Saudi aviation strategy boosts global connectivity, official says

Al-Jasser signs a cooperation agreement in air transport services with Sierra Leone's Minister of Transport and Aviation, Haji Vandi Turay, on the sidelines of the 15th International Conference on Air Service Negotiations (ICAN 2023), which will continue until Thursday. (Supplied)
1 / 2
Al-Jasser signs a cooperation agreement in air transport services with Sierra Leone's Minister of Transport and Aviation, Haji Vandi Turay, on the sidelines of the 15th International Conference on Air Service Negotiations (ICAN 2023), which will continue until Thursday. (Supplied)
Saudi aviation strategy boosts global connectivity, official says
2 / 2
Al-Jasser speaking at a ministerial session titled "The Impact of Air Transport on Economic Development" at the 15th International Conference on Air Service Negotiations (ICAN 2023) of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which kicked off on Sunday (December 3) in Riyadh and continue until Thursday. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 04 December 2023
Follow

Saudi aviation strategy boosts global connectivity, official says

Saudi aviation strategy boosts global connectivity, official says

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics Saleh Al-Jasser highlighted the success of the national aviation strategy in making Saudi Arabia more globally connected during the 15th International Conference on Air Services Negotiations in Riyadh.

Al-Jasser, who also chairs the General Authority of Civil Aviation, said that the strategy encompasses plans to swiftly advance the country’s air transport sector, including expanding the flight network of Saudi airports.

Speaking at a ministerial session titled “The Impact of Air Transport on Economic Development” at the ICAN 2023 of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Al-Jasser noted the development of airport infrastructure across the Kingdom. This includes the construction of new airports, such as the King Salman Airport in Riyadh, and enhancing air service levels at all airports. The focus is also on transforming the King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah into a global air service hub and increasing aircraft numbers.

He said that the ministry’s goal is to boost the transport and logistics sector’s contribution to GDP to 10 percent, viewing civil aviation as a key driver.

The session also featured discussions with Indonesian Minister of Transport Budi Karya Sumadi, the Ministry of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation of Saint Lucia’s Alva Romanus Baptiste, and Minister of Transport of the Republic of Seychelles Anthony Gerard D’Offay. They shared insights on the role of civil aviation in economic development and global connectivity.

Al-Jasser inaugurated the 15th ICAN conference on Sunday, which was attended by key figures in international aviation. The inauguration was attended by notable figures including GACA President Abdulaziz Al-Duailej and ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano.

Al-Jasser also signed a cooperation agreement in air transport services with Minister of Transport and Aviation of Sierra Leone Fanday Turay on the sidelines of the event, which will continue until Thursday.

The agreement complements the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention, signed in 1944, aiming to regulate safe and efficient air transport between the two countries and enhance airline competition, safety and civil aviation security standards.

The bilateral agreement is part of Saudi Arabia’s broader strategy to establish international partnerships, sign new bilateral agreements and achieve ambitious goals in enhancing global air connectivity, with plans to become a global logistics hub and handle 330 million passengers annually by 2030.

The agreement also focuses on supporting the mutual economic interests of national airlines, enhancing their role in the air transport market of both countries, and embracing modern approaches to market entry and air transport.

This is part of a broader strategy in the civil aviation sector to forge international partnerships and sign new bilateral agreements. These initiatives are geared toward expanding the Kingdom’s global air network to 250 destinations.

 


‘Let us celebrate what’s uniquely Saudi. We own this culture,’ DGDA CEO tells Arab News on Founding Day

‘Let us celebrate what’s uniquely Saudi. We own this culture,’ DGDA CEO tells Arab News on Founding Day
Updated 21 February 2024
Follow

‘Let us celebrate what’s uniquely Saudi. We own this culture,’ DGDA CEO tells Arab News on Founding Day

‘Let us celebrate what’s uniquely Saudi. We own this culture,’ DGDA CEO tells Arab News on Founding Day
  • Jerry Inzerillo says Diriyah “is the birthplace of the Kingdom. This is the source of our identity”
  • In four months’ time, Inzerillo marks six-year anniversary of his appointment as DGDA

RIYADH: Diriyah Gate Development Authority Group CEO Jerry Inzerillo is highlighting the Kingdom’s rich historical roots this Founding Day.

“Founding Day for all of us in Diriyah is special. It’s who we are,” Inzerillo told Arab News.

