The Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT) has begun a vital project to develop the historic area of Diriyah into a major cultural and tourist center, the Arab News reported today. The project is being undertaken in association with the Riyadh Development Authority.
The walled city of Diriyah, which lies 20 miles outside Riyadh, is the ancestral home of the Al-Saud family and the first capital of the Saudi state.
SCT Secretary-General Prince Sultan bin Salman visited Diriyah February 3 to inspect progress at the site.
“This project reflects the government’s keenness to preserve and develop historical places in the Kingdom,” Prince Sultan said, as quoted in the Arab News. The prince added that Riyadh Governor Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, who is chairman of the Riyadh Development Authority, had made the project a high priority.
Prince Sultan said that the SCT would participate in the implementation of every phase of the project, including the transformation of the old Government Palace (Qasr Al-Hokm) and other institutions into a museum. Businessmen are encouraged to invest in the area and promote Diriyah as a major tourist attraction, he said.
Diriyah has already undergone a major restoration project as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to preserve its historic sites and safeguard its architectural heritage. Other major restoration projects have included the ancient sites of Fau, Madain Saleh, Al-Ula, Tayma, Duma and along the Darb Zubaydah, the pilgrimage road to Makkah.