Diriyah through young eyes: ‘It’s the jewel of Saudi Arabia’

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Helena Inzerillo in front of Salwa Palace in Diriyah
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Helena Inzerillo
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Meet the Inzerillo's: The family gathered to celebrate the royal inauguration of Diriyah.
Updated 22 November 2019

Diriyah through young eyes: ‘It’s the jewel of Saudi Arabia’

  • Helena Zakade Inzerillo: “Everyone has to come and see this place”

RIYADH: King Salman’s royal inauguration of the Diriyah Gate project — a crowning moment in Kingdom’s plans to showcase the cultural icon to the world — was watched by members of the royal family, officials and a host of international visitors.
But for one guest the spectacular opening was very much a family affair.
Helena Zakade Inzerillo, the 13-year-old daughter of Diriyah Gate Development Authority CEO Jerry Inzerillo, flew into Riyadh from New York to watch the launch of a project, and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site and birthplace of the Saudi nation.
“Everyone has to come and see this place,” she told Arab News.
“Diriyah is an incredible place. It has so much culture and history that the world needs to know about. It’s the jewel of the Kingdom.”
Inzerillo’s middle name Zakade was given to her by her godfather Nelson Mandela. In Mandela’s Khosa language, it means “the one who took a long time to arrive.”
She is proud of her father’s work to transform the city “with his heart and soul.” 
On only her fifth visit to the Kingdom, Inzerillo said she that was “taken aback by the sheer beauty of the place.”
Jerry Inzerillo has spent decades working in the leisure, tourism and hospitality sectors. He was CEO of the Forbes Travel Guide from 2014 to 2018, president and CEO of IMG Artists from 2012 to 2014, and president of resort giant Kerzner International from 1991 to 2011.
He has worked on the Diriyah Gate project for the past two years and told Arab News the site “has always held a special place in my heart.”
“There is only one Diriyah,” he said with a heartfelt smile.



Recent archaeological discoveries highlight Saudi Arabia as ‘a cradle of human civilizations,’ Rome conference told

Updated 06 December 2019

Recent archaeological discoveries highlight Saudi Arabia as ‘a cradle of human civilizations,’ Rome conference told

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has become a leader in the field of archaeological research in the past five years, a major exhibition in Rome was told.

Abdullah Al-Zahrani, director-general of archaeological research and studies at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, said that 44 international archaeological missions had been carried out this year in the Kingdom.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the “Roads of Arabia: Masterpieces of Antiquities in Saudi Arabia Across the Ages” exhibition, which opened at the National Museum of Rome on Nov. 26.

The groundbreaking exhibition was inaugurated by Saudi Minister of Culture Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan and Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities Dario Franceschini.

Al-Zahrani said that the Kingdom “has become one of the most advanced countries in terms of archaeological disclosures.”

“Recent discoveries by local and international missions have highlighted the Kingdom’s historical status and cultural depth as the cradle of the beginnings of human civilizations,” he said.

Archaeological discoveries continue to “instil the civilized dimension of the Kingdom,” he said.

“The religious, political, economic and cultural stature that Saudi Arabia enjoys is an extension of its long cultural heritage, in addition to its distinctive geographical position as a bridge and hub of cultural interaction between East and West that made it a meeting point for international land and sea trade routes throughout all ages,” he added.