Ad Diriyah … Saudi Arabia’s Global Interface for Tourism
The history of Diriyah is replete with heroic epics, an ancient past rooted in the depths of history, and a cradle from which the Saudi state started.
Ad Diriyah is a beacon of the continuing legacy of the royal family, and a symbol of the unity experienced by the Saudis, in addition to its historical role in establishing stability and bringing prosperity with the participation of the people of the country in various parts of the country.
Ad Diriyah emerged on the banks of Wadi Hanifa in 1446, when Manea Al-Muridy, the grandfather of the ruling family, came to the region, laying the first building block for the establishment of the state so that this city became an important transit point for pilgrimage and trade caravans.
The city became an important center of stability in a period where the political conditions were almost not good. The Arabian Peninsula was suffering from neglect, disintegration, rivalry, and the spread of ignorance and illiteracy.
In 1744, Imam Muhammad bin Saud, who had a good administrative sense and a future outlook, took over the Emirate of Dir’iyah.
He worked to initiate change, announcing the establishment of the first Saudi state, to begin a new phase in the history of the entire Arabian Peninsula, where he laid the building block of the great unity that united most of its parts.
As a result of this unity, the city of Diriyah has become the capital of a sprawling country, and a source of economic, social, intellectual, and cultural attraction.
Trade also flourished greatly, so that the market for Diriyah became the greatest one in the region, in addition to the fact that the financial system of the state at that time was one of the greatest systems known to the Arabian Peninsula.
At that time many scholars migrated to Ad-Diriyah for education and authorship which led to the emergence of a new school in calligraphy and copying.
The state paid attention to Diriyah and made a great contribution to the fight against ignorance, illiteracy and largely encouraged education, and this, in turn, led to the wrath of the Ottoman Empire, which was not satisfied with these achievements, so it used its energies to overthrow the Saudi state.
After continuous wars that lasted about 7 years, Ad Diriyah fell in 1818, after a massive campaign of destruction and sabotage launched by Ibrahim Pasha, injustice and aggression against Ad Diriyah and most of the villages of Najd, to dismantle the unity inherent in the souls of the people of Diriyah and the surrounding areas.
After the fall of the first Saudi state, Imam Turki bin Abdullah managed through other seven years of activity to expel the Ottoman forces from Najd, liberate them, and enter Riyadh in 1824.
Imam Turki bin Abdullah was able to reunify most parts of the Arabian Peninsula in a record period, setting the finest examples of courage and daring.
The second Saudi state continued on the same foundations on which the first Saudi state was built, focusing on preserving security, education, justice, eliminating division and rivalry, and starting Political relations with the powers in the region.
The leaders of the second Saudi state demonstrated the superior ability to communicate with states.
After a political vacuum that lasted about 10 years, specifically in 1902, King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman bin Faisal Al Saud was able to recover Riyadh and return with his family to it, to start a new page of the pages of Saudi history, and put another building block of unity, continuity, and stability under the banner of the Saudi family and by wrapping the Saudi people.
This historic event is a major turning point in the history of the region that led to the emergence of a modern Saudi state, which was able to unify most parts of the Arabian Peninsula and achieve vast civilizational achievements in all fields.
On September 23, 1932, King Abdulaziz bin Abdul-Rahman announced the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after a historical epic that lasted 30 years, and his sons, the Kings, who had a major role in setting the building blocks, stability, firmness, and determination, ruled after him.
In commemoration of these heroic epics that the city of Diriyah fought, and the great roles it played from the founding of the first Saudi state until the present era, and to preserve the legacy of the fathers and ancestors, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud focused efforts to advance it. And rehabilitate it, to culminate these efforts with the establishment of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority 2017.
The Diriyah Development Authority
The Diriyah Development Authority is working at a systematic pace to implement the first phase of the largest heritage and cultural project in the world to rehabilitate and develop the historic Diriyah “The Jewel of the Kingdom”, worth SR 75 billion, to be one of the most important tourist, cultural, educational and entertainment destinations in the region and the world.
The authority bases its work on the historical site of Ad-Diriyah, its unique culture, and the world heritage sites it embraces, the most important of which is the historic Al-Turaif neighborhood, which is included in the list of World Heritage Sites of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The first phase of the project, which represents a new and unique era in construction projects, architectural and heritage designs, and global hospitality, includes the implementation of the famous Al-Bujairi area development work, according to the most prominent and latest urban and environmental standards in the rehabilitation of historical and heritage sites in the world.
The first phase also includes establishing an exceptional lifestyle for tourists, guests, and visitors inside and outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The project aims to attract 25 million visitors and tourists annually from inside and outside the Kingdom, in light of the entertainment projects and various events planned, museums, artistic and cultural facilities, and attracting artistic and cultural events from different parts of the world.
The CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Jerry Inzerillo, had confirmed in previous media statements that the development of the historical Diriyah region, “ The Jewel of the Kingdom”, comes within the Kingdom’s vision 2030, to be a global tourist destination, thanks to its natural assets and ancient history and heritage sites.
He explained that among the projects that will be implemented according to the rehabilitation and development plan within the Diriyah Gate project, which extends over an area of 7 square kilometers, the establishment of a variety of tourist and entertainment destinations by adding more than 20 hotels and a variety of museums, international shopping stores, and more than 100 restaurants.
The project also includes many outdoor squares with distinctive designs and stunning views, and a 3-kilometer walkway overlooking the historic Wadi Hanifa, making the area the largest and most important open cultural and heritage area, with natural and historical views, including more than 20 cultural landmarks.
Al-Bujairi is also planned to be a major center for international restaurants in Riyadh, with distinctive views of the Al-Turaif district.
Diriyah Art Oasis, which is one of the centers of contemporary art in the Kingdom, and the Samhan Heritage Hotel, which consists of 142 rooms with a Najdi heritage character.
The media center in Al-Diriyah
The Saudi Ministry of Culture recently inaugurated its Cultural Media Center, at the center’s headquarters in Al-Bujairi neighborhood, in Al-Diriyah.
The center is a media arm in support of cultural activity in all regions of the Kingdom, and the establishment of the center came under the direction of Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, the Saudi Minister of Culture, to keep pace with the project for the advancement of the cultural sector, which is managed by the ministry and its cultural bodies.
The center works to enrich the content of cultural media and provides all the information supporting the project to advance the cultural sector in the Kingdom, in a way that contributes to achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 in its cultural aspects.
The Cultural Media Center is one of the bodies provided by the Ministry of Culture to support the local cultural sector, by enriching cultural content in its various forms, and making it available to those interested and concerned with Saudi cultural affairs, in addition to issuing many media products and initiatives in support of cultural activity in the Kingdom.