Darah sends atlas of Makkah, holy sites to US, UK

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Updated 21 March 2019

Darah sends atlas of Makkah, holy sites to US, UK

RIYADH: The King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives (Darah) has sent Arabic and English copies of the “Illustrated Atlas of Makkah and the Holy Sites” to the British Museum and the US Library of Congress to serve as a resource for scientists and researchers.
The 325-page atlas documents the history of Makkah and the Two Holy Mosques using photos and text, and has served as a research resource since its release 16 years ago. It also features historical writings by Arab and foreign Muslim pilgrims.
As part of its support for projects that serve the history of Islam in general, and the history of Makkah specifically, Darah has made the atlas available on its official website and at book fairs, including the Riyadh International Book Fair.
The publication, co-authored by Dr. Miraj Nawab Mirza and Dr. Abdullah Saleh Shawesh, comprises six units, including Makkah in the eyes of Muslim and Western painters, early photos and illustrations, and the Grand Mosque and Makkah in the days of King Abdul Aziz and his sons.
The atlas also includes a historical supplement on the development of photography since the discovery of the darkroom until the emergence of dry film, which was developed into digital cameras in 1991. SPA Riyadh
The atlas is the first publication to include early illustrations and photos of Makkah, taken by local and international Muslim photographers.
It documents the foundations of the services provided by the modern Saudi state since the reign of King Abdul Aziz, such as paving the roads leading to Makkah, providing water for pilgrims, lighting the Grand Mosque, roofing the Masa’a, making the Kaaba’s Kiswah and door, and constructing the Makkah clock.

$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

Updated 06 July 2020

$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

  • Saudi capital’s planning chief unveils ambitious strategy ahead of G20 urban development summit

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is launching a SR3 trillion ($800 billion) plan to double the size of Riyadh in the next decade and transform it into an economic, social and cultural hub for the region.

The ambitious strategy for the capital city was unveiled by Fahd Al-Rasheed, president of the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh, ahead of key meetings of the U20, the arm of the G20 leaders’ summit that deals with urban development and strategy.

“Riyadh is already a very important economic engine for the Kingdom, and although it’s already very successful, the plan now, under Vision 2030, is to actually take that way further, to double the population to 15 million people,” he told Arab News.

“We’ve already launched 18 megaprojects in the city, worth over SR1 trillion, over $250 billion, to both improve livability and deliver much higher economic growth so we can create jobs and double the population in 10 years. It’s a significant plan and the whole city is working to make sure this happens.”

About $250 billion in investment is expected from the private sector, with the same amount generated by increased economic activity from population growth, finance and banking, cultural and desert tourism, and leisure events.


  • 18 megaprojects have already been launched worth over $250 billion.
  • 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years.
  • King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London.

“We must also ensure the growth is managed properly, so there will be a focus on transport and logistics, including the Riyadh metro which will open at the beginning of next year. The aim is to increase productivity,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plan involves the creation of a “mega industrial zone” focusing on advanced technology such as renewables and automation, and biotechnology and aquaponics. Another key feature is sustainability, with energy conservation, the circular carbon economy with its emphasis on reducing emissions, and water management, all priorities.

“You will see 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years, and King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London,” Al-Rasheed said.

The city also aims to be a Middle East artistic and cultural hub. An opera house is being considered, as well as public art shows with 1,000 works commissioned from around the world. “We have not seen anything like it since Renaissance Florence,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plans will be discussed this week during online meetings of the U20 linking Riyadh with Houston. The Texas oil capital is suffering a new spike in coronavirus cases and pandemics will be on the agenda. “We want to deal with this one, but also be ready for the next one,” Al-Rasheed said.