Saudis welcome Qiddiya project, look forward to a ‘one-of-a-kind experience’

A scene at the opening of the launch of the Qiddiya in Riyadh on April 28, 2018. (SPA photo)
Updated 29 April 2018
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Saudis welcome Qiddiya project, look forward to a ‘one-of-a-kind experience’

JEDDAH: Saudis welcomed the launch of Qiddiya, the entertainment city and Saudis’ upcoming destination for all things fun, which will officially introduce its theme parks, motor sport facilities and safari by 2022 when its first phase is complete.
The project, 40 kilometers outside Riyadh on the Tuwaiq escarpment, will occupy 334 square kilometers, triple the size of Walt Disney World in Florida. Its aim is to boost the entertainment sector and economy in Saudi Arabia, as well as liven up the tourism industry, in support of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reform program, Vision 2030.
Economically, Qiddiya is one of many measures aimed at reducing the Kingdom’s reliance on oil and diversifying its economy in the cultural, entertainment and hospitality industries. Saudi economist Mohammed Suwayed believes the project will push the entertainment industry toward full growth. “Riyadh currently lacks a structured entertainment industry that caters to all segments of society.
“Qiddiya will act as an enabler to the entertainment industry and unlock huge potential and opportunities for customers and businesses.
The Public Investment Fund is also investing in building the infrastructure, and it will push the limitations placed on the industry and make it surge.”
Additionally, Qiddiya will also redirect what Saudis spend on tourism in foreign countries back into the Kingdom by creating entertainment experiences that they previously sought outside the country.
Considering that the majority of Saudis are under 30 years old, the project is a much-needed attraction, said Abdan Al-Abdan, a 27-year-old from Riyadh. The project will add a new entertaining aspect to Saudi social life, he said, especially because it is not only an amusement park but a fully-fledged entertainment city that includes sports facilities, acting as an incentive for youth to be more active.
“The project will greatly improve the quality of economical and social life,” he said. “In the short-term, Qiddiya will provide a good number of job opportunities for many Saudi citizens both in the process of building the project and after opening the first phase in 2022. In the long-term, this project will help the Kingdom with one of the many elements of the Vision 2030, which is economic sufficiency, contributing to the goal of diversification of national income that will push forward the wheel of economic development.
“In addition, the Qiddiya project will bring in foreign investors in the entertainment sector as well as in infrastructure development and human resources development,” he added.

Nora Alrifai, a 26-year-old Saudi female from Jeddah, told Arab News: “I don’t mind that it’s all the way in Riyadh, as long as it’s inside Saudi Arabia. We already have plenty of entertainment activities in the Western Province and it’s only fair to have entertainment distributed among all regions of the Kingdom.
“I believe it will be a one-of-a-kind experience as this project is unprecedented here and we’ve never had something of this caliber. I just wish that entry tickets’ pricing will be reasonable to suit all levels of society,” she said.


Three historical mosques in Hail to be restored under Saudi crown prince project

Updated 24 min 48 sec ago
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Three historical mosques in Hail to be restored under Saudi crown prince project

  • The first phase of the Hail mosques started with Al-Jarad Mosque, Qafar Mosque and Al-Jal’ud Mosque
  • The project is supervised by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage

RIYADH: Three mosques in the region of Hail have joined the first phase of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Project for Developing Historical Mosques in the Kingdom, joining 30 historic mosques in 10 regions at a total cost of the first phase of more than SAR50 million ($13.3 million).
The project is supervised by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) represented by “Restoration of Historic Mosques” in partnership with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
The first phase of the Hail mosques started with Al-Jarad Mosque, Qafar Mosque and Al-Jal’ud Mosque at a total cost of SAR6,211,000.
Al-Jarad Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the historic town of Maghaydah and dates back to 1862 and was restored in 1962.
Prayer services continued in the mosque until 1991.
Prominent imams of the mosque include Abdul Aziz Rashid Al-Jamil, Salem Nasser Al-Jamil and Abdullah Hilal Al-Jamil.
Al-Jarad Mosque is built with mud and stone with a wooden roof. It covers 450 square meters and can accommodate 192 worshipers. It consists of the prayer area which is located in the central part of the mosque with an area of 90 square meters.
Al-Khalwah is an underground prayer area located in the southern part of the mosque with an area of 90 square meters. Al-Sarhah is the open area that lies north of the mosque with an area of 212 square meters, in addition to two entrances located in the northern and southern façades.
Qafar Mosque is located in the village of Qafar, which dates back to the first half of the nineteenth century.
The mosque was founded by Ruqayyah Bint Abdullah after the death of her husband. The mosque was renovated in 1965, where Friday prayers were held and people would come from nearby villages to pray in it.
Qafar Mosque is also built with mud and stone with a wooden roof. The total area of the mosque is 638 square meters and can accommodate 500 worshipers. The prayer area is located in the south of the mosque with an area of 175 square meters. Al-Sarha, which is the open courtyard, is located on the north side of the mosque. It is located on the north side of the mosque with an area of 300 square meters and a modern prayer area with an area of 178 square meters.
The mosque has a rectangular 8-meter-minaret as well as two depots southeast of the mosque.
A modern prayer area was built inside Al-Sarha in 1991, where prayer is held at the present time. Prominent imams of the mosque include Rashid Al-Salami, Sulaiman Rashid Al-Salami, Mohammad Iss+a Al-Khurais and Abdullah Nasser Al-Ghaithi. The present imam is Abdulmuhsin Al-Khwair.
Al-Jal’ud Mosque is located in the province of Samira, south-east of Hail. It dates back to the year eighteenth century and is a station on the pilgrimage route.
Al-Jal’ud Mosque is also built with mud and stone with a wooden roof with a total area of 227 square meters and accommodates up to 120 worshipers. The prayer area is in the middle of the mosque and is about 80 square meters. The mosque was rebuilt in 1928.
Ahmed bin Rajaa Al-Shammari, of SCTH, stressed that the directives approved the implementation of the first phase of the project on time and that the implementation should be of the highest quality.