RIYADH: Diriyah in Saudi Arabia, revered as the birthplace of the Kingdom, has been chosen by the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization as the Capital of Arab Culture for 2030.
In a message posted on Twitter on Monday, the Saudi Ministry of Culture said: “We’re proud to announce that Diriyah will be the 2030 Capital of Arab Culture, in recognition of its centuries-old history and eternal cultural significance — the second city in Saudi Arabia to be chosen, after Riyadh in 2000.”
The choice was endorsed by Arab ministers of culture during their annual ALECSO meeting in Dubai on Dec. 19 and 20, after the organization’s standing committee for culture approved a vote in favor of Diriyah.
Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, the Saudi minister of culture and chairman of the National Commission for Education, Science and Culture, said that the choice of Diriyah for 2030 marks the culmination of a journey for what was the capital of the first Saudi state, and all that it produced and achieved through centuries of historical and civilizational richness. With its enduring cultural legacy, it ranks alongside the most prominent historical sites in the world, he added.
The prince added that the recognition of Diriyah, and that of Riyadh 21 years ago, enhances the status and prestige of both locations. He said the choice of Diriyah as Capital of Arab Culture for 2030 has special meaning, given that this is also the target year set for achieving comprehensive national-development goals under the ambitious Saudi Vision strategy.
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Prince Badr also expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their great support of Saudi culture
Diriyah is undergoing a major restoration and development effort, following a royal order that established the Diriyah Gate Development Authority in 2017, to transform the historic site into one of the most important global cultural-tourism destinations.
In a previous interview with Arab News, Jerry Inzerillo, the CEO of the DGDA, said: “Diriyah is known to be a land of kings and heroes; the cradle of the first Saudi state. It is this immense history, rich culture, the historic neighborhoods and the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site At-Turaif which contribute to it being an incomparable city. There is only one Diriyah.”
As CEO of the DGDA, Inzerillo is overseeing a $50.6 billion project to transform the historic site into a global tourism attraction envisioned as being on a par with international treasures such as the Parthenon in Athens and the Colosseum in Rome.
The Capital of Arab Culture celebrations in Diriyah in 2030 are expected to include a wide range of events, including cultural and artistic workshops, theater and film shows, cultural and heritage festivals, and competitions.