and is located within Al-Bujairi area and connects the past to the present and culture with nature.
* Digital Arts Museum. It will stimulate an innovative and reality-like experience that display various information about the history of Diriyah in order to attract new generations to explore their national heritage.
* Misk Heritage Museum - an educational institution that aims to stimulate the next generation to interact with everything related to the history and heritage of the Kingdom by promoting the latest research and excellence in the presentation.
 
The masterplan also includes the Arts Zone: five academies will be established within the Arts Zone to provide learning opportunities covering Arabic calligraphy, Islamic arts, Najd architecture, clay buildings, Najd culinary arts, and Arab theatre and music.
 
The Gate also includes restaurants, shopping places, recreational and sporting sites. The recreational area has a capacity of 15,000 seats to organise concerts, art evenings, international sporting events and many more, while Samhan Open Amphitheater will host outdoor shows and events. It will also have four sports and leisure centres including the traditional sports centre, shooting field, sports stadiums and Formula E track.
 
The plan also envisages 20 unique international hotels offering 3,100 luxury hotel rooms.
 



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