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.


Unique Riyadh car race brings in enthusiasts from all around

It is not hard to get anyone on to the track — the hardest thing is to get them back again. (Supplied)
Updated 20 October 2018
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Unique Riyadh car race brings in enthusiasts from all around

  • FJR racing team owner Falah Al-Jarba, who is participating for the first time with his 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, said he was impressed with the first round turnout and noted that the short notice of this event did not affect participation

RIYADH: The first round of the Saudi Time Attack race kicked off on the Reem race circuit yesterday. The 16-category race is unique in its participation since anyone can turn up and join in. Whether you are an everyday driver, enthusiast or would-be racer the Time Attack Race has a category for you.
“We target different types of drivers, usually people with a sports car or regular stock car who want to race their car to the max in a safe environment with other drivers,” said Prince Khalid bin Sultan Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation (SAMF). He added that the target participants for this race are not necessarily professionals but rather enthusiasts, semi pros, amateurs, and beginners.
FJR racing team owner Falah Al-Jarba, who is participating for the first time with his 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, said he was impressed with the first round turnout and noted that the short notice of this event did not affect participation.
“It is not hard to get anyone on to the track — the hardest thing is to get them back again. Anyone who enters the race track three times of his own free will has the makings of a driver,” he said.

Passion
Prince Mohammed bin Saud bin Fahad bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, participating racer and owner of the MS7 racing team, said it is passion that attracts everyone to the race. “It is not a head-to-head race but it is competitive and it is fun. There is no pressure — everyone is here to have fun. I am happy that I participated,” he explained. This also marks a first for Saudi women racing as four women competed for the first time in a car race.
“For the first time we have a ladies category. These opportunities will be better reflected in two to three years’ time but if anyone would ask where did it start, it started here in this 2018 season,” said the “Camaro King” Falah Al-Jarba.
Prince Mohammed is very welcoming of any new competitor to the racing industry.
“At the end of the day if you have two hands, two legs and can drive that’s what it comes down to regardless of your gender, your weight, your height or your size, it is all about how well you can perform under pressure,” he said.
Prince Khalid expects a better turnout for female participants in the next round of the race scheduled for Nov. 16. He added that there has been a great interest in joining the race and wanted to clarify that anyone who wants to take part in the race does not need to have a race car.