“Let us celebrate what’s uniquely Saudi. We own this culture, there’s a lot of pride in it. There are 238 countries in the world. But this (Diriyah) is the birthplace of the Kingdom. This is the source of our identity. This is the source of our national pride. Let’s rejoice who we are as a people.”

In what he described as a celebration of pride and culture, Inzerillo welcomed people from around the world to come to Diriyah to experience the rich history of the Kingdom’s birthplace.

“Let them come and receive a warm welcome. Let them be festive and joyful, safe and secure and sound with a great quality of life, which is what Diriyah represents and what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and certainly what Vision 2030 represents,” he told Arab News.

FASTFACTS

  • On Feb. 1, 2022, Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers made an announcement declaring Feb. 22 of each year as Founding Day.
  • The day commemorates the foundation of the First Saudi State in 1727 by Imam Mohammed bin Saud.

This is a celebration of national pride linking the historical roots of the First Saudi State nearly 300 years ago to the modern Kingdom today, celebrating history culture and identity through Founding Day, he said.

On Feb. 1, 2022, the Council of Ministers made an announcement declaring Feb. 22 of each year as Founding Day to commemorate the foundation of the First Saudi State in 1727 by Imam Mohammed bin Saud.

A celebration of the Kingdom’s deep historical and cultural roots, Founding Day marks a key moment in Saudi Arabia’s timeline — the day Imam Muhammad bin Saud assumed power in Diriyah, the capital of the First Saudi State.

DGDA’s group CEO Jerry Inzerillo welcomed people from around the world to come to Diriyah to experience the rich history of the Kingdom’s birthplace. (DGDA)

“Founding Day is very special, you know we all love National Day, September 23rd is a great day, everybody is out in the street jubilant and festive as we get ready for 94 years of national pride. But Founding Day is very special because that has to do with the 300-year history of the Kingdom and especially its birthplace, Diriyah,” Inzerillo said.

During his interview with Arab News, Inzerillo reflected on the nearly six years he has been group CEO of DGDA, working closely with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in bringing the vision of Diriyah to fruition.

“When you have the privilege to serve at this time with two great visionaries — the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques — I always praise King Salman, he deserves our love and praise because because if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have At-Turaif, we wouldn’t have the birthplace of the Kingdom celebrated as it is,” Inzerillo said.

“When we think about the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, his love has always been Diriyah. The Kingdom and its people, of course, but in his heart he has always had a special love for Diriyah,” he said.

Inzerillo expressed his pride in seeing the dream of King Salman realized. “To see his (King Salman’s) dream coming out of the ground — to see his royal highness, the crown prince, his vision, a vision of 2030 where people are enjoying themselves … people festive, happy, laughing with their families, joyful in beautiful park settings and around the mud of the UNESCO site.”

Diriyah represents and what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and certainly what Vision 2030 represents. (DGDA)

Inzerillo said that this past Saturday, the At-Turaif World UNESCO Heritage Site had 13,000 visitors and both the Al-Bujairi Terrace sold out, as well as the Diriyah Nights Layali Diriyah.

“This is what quality of life is all about. During the daytime you see people jogging, having picnics with their families, horseback, on bicycles. This is what quality of life is like. So, to see that Diriyah as a community can bring enjoyment to its community first and to the community of Riyadh and to the Kingdom is a source of pride,” he said.

Inzerillo lauded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for what the CEO describes as “a fabulous master plan.” He said: “We have to give him immense credit.”

Inzerillo highlighted what it has been like to work closely with the crown prince, praising his dedication to the Kingdom’s projects and the attentiveness and care he gives people.

“The more I work, with a daily, weekly basis with his royal highness, the more admiration I have for him and I didn’t think that could be more than 10 out of 10, but considering his global leadership, especially during the time of crisis that we have in the Middle East right now, to see his global leadership role into making the region safe and prosperous with a good quality of life from everybody is amazing,” Inzerillo said.

He highlighted the extensive role the crown prince has — detailing that the crown prince is presiding as prime minister over a G20 country while presiding over different master plans in the Kingdom with the aim of “making life better for not only the people in Saudi Arabia but also people in the region and in the world.”

DGDA’s group CEO Jerry Inzerillo says, “Diriyah lives in the heart of every Saudi, it is the source of our national pride, it is the source of our identity as a people.” (DGDA)

He said: “To see how devoted he (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) is and how much time he gives all of us — not just his ministers, which I would suggest to you are probably the finest cabinet ministers in the world now as a collection of ministers — but even all of his CEOs that he is chairman of, he affords them the time, he’s in the details, he cares and he always asks, ‘How about the staff? ‘How is everyone doing, how is the team?’ ‘Send them my best.”

