The Diriyah Gate: What to know about Saudi Arabia's historic city development project

PHOTO: Unsplash

Renewed as Saudi Arabia’s historic development city project, the SAR 64 billion (S$88.2 billion) project known as the Diriyah Gate project will showcase the kingdom’s rich culture and history by delivering unique, inspiring heritage experiences, educational and cultural opportunities, world-class residential living, and outstanding lifestyle offerings, including shopping, entertainment, and dining experiences.

The historic city of Diriyah, located just 20 minutes northwest of Riyadh’s city centre, will become one of the world’s most prestigious lifestyle destinations for hospitality, retail, and education, as well as one of the world’s great gathering places.

Moreover, the At-Turaif Unesco World Heritage Site, an iconic mud-brick city, and the home of the First House of the Al Saud family and the capital of the First Saudi State are at the heart of the development, preserved and restored for the future generations.

Diriyah Gate project objectives

Saudi Arabia’s historic development city project, the Diriyah Gate project currently has four objectives as stated on the Vision 2030 website:

  • Objective 1 – Preserving and protecting the historic Unesco site of At-Turaif and promoting Arab and national heritage, both locally and internationally, by creating an iconic lifestyle destination through inspiring experiences that celebrate Saudi Arabian culture.
  • Objective 2 – Serving the local community through a multitude of initiatives designed to incubate an ecosystem of inspiration and empowerment, with improved employment opportunities, standards of quality of living for residents.
  • Objective 3 – Contributing to enhancing the awareness of the kingdom as a tourist, cultural and leisure destination by activating heritage assets, hosting world-class cultural and entertainment events to grow local and international visitors.
  • Objective 4 – Ensuring financial sustainability without compromising the preservation of culture and heritage.

Diriyah Gate project experiences

Exploring the historic destination

Besides contributing to Vision 2030, the Dirayah project will also offer enough opportunities for tourists and residents to explore the destination.

They can take a stroll on the three-kilometre escarpment walk overlooking Wadi Hanifah or explore themed tourist trails connecting Diriyah’s districts.

Moreover, the project will reveal five iconic gathering places, including King Salman Square and the Heroes Memorial Plaza.

The restoration of the historic Wadi Hanifah will include beautifying and enhancing the historic palm groves and farms and providing new walking trails and picnic areas for the community to enjoy.

Featuring world-class academies and institutes

The Diriyah Development Project will provide several opportunities for its visitors to learn and get inspired. As an emphasis on the heritage, culture, and arts of Saudi Arabia, the Diriyah Development will offer several world-class academies, institutes, and the King Salman University.

Cultural institutes specialising in Najdi architecture and mud-brick building, poetry, falconry, the teachings of Islam, local theatre, dance, music and culinary arts will also be featured.

A dining experience surrounded by culture and history

The Diriyah Square, situated at the heart of the project, will provide world-class lifestyle retail, leisure and entertainment options. As a new lifestyle experience in the kingdom, Diriyah’s retail offerings will combine iconic global brands with traditional artisan shops and souks, set amidst an authentic Najdi village atmosphere.

With more than 100 restaurants, Diriyah will offer both local and international cuisine with casual and fine dining experiences in various settings, from urban squares to wadi vistas.

The Bujairi Dining Precinct

PHOTO: Diriyah Gate Development Authority

As the first premier and authentic dining destination in Diriyah, the Bujairi Dining Precinct also hosts international scale events, such as Formula-E and Diriyah Seasons.

Bujairi aims to provide world-class dining in an authentic setting to international visitors.The Bujairi Dining Precinct will also be the first lively fine-dining setting that benefits from exceptional views over At-Turaif, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Visitors can look forward to some of the unique and unparalleled experiences that are going to be provided by the Bujairi Dining Precinct, including:

The Boulevard

A bustling place filled with activities that accentuate its role as the central food theatre, the Boulevard is the backbone of the Bujairi Dining Precinct. Moreover, the area will also offer direct views of the Event Plaza and At-Turaif World Heritage Site.

The Gallery

A premium outdoor and indoor dining location with exclusive VIP Valet access, the Gallery acts as the host of year-round fine dining offerings enriched with dedicated art and culture spaces.

The Event Plaza

Home to iconic and inspiring performances and events, the Event Plaza will be the recognisable core of the Bujairi Dining Precinct.

Wadi Walk

The Wadi Walk and its breathtaking views of At-Turaif will serve as the main attraction of the Bujairi Dining Precinct.

The Amphitheatre

The Amphitheatre is a remarkable open-air performance space adjacent to At-Turaif that will host outdoor screenings and live entertainment.

Get a taste of authentic Saudi hospitality

Set against a backdrop of mesmerising surroundings with unique hotels, integrated resorts, branded residences, and venues, the development will offer visitors a variety of premium and luxurious guest experiences.

Samhan Heritage Hotel

Situated amongst the natural beauty of Bujairi and Wadi Hanifah, the Samhan Heritage Hotel is a natural palm grove.

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Ready to welcome guests across 141 guestrooms and suites, the Samhan Hotel is established in a Najdi style and featuring traditional interiors.

The architecture and interiors employ traditional timber ceilings, adobe material finishes, and conventional Najdi patterns reflected in the walls, windows, doors, and fabric patterns of the hotel’s rooms.

The Samhan Heritage Hotel thus allows visitors to experience the kingdom’s rich past elements by walking around the hotel’s passages and courtyards.

Make sure to visit the Unesco World Heritage Site of At-Turaif, a five-minute walk away from the hotel, on your visit.

The most walkable neighbourhood

Lodged within Riyadh’s most walkable city, thoughtful community living, and within highly walkable traditional Najdi streetscapes, Diriyah is set to deliver a real-life experience of luxury lifestyle retail, breathtaking dining experiences, entertainment events and activated outdoor spaces.

Moreover, luxury residences, consisting of traditionally styled apartments, courtyard villas and townhouses, will also be developed, keeping in mind the latest international and local sustainable standards of 21st-century living.

Modern workplaces with an authentic touch

Immersed in the authentic Saudi experience from the past, the Diriyah community will provide unprecedented luxuries for professional and creative workers alike.

Providing easy access to a range of traditionally styled residences, dining, hotels, lifestyle retail and cultural attractions, the community and working environment will encourage wellness and an energetic atmosphere.

This article was first published in Wego.