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Saudi Arabia sets up commission to develop historic sites

RIYADH, July 26, 2017

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz has decreed the establishment of renovation commissions tasked with the development of two of the most important archaeological and historic sites in the Kingdom, Al Ola and Diriyah Gate.

These two areas’ historic, cultural and architectural significance are expected to make them major tourist attractions as Saudi Arabia’s hospitality and tourism industry matures to welcome both local and international travellers, said senior tourism officials.

The new Royal Orders issued recently to establish the Royal Commission for Al Ola Province and Diriyah Gate Renovation Commission are an outgrowth of Vision 2030, the kingdom’s roadmap to the future. The boards of both panels will be headed by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Among the many targets highlighted by Vision 2030, the tourism industry is expected to grow significantly as infrastructure is put in place to attract over one million tourists annually, they stated.

Al Ola commission was formed “considering the importance of developing the province in a way that matches its historical value, and the archaeological sites it contains; and in line with the economic and cultural interests of the nation; and the objectives of the kingdom’s Vision 2030; and to highlight the gifts of human heritage God bestowed on our country,” they said citing one of the Royal Orders.

According to the officials, local motifs invoking the distinctive heritage will be incorporated into the design of Diriyah Gate, which looks out over the bank of Wadi Hanifa.

Diriyah Gate project is part of a massive plan to develop the historic area by building facilities at its entrance to attract visitors.

Unesco’s World Heritage Committee had approved Diriyah’s Turaif District as a World Heritage Site in 2010, they pointed out.

Al Ola is one of the most fascinating vestiges of ancient Arabia, lying 380 km north of Saudi city of Madinah.

The town was founded in the 6th century and serves as the gateway to the Kingdom’s first Unesco World Heritage Site, Mada’en Saleh, build over 2,000 years ago by the Nabataeans, who also carved Petra in Jordan, said the tourism officials.

Diriyah is a small city 20 km from Riyadh. Originally the first capital of the Saudi Royal Dynasty, from 1744 to 1818, the town is an excellent example of Najdi architecture of that period, they added.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Saudi Arabia | Commission | Historic sites |

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