Inzerillo said: “His empathy, his dedication and his time that he gives us is really remarkable for all of his responsibilities.”

Inzerillo became CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority in June 2018, and in four months marks the six-year anniversary of his appointment.

He said that it has been a privilege to serve the Kingdom as DGDA CEO, highlighting his pride to work with what he describes as “super people” — young Saudis and expats from all around the world who he said were helping to achieve the mission of 2030.

“I think back and I think what a privilege it has been,” he said.

“Diriyah has always been special, it lives in the heart of every Saudi, it is the source of our national pride, it is the source of our identity as a people, it’s where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia originated.

“(Diriyah) is not only the birthplace of the Kingdom and of the Arabian Peninsula, but it is the home of Al-Saud, one great family that with vision and perseverance in unity has kept the Kingdom together for over 300 years.”

The CEO outlined what the future holds for the Diriyah Gate Development Authority.

“This year — hotel openings, museums openings, more parks opening, you know, many different types of assets opening. So every year, every December, like we did December 2021, December 2022 to December 2023, and December 2024, we will have assets open, groundbreaking new assets and announcing new assets until it culminates in the fabulous Expo Riyadh 2030.”


How Imam Mohammed achieved tribal unity to create the First Saudi State

How Imam Mohammed achieved tribal unity to create the First Saudi State
Updated 21 February 2024
Follow

How Imam Mohammed achieved tribal unity to create the First Saudi State

How Imam Mohammed achieved tribal unity to create the First Saudi State
  • Saudi Arabia took the first steps on the road to nationhood in 1727 when Imam Mohammed became ruler of Diriyah
  • By the time of his death in 1765, he had laid the foundations for the greatest political entity central Arabia had ever seen

LONDON: The House of Saud took the first steps on the long road to nationhood in 1727, when Imam Mohammed bin Saud succeeded his cousin, Zaid bin Markhan, as ruler of the city state of Diriyah.

It is this pivotal moment, recognized as the date when the First Saudi State came into being, that is celebrated in the Kingdom on Feb. 22 each year as Founding Day.

Imam Mohammed had learned the art of politics at his father’s side. He played a significant role in supporting him throughout his reign and proved his mettle as a leader when Diriyah was attacked in 1721 by the Banu Khalid tribe of Al-Ahsa.

Imam Mohammed led his father’s forces to victory, strengthening Diriyah’s regional standing in the process.

After the death of his father in 1725, Imam Mohammed pledged his support to Markhan of the Watban clan of the tribe Zaid, and after he emerged victorious served him loyally until the prince’s short reign was ended by an assassin the following year.

From the outset, unity was Imam Mohammed’s dream, as the official history published by the Diriyah Gate Development Authority attests.

Contemporary Arab chroniclers recorded that “the people of Diriyah were fully confident in his abilities and (that) his leadership qualities (would) free the region of division and conflict.”

Imam Mohammed was already known for “his many personal characteristics, such as his devotion, goodness, bravery, and ability to influence others,” and the passing of power to him was “a transformative moment, not only in the history of Diriyah, but in the history of Najd and the Arabian Peninsula.”

Already renowned as a man of action, Imam Mohammed would also prove himself to be a wise leader.

Imam Mohammed set about the daunting task of achieving political unity among the tribes, with the ultimate aim of establishing a greater Arabian state. (Sotheby’s)

Imam Mohammed set about the daunting task of achieving political unity among the tribes, beginning with the neighboring towns of Najd, with the ultimate aim of establishing a greater Arabian state.

As the official history published by the Diriyah Gate Development Authority attests, “it wasn’t an easy task,” but by the time of his death in 1765, Imam Mohammed bin Saud had laid the foundations for the greatest political entity central Arabia had ever seen.

From the day of his ascension, “he began planning to change the prevailing status quo of that day and time, laying down a new path in the region’s history toward unity, education, the spread of culture, enhanced communication between members of society, and perpetual security.”

Over the next nine decades, the power and influence of Diriyah grew, as the great task of unity was handed on to Mohammed’s three successors — his son Abdulaziz, who would found the royal district of At-Turaif, Abdulaziz’s son Saud the Great, under whose direction the authority of the First Saudi State reached its peak, extending over most of the Arabian Peninsula and, upon his death in 1814, his son Abdullah, who was known to be great warrior.

