RIYADH – Saudi-based Diriyah Gate
Development Authority (DGDA) unveiled a masterplan for the 7.1 million sqm mega
project in Diriyah, a historical town located in the western outskirts of
capital Riyadh, last week.
Developer DGDA’s CEO Jerry Inzerillo said
the project will include key components such as the world’s largest Islamic
museum, restoration of the historic Wadi Hanifa, which will include the
planting of more than one million indigenous Diriyah date trees, and see the Wadi
Safar transformed into a residential and hospitality district.
Diriyah is considered one of the kingdom’s
most important historical sites and the capital of the first Saudi state, and
is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of At Turaif, a mud-brick city that
stands as the birthplace of the first Saudi state.
“With hospitality, leisure and
entertainment assets in our development plans, we’re hoping to attract millions
of tourists who will fall in love with Diriyah,” Inzerillo added.
Construction on the project will begin
next month following the approval of three detailed plans for the development
of Diriyah by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
This will see Diriyah undergoing
restoration works as well as the development of museums, academic institutions
and edutainment facilities, as well as resorts, restaurants, wellness
facilities and high-end retail outlets.
The kingdom is also in the midst of a development boom with at least
three other large-scale tourism projects such as a futuristic metropolis at
NEOM in the northwest, the Qiddiya leisure resort near Riyadh and the 28,000 sq
km Red Sea project that includes lagoons, archipelagos, canyons and volcanic
geology on the Kingdom’s west coast.