Author: 
MUHAMMAD HUMAIDAN | ARAB NEWS
Publication Date: 
Tue, 2011-11-22 01:02

Prince Salman is the chairman of the board of directors of Darah, which undertakes the development to the historical locations, Diriyah and Qasr Al-Hakam located in the suburbs of Riyadh. The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) also strives its to best to develop the two locations preserving the heritage of the locations.
Diriyah and Qasr Al-Hakam stand out as the symbols of the Saudi heritage architecture besides being the most important locations in the early history of the Kingdom.
Diriyah, the first Saudi capital was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.  The historic Musmak Palace stands out in the Qasr Al-Hakam area.
The planned renovations and constructions in the Qasr Al-Hakam area will cover Suwaiqah commercial complex, Al-Muaiqiliyah souk, Dayrah, Zal and Justice Square, Al-Safah and Imam Muhammad bin Saud squares and the courtyard of the Al-Musmak Castle. Palm trees are to be planted in more than 4,500 sq. meters in the courtyard of the castle and other trees in the southern side. The eastern side is to be developed into a desert setting with an elevated level that protects the castle. The courtyard has paved walkways and also suitable for folk and heritage events. The mosque close to Musmak is reconstructed in a classical heritage style of the location. The Prince Turki bin Abdullah Mosque has entrances from the Justice Square, the Prince Turki bin Abdullah road and Safa Square. It has two minarets with each rising to a height of 50 meters.
The first phase of the development of Diriyah involves development of road networks, utilities, courtyards and squares apart from Diriyah museum, repair of the Imam Muhammad bin Saud Mosque, construction of Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab Foundation and light and sound presentation facility close to the museum.
The mud houses of Diriyah will be renovated as part of the museum development. There will also be traditional commercial shops, and complexes for government offices, tourism guidance office and visitors center. The first phase also includes the construction of grounds for occasions, public parks in addition to the Al-Turaif Heritage Hotel project, Al-Bujairi heritage hotel, Al-Turaif train, traditional restaurants, health club, residential apartments and market for agricultural products.
Al-Turaif is the most important district in Diriyah with a number of heritage buildings, historical palaces. Most government buildings in the first Saudi Kingdom were focused in the district. They include Salwa Palace built by the founder of the first Kingdom Imam Muhammad bin Saud in the middle of 18th century. The district is also proud of the Imam Muhammad bin Saud Mosque where Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab used to dictate lessons to his disciples.
Al-Bujairi is another major district in the Diriyah where stands the oldest mosque from where the first generation of Salafi scholars graduated. The district is sitting on the eastern bank of the Wadi Hanifa.

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