Diriyah on course to become world-class tourist spot

The lecture at the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center in Riyadh focused on plans to develop Diriyah into a world-class cultural and tourist area. (AN photo)
Updated 05 January 2017
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Diriyah on course to become world-class tourist spot

RIYADH: The Riyadh Development Authority (RDA) recently highlighted its program to develop the historic Diriyah into a world-class cultural and tourist area.
Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Rukban, Urban Development Department head, said the program has the support of King Salman in recognition of its national and cultural significance.
Addressing a gathering of heritage specialists and guests at the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center in Riyadh, Al-Rukban said that the historic locations in Diriyah will be transformed into cultural centers under the program.
This will reflect the pioneering role of the city as the capital of the first Saudi state, and the birthplace of Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Wahhab, the Arabian religious reformer.
Diriyah, where the first Saudi state was set up in 1745, has been undergoing huge restoration since 2011.
Al-Rukban said that the ancient and historic neighborhoods of Diriyah will be developed to serve as a nucleus for urban and cultural development.
Sustainable development will also be achieved by preserving natural resources; private investments and contributions to the development program will also be encouraged.
Al-Rukban said that the program’s external operations include landscaping, building rest areas, bathrooms and internal parking areas.
He said that the neighborhood had been provided with an integrated network of public utilities including water outlets, a drainage and sewerage system, rainwater outlets, electricity, lighting, signboards, maps and informative signs.
The program includes the Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Wahhab Bridge, which connects the neighborhood of Al-Bujairi and that of Al-Turaif.
Al-Rukban said that the comprehensive plan aims at transforming the Al-Bujairi neighborhood into a cultural and service area in Diriyah.
He said that Al-Bujairi neighborhood has a 3,500 sq. meter central plaza encircled by 25 shops and administrative offices.
The neighborhood also hosts the Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Wahhab Cultural Foundation and seeks to become an international hub for researchers in Islamic studies worldwide.

Historic landmark
Al-Rukban said that the Al-Turaif development program had revitalized the neighborhood as a historic landmark and an exhibition of integration and harmony among architectural patterns and natural forms.
He added that Al-Turaif is Diriyah’s most important suburb as it hosts ancient buildings and historical palaces that go back to the first Saudi state.
The Al-Turaif development program includes the Diriyah Museum in Qasr Salwa, which sheds light on the history of the first Saudi state.
Al-Rukban also said that a reception center will be set up at the entrance to the Al-Turaif Quarter to guide visitors and provide them with information about entertainment, tourist utilities, cultural programs and other activities.
Another historic building has also been restored to host the central offices of King Abdul Aziz Foundation and the Riyadh Documentation Center.
The World Heritage Committee has registered the Al-Turaif Quarter as a UNESCO World Heritage site.


Saudi border guards rescue French passenger from Red Sea cruise ship

Updated 19 April 2019
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Saudi border guards rescue French passenger from Red Sea cruise ship

JEDDAH: Saudi border guards rescued a French female tourist on Friday after she broke her leg on board a cruise ship in the Red Sea.
The 85-year-old was aboard the Costa Luminosa off the coast of south-west Saudi Arabia when the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Jeddah received an emergency call from the King Abdulaziz International Airport’s search and rescue center, saying the women needed emergency medical attention.The details of the message was passed to the Saudi Arabia Border Guards.
The border guard’s vessel Al-Lith was sent to meet the cruise ship near Al-Qahma, in the Kingdom’s south-western Asir region.
Lt Col. Misfer Bin Ghanam Al-Qarni, border guards spokesman, said the patient was transferred to Jazan, where she was then taken to Prince Mohammed Bin Nasser Hospital by ambulance.
The Costa Luminosa, which was traveling from Salalah in Oman toward Aqaba in Jordan, continued on its voyage.