Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Saudi capital Riyadh cannot be characterized by one specific feature. It will soon be an international financial destination after the completion of the King Abdullah Financial District that will regulate the economic process within the country on the one hand and will attract the international economy and act as a meeting place for various politicians and important figures on the other hand.
Riyadh has also taken an interest in popular, traditional and cultural inheritance as the National Festival for Heritage and Culture that is organized by Riyadh with the participation of all Saudi regions is held annually in Al Janadriyah.
The thriving Saudi capital considers all fields in terms of development and has, for example, developed Wadi Hanifah Restoration, one of the city’s most important environmental projects.
The Foundation of International Awards for Livable Communities [Livcom] based in the United Kingdom awarded Riyadh for its development in the various sectors of planning, recreation, environment, and built projects in 2007. It was the ninth city to be presented these awards.
Out of 260 nominated cities for comprehensive strategic planning, the Saudi capital Riyadh ranked second. The King Abdulaziz Historical Centre situated in the heart of the city was awarded the first place gold award in the category of Built Projects, whilst Wadi Hanifah Restoration was awarded second place gold award in the Natural Projects category and Salam Park was presented the Bronze Award in the same category.
The High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh, headed by Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz, the Governor of Riyadh, considers itself the “drive” behind the urban boom that the city has witnessed.
On April 17, 2007, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz inaugurated 1,800 development projects in Riyadh amounting to 120 billion Saudi Riyals (approximately $32 billion US). These projects were planned for the fields of health, education, housing, roads, environment, water, electricity, sewerage, telecommunications, public services, private and public economy and development.
The results of these new projects in Riyadh can only be apprehended from a birds eye view from which one can see that the details of extensive planning of the city have been divided in a pre-planned and practical manner.
Close to the capital is the historical governorate of Diriyah, which constitutes an important political and historical part of the kingdom’s history. This historical governorate is undergoing a development project that aims to transform it into a cultural and tourist hub on the national level in light of its historical, cultural, urban and environmental characteristics. This will be achieved by repairing and refurbishing monumental sites, establishing traditional cultural institutions and providing necessary services to launch tourist, cultural and recreational activity, according to Al al Sheikh who pointed out that the fundamental stage of this project would encompass the districts of al Tarif and al Bejiri, as well as crossroads, car parks and public utilities.
The most significant monumental sites that exist in the al Tarif district of Diriyah include Salwa Palace, Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Mosque, in addition to a number of palaces and houses, mosques, wells, and walls as well as endowment and public utility establishments.