Discovering hidden treasures of Diriyah, jewel of Saudi Arabia

Discovering hidden treasures of Diriyah, jewel of Saudi Arabia
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Filled with stories and legends, Diriyah offers a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved landmarks and architectural wonders. (Supplied)
Discovering hidden treasures of Diriyah, jewel of Saudi Arabia
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The Attire of Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud in Diriyah Museum. (Supplied)
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Updated 21 February 2024
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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.


Harvard witnesses graduation of 60 Saudi students from elite US universities

Harvard witnesses graduation of 60 Saudi students from elite US universities
Updated 9 sec ago
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Harvard witnesses graduation of 60 Saudi students from elite US universities

Harvard witnesses graduation of 60 Saudi students from elite US universities

RIYADH: The Saudi Club at Harvard University recently organized a graduation ceremony for Saudi graduates from Harvard University, MIT, Boston University, and Tufts University.

The event took place on Harvard’s campus in Boston and was attended by Mohammed Khashaan, director of the public diplomacy department at the Saudi Embassy in the US, Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the ceremony, Khashaan said that the distinguished Saudi students are graduating in light of the transformations occurring under Saudi Vision 2030.

He highlighted the investment in the nation’s talented individuals, and said that the Kingdom is experiencing economic, industrial, and environmental growth, accompanied by renewed opportunities for its citizens to pursue their dreams, and contribute to building the future of the nation and the world.

Additionally, US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Michael Ratney, delivered a recorded speech in which he congratulated the graduating students and thanked the Saudi Club for organizing the event to celebrate their achievements.

“I have been in Saudi Arabia for only a year, and the professional and personal opportunities here have never been greater. Your country is rich in resources, but its most valuable asset is its human capabilities,” Ratney said.

He also highlighted the diversity he has observed in various fields, from filmmaking to video game development and space travel, and expressed his happiness at witnessing this growth.


Saudi Arabia appoints new envoy to Syria

Saudi Arabia appoints new envoy to Syria
Updated 2 min 4 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia appoints new envoy to Syria

Saudi Arabia appoints new envoy to Syria

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has appointed Faisal Al-Mujfel as the kingdom's new ambassdor to Syria, the Saudi Press Agency said. 

"The honored ambassador extends his thanks to the leadership on the occasion of his appointment as Ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic," SPA said.


Elderly Indonesian pilgrims enjoy easier Hajj journey with Makkah Route Initiative

Elderly Indonesian pilgrims enjoy easier Hajj journey with Makkah Route Initiative
Updated 6 min 52 sec ago
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Elderly Indonesian pilgrims enjoy easier Hajj journey with Makkah Route Initiative

Elderly Indonesian pilgrims enjoy easier Hajj journey with Makkah Route Initiative

RIYADH: The Makkah Route Initiative implemented by the Ministry of Interior at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia, is providing exceptional services to Indonesian pilgrims, ensuring a smooth and comfortable Hajj journey.

Elderly pilgrims have expressed gratitude for the ease of procedures, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

Siti Munasaru, a 69-year-old pilgrim from Tangerang, said she appreciates the ease with which Hajj procedures are carried out, and expressed deep gratitude to Saudi Arabia and those responsible for the initiative.

Suwatini Binti Amat, a 68-year-old pilgrim from Purworejo, Central Java, thanked the Kingdom for the services provided to pilgrims, and stressed that the Makkah Route Initiative has greatly relieved the hardships faced during traditional travel, particularly for elderly pilgrims, making their Hajj journey more comfortable and safer.

The Makkah Route Initiative has reduced waiting times, and made the trip to the holy land more convenient.

It reflects the strong collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, and underscores the commitment to provide excellent services to pilgrims, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Services include the issuing of electronic Hajj visas, biometric data collection, completion of passport procedures in specialized lounges at departure airports, ensuring health requirements are met, and efficient luggage tagging and sorting. After arrival in the Kingdom, pathways are assigned, and partner agencies ensure hassle-free delivery of pilgrims’ luggage to their accommodation.


MoU signed to revive cultural sites in Saudi Arabia

MoU signed to revive cultural sites in Saudi Arabia
Updated 1 min 41 sec ago
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MoU signed to revive cultural sites in Saudi Arabia

MoU signed to revive cultural sites in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Heritage Commission and ASFAR, Saudi Arabia’s tourism investment company fully owned by the Public Investment Fund, signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance visitor experience at cultural heritage sites in the Kingdom.

Heritage Commission CEO Jasser Al-Harbash and ASFAR CEO Fahad bin Mushayt attended the signing, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

The agreement aims to improve operational efficiency, enhance cooperation, develop plans, refine designs, and establish operational models for heritage sites across Saudi Arabia.

The commission highlighted the importance of partnerships in its commitment to developing the national heritage and archaeology sector, aligning with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030.

ASFAR plays a crucial role in shaping the Kingdom’s tourism sector through investments in tourist destinations, historical and cultural sites, SPA said.

The company aims to raise the prominence of Saudi cities on the tourism map by collaborating with public and private sectors.


Young volunteers serve Iraqi pilgrims at Arar border

Young volunteers serve Iraqi pilgrims at Arar border
Updated 26 May 2024
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Young volunteers serve Iraqi pilgrims at Arar border

Young volunteers serve Iraqi pilgrims at Arar border

RIYADH: The spirit of volunteerism thrives in the Northern Borders region, where young men and women play an important role in welcoming pilgrims arriving from Iraq through the Jadidat Arar border crossing.

More than 80 volunteers affiliated with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, Northern Border University, the Saudi Red Crescent, the Arar Chamber of Commerce and other organizations, have stepped up to serve the pilgrims.

Their dedication has been evident since the arrival of the first groups of pilgrims, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday.

Tasks include assisting the elderly, providing guidance and hospitality in the designated pilgrim city, and helping with entry procedures and basic health-related tasks, such as taking vital signs.

Several volunteers, some with years of experience, expressed the deep sense of fulfillment that comes from giving back. They view their service as a way to honor their faith, serve their country, and contribute to a smooth and comfortable pilgrim experience.

They also commended government agencies for making their tasks simpler by creating a seamless and flexible work environment.