But challenging the vast and aggressive Ottoman empire for control of Makkah and Madinah would prove to be Diriyah’s undoing. Imam Abdullah inherited the wrath of Istanbul, which dispatched a vast force to end the threat Diriyah posed to Ottoman authority in Arabia.

It took far longer than the Sultan could have imagined. Fighting a series of fierce battles over several years against impossible odds, the Arabs were slowly driven back from the Red Sea coast to their last stand before the walls of Diriyah.

After a six-month siege, Diriyah fell. Imam Abdullah was taken as a prisoner to Istanbul, where he was executed.

Undeterred, the Second Saudi State sprang up from the rubble of the first, this time in Riyadh — the ancient capital of the Hajer Al-Yamamah region, where it thrived from 1824 to 1891.

This, too, would fall.

But among the members of the family ousted from Riyadh in 1891 by the rival House of Rashid was the 16-year-old son of the last Imam of the Second Saudi State, a young man destined to take the last great step on the path upon which his predecessor Imam Mohammed had embarked generations before.

Above, warriors of Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud on camel back in Nejd, on their way to recapture Riyadh, c. 1910. (Alamy)

The story of how Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud and a small band of warriors recaptured Riyadh in 1902, restoring the House of Saud to its rightful home in the Nejd, is well known to every schoolchild in Saudi Arabia.

But Abdulaziz’s most remarkable achievement — the bringing together of the many tribes of Arabia to make possible the foundation in 1932 of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — would require decades of unwavering dedication to his ancestor’s vision of unity.

Today, familial attachment to one or other of the tribes rooted deep in the history of the Arabian Peninsula remains a source of great pride for many Saudis and their families, and part of the fabric of the country’s diverse but unifying heritage.

This was, however, not always the case, as John Duke Anthony, founding president and chief executive of the Washington-based National Council on US-Arab Relations, noted in 1982.

“For much of Arabian history, most of these tribes existed as independent political entities in microcosm,” he wrote in an essay “Saudi Arabia: From tribal state to nation-state.”

“As such, they were capable of uniting for common action. At the same time, however, they more often than not acted as divisive forces in any larger societal context.

“It was this latter characteristic as much as any other attribute that prompted the late King Abdulaziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, to seek a number of means by which he could integrate the various tribes into the new national political structure of the Kingdom.”

It was, added Anthony, “the religious content of Abdulaziz’s message as he set about knitting Arabia into a single state (that) proved to be his greatest source of strength.

Above, Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Saud in Kuwait, circa 1910. (Alamy)

“He was able to direct and control a strict adherence to Islamic doctrines and, in this manner, affect a significant modification of the tribal distinctions which formerly had divided the realm.”

In 2022, Hasan Massloom, a member of the Shoura Council of Saudi Arabia, wrote that in the modern Saudi Arabia tribalism complemented rather than contradicted the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 ambitions, which were unveiled to Saudi citizens and the world by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016.

“No discussion of social change is conceivable without acknowledging the tribal background of the society of Saudi Arabia,” Massloom wrote in an op-ed piece for Arab News.

“Tribalism in Arabia has existed for thousands of years, predating Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It was an independent, cohesive system for survival in the desert that provided social status, economic advantage and physical protection for its members.

“People of one tribe shared a common ancestry, a collective dignity and a coalesced reputation. Harsh life in the arid desert decreed a firm and binding moral bond among tribes to defend their progeny and possessions. Tribal history prided itself on social hierarchy, an obligation for vengeance and a deep commitment to territory, pasture and water wells.”

King Abdulaziz, he continued, had “tactfully pivoted the Arabian tribal scene toward his dream of a national kingdom when he persuaded hostile and fighting tribes to cast their conflicts aside and unite under his leadership to build a modern state.”

Indeed, Abdulaziz, the man known to the wider world simply as Ibn Saud, had completed the journey begun by the founding of the First Saudi State by Imam Mohammad in 1727.

On Jan. 27, 2022, Founding Day was established by a Royal Order of King Salman in recognition of this pivotal moment in the nation’s history, and to honor the wisdom of a leader who “provided unity and security in the Arabian Peninsula following centuries of fragmentation, dissension and instability.”


