Curtain up: Work begins on KSA’s landmark entertainment, sport and culture destination

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Saudi Arabia King Salman lays the foundation stone at Qiddiya entertainment park near Riyadh is part of a series of projects as the Kingdom seeks to diversify its economy, April 28, 2018. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia King Salman arrives to lay the foundation stone at Qiddiya entertainment park near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 28, 2018. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia King Salman lays the foundation stone at Qiddiya entertainment park near Riyadh is part of a series of projects as the Kingdom seeks to diversify its economy, April 28, 2018. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia King Salman lays the foundation stone at Qiddiya entertainment park near Riyadh is part of a series of projects as the Kingdom seeks to diversify its economy, April 28, 2018. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia King Salman lays the foundation stone at Qiddiya entertainment park near Riyadh is part of a series of projects as the Kingdom seeks to diversify its economy, April 28, 2018. (SPA)
Updated 29 April 2018

Curtain up: Work begins on KSA’s landmark entertainment, sport and culture destination

  • Located southwest of Riyadh, the project is considered to be one of the largest entertainment parks in the world
  • The 334-square kilometer project will rival Walt Disney and include high-end theme parks

RIYADH: With fireworks illuminating the dramatic Tuwaiq escarpment, hundreds of guests from inside the Kingdom and around the world had a taste on Saturday of the fun to come at Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia’s first entertainment, sport and cultural city.

The fireworks were triggered by King Salman, as he put in place the last baton of the Qiddiya logo, part of the ground-breaking ceremony for the project 40 km west of Riyadh. 

He was accompanied by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Chairman of the Public Investment Fund, whose Vision 2030 plan aims to boost the entertainment sector and economy in Saudi Arabia, and energize the tourism industry.

Qiddiya is one of many measures aimed at reducing the Kingdom’s reliance on oil and diversifying its economy. It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is 110 sq km.

“In creating Qiddiya, we are building a brighter future,” said its CEO, Michael Reininger. “One filled with culture, sports, entertainment and the arts that responds to the Saudi people’s desire for new and accessible activities that enrich their lives.

“Qiddiya will also create a self-sustaining ecosystem. Based on our five cornerstones, which are parks and attractions; motion and mobility; nature and environment; sports and wellness; and culture, arts, and education, our development will be supported by retail, residential, and hospitality offerings to form a fully-integrated entertainment destination.”

After Reininger’s opening address, which was preceded by the national anthem and a recitation of the Qur’an, Aa’ed Yousef performed a song with lyrics by Prince Badr bin Abdulmohsen, a gift to King Salman.

The audience was then shown a video on the wide range of tourist attractions that Qiddiya promises, including theme parks, sports facilities, motorsport tracks, and nature and safari experiences.

Considering that almost two-thirds of Saudis are under 35 years old, the project is a much-needed attraction, said Abdan Al-Abdan, 27, from Riyadh. 


Saudi Arabia condemns attack on church in Burkina Faso

Updated 20 February 2020

Saudi Arabia condemns attack on church in Burkina Faso

  • Gunmen killed 24 people, including a church pastor, and kidnapped three others in the attack in Dori
  • More than 1,300 civilians were killed in attacks last year in Burkina Faso, more than seven times the previous year

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has condemned a terror attack on a church in northeast Burkina Faso in which 24 people were killed and three kidnapped.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the Kingdom’s condolences to families of the victims, and the government and people of Burkina Faso, and reiterated its rejection of violence, terrorism and extremism.

On Sunday, gunmen killed 24 people, including a church pastor, and kidnapped three others in Burkina Faso. It was the latest attack against a religious leader in the increasingly unstable West African nation. Sihanri Osangola Brigadie, mayor of Boundore commune, said the attack occurred in the town of Pansi in Yagha province. 

About 20 attackers separated men from women outside a Protestant church. At least 18 people were injured.

“It hurt me when I saw the people,” Brigadie said after visiting some victims in a hospital in Dori town, 180 km from the attack.

Both Christians and Muslims were killed before the church was set on fire, a government security official said. Attacks have targeted religious leaders in the area in the past. 

Last week a retired pastor was killed and another abducted by gunmen, according to an internal security report for aid workers.

More than 1,300 civilians were killed in attacks last year in Burkina Faso, more than seven times the previous year, according to Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, which collects and analyzes conflict information.

The insecurity has created a humanitarian crisis. More than 760,000 people have been forced from their homes in the country, according to the government.