After undergoing a decade-long restoration period, Saudi Arabia’s most significant historical site Diriyah, will be re-opening its doors to the public. Starting on Dec. 4, visitors would get to witness the recently restored mud-brick palaces and houses of this thousand-year-old city.
The Importance of Diriyah
Sitting along the outskirts of Riyadh is the city of Diriyah, known as the stepping stone that propelled Saudi Arabia into the unified Kingdom we know today. Back in 1727, Diriyah was named the country’s capital with its most prominent district being At-Turaif home to Salwa Palace which was built for the first-ever ruler of the first Saudi State, Mohammed ibn Saud. Within the walls of that very palace, talks and discussions were made that led to the official development of the first Saudi State in 1744 CE. Since that time, the palace became the official royal residence for the kingdom’s monarchs.
Back at that time, this special city was built from adobe mud as well as other natural materials and was populated by courtyards, alleyways, and towers that exemplify Saudi’s old architecture. To revive and bring back Saudi’s rich history, Diriyah became an official UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 when the restoration process officially began taking place.
What to Expect at the Re-Opening
At the special re-opening, visitors will get to take part in guided walking tours of At-Turaif. They will also get to take a glimpse into what life was like back in the 1700s through elaborate theatrical performances. Beyond that, there is an entire events calendar set up including Arabian horse shows, calligraphy workshops as well as traditional coffee experiences.
During the visit, guests will not just witness Saudi’s past, they will also be able to enjoy the country’s current modernity by dining at several spots including Brunch & Cake, Angelina’s, Hakkasan, and Sarabeth’s. There are also plans to open up 38 global luxury hotels along the historic city making it a new hub for hospitality and luxury.
If you are planning on visiting this special city, you can take a virtual tour of what to expect at At-Turaif by opening the Diriyah Gate Development Authority website and exploring each of its special monuments including the Prince Omar Bin Saud Palace and the Military Museum.