How Saudi artists and calligraphers interpret the significance of Founding Day

How Saudi artists and calligraphers interpret the significance of Founding Day
Updated 21 February 2024
Follow

How Saudi artists and calligraphers interpret the significance of Founding Day

How Saudi artists and calligraphers interpret the significance of Founding Day
  • Vision, hard work and dedication of leaders praised at exhibition to commemorate the founding of the First Saudi State
  • Saudi artists welcome opportunity to reflect on the values and principles that guide the nation and unite its people

RIYADH: In 1727, the foundation stones of the First Saudi State were placed by Imam Mohammed ibn Saud. Centuries later, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom is currently undergoing the most significant cultural renaissance in the modern Arab world.

Founding Day was first officially observed in 2022 and has become a great source of pride for Saudi Arabia’s citizens. With the holiday just around the corner, Saudi Arabia’s creatives took time to acknowledge the importance of commemorating such a momentous day.

For Ghofran Alsaeed, an interior designer and CEO of architect and design studio GWDESIGN, the annual celebration is a time to reflect on Saudi Arabia’s establishment and its significance in history.

“It allows us to honor the sacrifices and contributions of the nation’s founders, celebrate progress and achievements of Saudi Arabia, and reaffirm our commitment to the country’s development and prosperity. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the values and principles that guide the nation and unite its people,” she told Arab News.

Last year, Alsaeed celebrated by participating in community events, and spending time with her family making green rice and dressing in the national color. She plans to continue the tradition this year by attending official ceremonies and cultural events.

INNUMBER

* 1727 Foundation stones of First Saudi State laid by Imam Mohammed ibn Saud.

“As a Saudi, I feel immense pride and gratitude witnessing the growth and prosperity of the Kingdom since its establishment centuries ago. It’s a testament to the vision, hard work, and dedication of our leaders and people,” said Alsaeed.

“However, it also reminds us of our responsibility to continue contributing to the progress of our beloved country,” she added.

The Kingdom has been celebrating its traditions and heritage with events including Handicraft Week and annual date festivals throughout the country. Other events held are the equestrian Saudi Cup and national holidays including Flag Day on March 11 and Saudi National Day on Sept. 23.

Noha A. Raheem, a calligraphy artist and interior designer, believes these annual celebrations play a vital role in reminding citizens of their shared history.

“This fosters a sense of national pride, unity, and belonging, ultimately strengthening social cohesion and solidarity across the country,” she told Arab News.

As a creative, she feels immense pride in seeing the remarkable growth and prosperity achieved over the years on the economic and cultural fronts. This includes the Kingdom’s advancements in design, education, healthcare, infrastructure and technology, to becoming a global player in various industries.

“Commemorating founding day is important as it allows us to acknowledge and appreciate the struggles, sacrifices, and achievements,” she said.

Under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom is currently undergoing the largest cultural renaissance in the modern Arab world. (AN photo)

The founding day has a special place in designer Amar Alamdar’s heart because of his familial contributions in the third Saudi state. He shared that his grandfather, Khalid Mustafa Alamdar, served in King Abdulaziz’s first Saudi Army due to his knowledge on artillery.

“Founding Day is to bring the people together to create a foundation — unite them. Any Arab or Muslim living there at the time became Saudi Arabian,” he said.

His grandfather made sure that all his children, Alamdar’s uncles, also served in the army, carrying on the legacy of their family.

Alamdar said he wants to encourage his peers to create artwork that incorporates Saudi Arabia’s historical roots. “What if they were celebrating this day at the time? What would our elders have done?”

Alamdar plans to put on an art exhibition in honor of the day that started it all, featuring 22 Saudi artists.

Entrepreneur and designer Princess Nourah AlFaisal highlights the efforts of her research-based design consulting firm Adhlal. (AN photo)

“We have an obligation to platform the country’s rich history that dates back to the 18th century. We have a unique opportunity to show our heritage and our unique history that was sometimes even doubted.”

“God bless the times that we are living in now under King Salman and the crown prince in our movement towards technology and adaptation to the future (which) is a phenomenon,” Alamdar said.

“We used to run, then speed up, and now we have to learn to fly. We need this technology to empower ourselves as much as we can,” he added.

In addition, Alamdar advised young people to open up their arms and embrace people of every nation.


