Wadi Hanifa: A desert oasis running through Riyadh

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Wadi Hanifa: An oasis of relaxation and time out in Riyadh.
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Wadi Hanifa was once a waste disposal site and has been transformed into the largest natural open resort in the Kingdom.
Updated 29 June 2017

Wadi Hanifa: A desert oasis running through Riyadh

RIYADH: Once a waste disposal site, Wadi Hanifa is now a beautiful valley running a length of nearly 120 km from the northwest to the southeast of the capital.
Known in the pre-Islamic era as Wadi Al-Irdh, it was renamed Wadi Hanifa after the Bani Hanifa tribe that populated the area.
Riyadh grew substantially and expansion destroyed the environmental balance in the scenic valley, leading to erosion.
“The once fertile and scenic Wadi Hanifa suffered as the capital city rapidly expanded,” said a local, adding that the growing city used the river valley as a throughway for utility lines and a dumping ground for construction waste. Later, industrial activities were launched in the area, turning it into a dump for waste disposal.
In 1986, the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) launched a plan to turn the dump into a nature reserve, attracting local and foreign visitors, and encouraging investments. The redevelopment plan involved creating water channels, trails, and spots for visitors to observe the spectacular views the valley has to offer.
Riyadh’s first large sewage treatment facility channeled 400,000 to 650,000 cubic meters of runoff daily, creating an area of small lakes south of Riyadh. This area grew and a 100 km green corridor was created.
According to the ADA, the decision taken in 1986 proved to be a significant milestone as it helped transform the valley into the largest natural reserve in the Kingdom. The wetlands became a stop for migratory birds and a popular area for recreation.
The valley, located on the outskirts of the capital, has water channels, green corridors, walkways and picnic spots for visitors to enjoy the scenic beauty that includes orchards and farms, making it a major attraction for both Riyadh residents and visitors.
Abdullah Ahmad, who resides in the nearby Wadi Laban area, said: “Riyadh residents were in need of such a site in the city, having the opportunity to enjoy nature and a clean environment away from built-up places.”
Zakir Khan, a regular visitor to the natur reserve, said: “It’s a great place for a picnic. I go there all the time with my family for a barbecue… Surrounded by mountains and a lake, it is a beautiful and quite popular place among picnickers. The best part is, it is not even far from the city.”

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

Updated 22 October 2019

Saudi minister hails ‘special relationship’ with Japan

  • “We share common values,” said Majid Al-Qasabi

TOKYO: Saudi Arabia has a “special relationship” with Japan, which is “reliable strategic partner and friend” of the Kingdom, the Saudi Minister for Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi said on Monday.

The minister was speaking at the launch in Tokyo of the Japanese-language online edition of Arab News, in the latest stage of its global expansion. The event came on the eve of Tuesday’s ceremonial enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in the Japanese capital. “This is a great opportunity, a moment in history,” Al-Qasabi said.

The news website, published in Japanese and English, will focus on enabling the exchange of information between Japan and the Arab world in business, current affairs, and arts and culture. “It will be good to have news in Japanese so many Japanese can read about the Arab world,” Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono said at the launch.

Common values

“We share common values, we have a high respect for the elders and we think that the family is very important … to me we are friends and I think we need to work together.

“In order to do that we need to know what people in the Middle East are actually thinking, what is happening on a daily basis, and we haven’t got the source for that — but now Arab News is in Japan.

“This is a very good means to exchange information between the Middle East and Japan, so I am very much looking forward to it.”