Saudi King Salman lays foundation stone to mark start of $17bn Diriyah Gate project

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Diriyah Gate Project will kick off at the beginning of 2020. (SPA)
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Diriyah Gate Project will kick off at the beginning of 2020. (SPA)
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Diriyah Gate Project will kick off at the beginning of 2020. (SPA)
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Diriyah Gate Project will kick off at the beginning of 2020. (SPA)
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Updated 22 November 2019

Saudi King Salman lays foundation stone to mark start of $17bn Diriyah Gate project

DIRIYAH: Work officially began on Diriyah Gate on Wednesday, when King Salman attended the official ground-breaking ceremony and laid the foundation stone.

Work on the SR 64 billion ($17 billion) development, one of the most important projects in the Kingdom, will begin in earnest in January. It will create a global tourism destination that combines a modern city with world-class historical and cultural attractions that reflect the area’s rich heritage.

The official inauguration had been delayed for a day due to heavy rain but that did not dampen the festive mood. Before the foundation stone was laid there were a number of celebratory events, including historical reenactments and displays of traditional culture, including the Ardah dance.

The ambitious plans for Diriyah include a cultural heritage project to restore and renovate the historic area and celebrate its heritage, while also developing modern amenities to transform it into a leading tourist destination.

“Diriyah will have eight museums,” said Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of the Diriyah Gate project. “We are planting a million tress in Wadi Hanifa. We will have a new 15,000-seat cultural-performance center, sporting venues and all new souks. There will be a 3.5 kilometer walking path overlooking the wadi, and several thousand residences and offices.”

The new construction and development will respect and preserve the character of the area and its historic treasures, he added.

“We are not in the business of demolishing,” said Inzerillo. “We don’t like that word. We are in the business of restoring what has authenticity. If something doesn’t conform or comply with the authenticity of the Najd architecture, we will buy it and replace it with what does.”

He noted that 55,000 tourist visas were issued by Saudi Arabia last week and the numbers will continue to grow, after the Kingdom opened up to international travelers.

“They (tourists) will be coming in big numbers — by the time we get to 2030 we will get 27 million visitors (a year) to Diriyah: 7 million international and 20 million domestic,” he added.

The Diriyah Gate project includes more than 20 hotels with a total of 3,100 rooms, and resorts with a further 300 rooms overlooking the Hanifa Valley. There will also be venues for conferences, exhibitions and weddings.

The attractions will include: The Square of King Salman, the largest gathering space in Diriyah; the Samhan Amphitheatre; the Square of the Commemorative Stone of the Kingdom’s Heroes; the Mosque Square, which will provide access to King Salman’s Mosque; and the Historical Village Square, where places, streets, gates, towers and other locations will be named after Saudi historical figures.

The museums will include: The Museum of Al-Saud House, including a pavilion dedicated to King Salman which will showcase his accomplishments and the Kingdom’s heritage; The Museum of the Saudi state and Arabian Peninsula, celebrating the region’s history and the development of the Saudi state; The Museum of the 100-stories Journey, where visitors will learn about Saudi history and culture; and Misk Heritage Museum, an educational institute that aims to encourage young people to get involved with the nation’s history and heritage by highlighting the latest research.

In addition, Diriyah Arts Center will connect past and present through modern and traditional arts and culture, while the Digital Arts Museum will offer visitors an innovative high-tech exploration of Diriyah’s history to encourage young people to explore the Kingdom’s heritage.

Education is also an important part of the project. An arts zone will include academies teaching traditional local skills such as Arabic calligraphy, Islamic arts, Najdi architecture, Najdi cuisine, and Arabian theater and music.

Diriyah Gate will have more than 100 restaurants offering the finest local and international cuisines and a wide range of retail options. The recreational zone will include entertainment and sports venues and facilities capable of hosting international sporting events and concerts, along with four sports and recreational centers.


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Saudi team makes debut in cyberspace mathematical competition 2020

Updated 26 min 58 sec ago

Saudi team makes debut in cyberspace mathematical competition 2020

JEDDAH: For the first time Saudi Arabia is putting forward a team to take part in the Cyberspace Mathematical Competition (2020 CMC). It will be represented by the King Abdul Aziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba).
Sixty-nine teams from various countries are competing remotely in the two-day competition that kicked off on Monday.
Mawhiba, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, qualified a team of students to take part in 2020 CMC. The team members are Hamza Al-Sheikhi, Marwan Khayat and Thanaa Al-Haidari, Mohammed Al-Dubaisi and Nawaf Al-Ghamdi, Jude Bahwaini, Khaled Al-Ajran and Mohammed Al-Shehri.
The Saudi team underwent intensive training – 3,000 hours over four years – by experts and specialists to develop their skills
Each country will have a team of no more than eight people above the age of 19. Teams with six people must have at least one female member, and teams with eight people must have at least two female members.
The competition consists of eight essay-proof problems, in mathematics, algebra, combinatorics, engineering and number theory, held over two days. There will be four problems per day arranged in roughly increasing order of difficulty, with a 5-hour time limit.
CMC is a high-level international competition for high-school students, providing a rich opportunity for young math students in the world to deal with difficult and interesting issues.
All major countries are keen to participate due to the difficulty of the questions in this competition, which is close to the difficulty of the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO). It is also considered one of the qualifying stations for the International Olympics.
Saudi teams will also be taking part remotely in the European Physics Olympiad and the International Chemistry Olympiad in the coming two weeks.
Mawhiba was keen to qualify the participating teams through its International Olympiads program to enable them to compete with students of the world during such international competitions.