Discovering hidden treasures of Diriyah, jewel of Saudi Arabia

Discovering hidden treasures of Diriyah, jewel of Saudi Arabia
Updated 21 February 2024
Follow

Discovering hidden treasures of Diriyah, jewel of Saudi Arabia

Discovering hidden treasures of Diriyah, jewel of Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Rich in historical and cultural significance, Diriyah sparks the imagination and curiosity of travelers and history lovers.

At-Turaif, a historic district in Diriyah, northwest of Riyadh, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Diriyah is of great significance as the birthplace of the first Saudi state.

Filled with stories and legends, Diriyah offers a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved landmarks and architectural wonders.

Egyptian traveler Sara Hamed visited At-Turaif district and Diriyah on a winter night.

She told Arab News: “I learned that Saudi Arabia originated here, and it’s a fantastic site to begin your journey through the nation’s past.

Filled with stories and legends, Diriyah offers a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved landmarks and architectural wonders. (Supplied)

“I was fascinated by the section displaying traditional outerwear because I am interested in fashion, and I really enjoyed the exquisite museum that displayed historical and customary items belonging to well-known figures like Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud.”

Through ongoing revitalization efforts, Diriyah is becoming a cultural and tourism hub showcasing the best of Saudi Arabia’s heritage and innovation.

Eyup Yurtseven, from Turkiye, said: “Diriyah whispers history at every corner. Cobbled streets echo with memories of laughter shared with friends over steaming coffee, nestled within old-style buildings. For me, it’s more than a place; it’s a balm for the soul.

“Whenever stress claws at my days, I escape to Diriyah’s embrace. Palms sway gently, offering shade and whispered secrets to the wind. Oxygen-rich air washes away worry, replaced by the peace of being present.

“I can’t wait to witness the magic unfold, while forever cherishing the haven it already is,” he added.

When Kenda Nabeel, from Jeddah, first visited Diriyah, she was intrigued by the museum’s use of technology and the way it linked the past with the present.

She said: “The entire experience was wonderful and simple. I toured Salwa Palace, a historical site that captures a significant period in the Kingdom’s history by acting as a window looking out onto the first Saudi state’s founding.

The Attire of Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud in Diriyah Museum. (Supplied)

“Everything is very easily accessible, and I enjoy learning about the past. I particularly enjoyed the way information was delivered using unconventional technology, such as videos played on a projector. It was the best thing I could have found in Riyadh, combining elements of both history and the modern era.”

There are several museums in Diriyah, including the Museum of Traditional Architecture, Military Museum, Museum of Treasury (Beit Al-Maal), and the Horse Museum.

The Museum of Traditional Architecture features paintings that chronicle the history of the use of clay in construction, as well as the history of architecture and building in the Najd region, covering all phases of construction and their methods.

The Museum of Treasury showcases different currencies, trade techniques, as well as examples of generosity during the first Saudi state’s history and different kinds of endowments. There are also exhibits about the economic system utilized to run the affairs of Beit Al-Maal.

The stories of battles and defensive actions that took place in Diriyah throughout the first Saudi state’s existence are embodied in the Military Museum. Amid mud buildings, it showcases combat weaponry and related apparatus.

The Ardah troupe’s headquarters, located in Thunayan Bin Saud Palace’s northern square, is also part of the museum.

Some of the mud dwellings from the first Saudi state are now available to rent, allowing visitors to experience the intricacies of Diriyah’s past. The Social Life Museum offers a detailed insight into community life during the era.

The Arabian horse holds significant cultural value in the region, and the museum presents the history of Arabian horses during the first Saudi state, including information on their breeding, origins, and artifacts that belonged to the older knights.

The best time to visit Diriyah is during winter, from October to March, avoiding the summer heat. But it is becoming a year-round tourist destination with a full calendar of events and attractions.


Where to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day for an authentic experience

Where to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day for an authentic experience
Updated 6 sec ago
Follow

Where to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day for an authentic experience

Where to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s Founding Day for an authentic experience
  • From the historic avenues of Diriyah to the fare of Riyadh’s Najd Villages, visitors can celebrate local heritage
  • Discover Saudi Arabia’s hidden gems, showcasing the history and traditions of the Kingdom’s cities and regions

RIYADH: Every year on Feb. 22, Saudi Arabia celebrates the historical and cultural roots of the Kingdom through Founding Day, commemorating the establishment of the First Saudi State. What better way to celebrate Founding Day than by exploring the hidden gems that showcase the history and traditions of each city.

