Saudi Focus

King Salman lays the foundation stone for Diriyah Gate Project.

King Salman lays the foundation stone for Diriyah Gate Project.

King launches $17bn Diriyah Gate Project

December 2019

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud last month patronised the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the SR64-billion ($17 billion) Diriyah Gate Project.

 The project aims to restore the historical area to its ancient glory in the 18th century in order for the site to become a local and international tourist destination.

Diriyah Gate Development Authority’s plans for the project reveal its aim to make it a historical, cultural and tourist destination of international level; and to tell the story of the homeland since the founding of the first Saudi state to generations. Diriyah was established on the banks of Wadi Hanifa in 1446 (850 Hijri).

The masterplan of the Diriyah Gate Project aims to build a traditional mixed-use urban community that celebrates the rich cultural history of Saudi Arabia, covering an area of 7 sq km. The scheme provides five distinct places for gathering and exploration, including:

• King Salman Square – located on the northern side of the site, it represents the largest gathering area in the Gate of Diriyah;

• Samhan Amphitheatre – located halfway along the cliff, next to Al Tagzeah area on the west side of the Diriyah Gate;

• Monument Square of the Kingdom’s heroes – located in the middle of the Diriyah Gate to link between the east and west of the Gate and adjacent to the new lifestyles area.

• Al-Masjid Square – which represents the access point to King Salman Mosque.

•  The historic village square – located at the southern end of the historical village. Places, streets, gates, towers and squares will be given names inspired by famous historical figures, kings and heroes to celebrate their ancient heritage.

 The project will have six museums, including Museum of Al Saud House, Museum of the Saudi State and the Arabian Peninsula; Museum of Hundred Story Journey, which will enable visitors and residents to interact with the stories of the kingdom’s history and cultures across various sites and through real-world and electronic experiences; Diriyah Center for Arts; Digital Arts Museum; and Misk Heritage Museum, an educational institution that aims to stimulate the interest of the next generation in the history and heritage of the kingdom.

 The masterplan also includes the Arts Zone: five academies will be established within the zone to provide learning opportunities covering Arabic calligraphy, Islamic arts, Najd architecture, clay buildings, Najd culinary arts, and Arab theatre and music.

 The Gate also includes restaurants, shopping areas, and recreational and sporting sites. The recreational area has a capacity of 15,000 seats for concerts, art evenings, international sporting events and many more, while Samhan Open Amphitheatre will host outdoor shows and events. It will also have four sports and leisure centres including the traditional sports centre, shooting field, sports stadiums and Formula E track.

 The plan also envisages 20 international hotels offering 3,100 luxury hotel rooms.

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