Bujairi Terrace and At-Turaif in Diriyah

Known as “The Jewel of the Kingdom,” Diriyah, the capital of the First Saudi State, dates back to the mid-ninth century.

Situated in Diriyah, Bujairi Terrace provides exceptional views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif.

Inspired by Najdi architecture to evoke images of the past, Bujairi Terrace in Diriyah is the ideal spot for celebrations, offering visitors a curated Michelin-star gastronomic experience and a variety of interactive activities and events.

Surrounded by mud-brick Najdi architecture, guests are treated to over 20 fine-dining restaurants featuring Saudi and international cuisine.

The prominent citadel of Salwa Palace, made from handmade mud bricks three centuries in the historic At-Turaif district, the first capital of the Saudi dynasty, was illuminated on Dec. 4 with a spectacular light display in celebration of its opening to the public. (Supplied)

Layali Diriyah

Returning for its second year and running until March 10, Layali Diriyah is an open-air heritage farm bridging local and contemporary dining experiences, making it an ideal location for celebrating Founding Day.

Surrounded by palm trees and twinkling lights, Layali Diriyah takes a modern twist on a traditional Najdi farm, transforming it into an entertainment hub featuring live musical performances and poetry shows.

Guests can also enjoy the beauty of the palm trees surrounding the farm while dining and experiencing a range of contemporary art by local and global artists.

Azeema, one of the restaurants at Layali Diriyah, offers traditional Saudi cuisine. (Supplied)

Najd Village, Riyadh

For those craving the authentic Saudi flavor in honor of Founding Day, Najd Village specializes in regional cuisine, with each dish highlighting the heritage of a specific region.

There are two Najd Villages operating in Riyadh: one is situated on Takhassoussi Road, and the other is on Abu Bakr Road. The restaurant serves a family-style menu of traditional dishes like jareesh or kasbah, accompanied by fish, chicken, lamb, and camel meat.

For those with a sweet tooth, the restaurant offers a range of traditional desserts and snacks, including hininy, mrahif, and kleija.

Najd Village specializes in regional cuisine, with each dish highlighting the heritage of a specific region. (Supplied)

 

Ithra, Dhahran

A celebration of history through musical performances, educational exhibitions, and hands-on labs, Ithra, known as the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran, offers a range of festivities to celebrate Founding Day.

The Ithra Museum is home to five galleries, featuring artworks and installations by local and international artists covering Middle Eastern Art, Saudi culture, Islamic art, the natural history of the Arabian Peninsula, and the Archive gallery.

Ithra also offers interactive classes and workshops in the Children’s Museum.

The state-of-the-art building includes a library, theater, cinema, ideas lab, and a variety of restaurants for dining.

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Also known as Ithra) is a symbol of change and diversity in modern Saudi Arabia.  (Supplied) 

Al-Balad, Jeddah

Al-Balad, also known as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jeddah, is an ideal spot for families and tourists looking to explore the customs of the historical city.

Located in the heart of Historic Jeddah, Al-Balad Bazaar celebrates the traditions and culture of Jeddah by showcasing homemade products, traditional clothing, and handicrafts in over 30 commercial outlets.

The Bazaar is part of significant efforts made by the Historic Jeddah Program to revive Saudi cultural heritage and promote the city’s status as a premier tourist destination.

The year-long Al-Balad Bazaar supports the community by providing them with retail pop-up outlets to showcase their products to visitors.

Another not-to-be-missed event taking place in Jeddah is the “Balad Al-Fann” initiative, launched by the Historic Jeddah Program.

Running until March 9, the initiative includes four art exhibitions, music programs, theatrical performances, and many interactive events for children.

Al-Balad also known as Historic Jeddah is one of the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is an ideal spot for families and tourists looking to shop at the Al-Balad Bazaar, held in a special location in the heart of Historic Jeddah. (Supplied)

Tayebat Museum, Jeddah

Al-Tayebat International City of Science and Knowledge, located in Jeddah’s Al-Faisaliyah district, offers visitors a curated representation of Jeddah’s 2,500-year-old history through detailed walking tours showcasing the city’s architecture, Islamic heritage, and culture.

Highlighting an extraordinary range of exhibits, including museums and houses, Al-Tayebat is billed as a must-see location in Jeddah.

Bringing pre-Islamic and Islamic history to life across 300 rooms in 12 buildings, the museum includes the House of Saudi Arabian Heritage, the House of Islamic Heritage, the House of International Heritage, and the public heritage exhibition.