As part of the transformational Vision 2030 agenda, Diriyah, the historic heart of Saudi Arabia, is undergoing a historic redevelopment that embodies the modern Kingdom
The birthplace of a Kingdom, the Wadi that nurtured a people and a symbol of national pride, Diriyah, the historic heart of Saudi Arabia, is undergoing a historic redevelopment that redefines urban planning, cultural tourism and quality of life.
Fifteen minutes from the Saudi capital of Riyadh lies Wadi Hanifah, which in 1727 was the setting for the founding of the first Saudi state. Abundant in flora and fauna, a rare sanctuary from the desert heat, it is at the core of Saudi identity and where many of the roots of the modern Kingdom can be found.
As part of the transformational Vision 2030 agenda, under the guidance of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Crown Prince and Prime Minister His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, aS$63.2 billion, 14 square-kilometre masterplan is forging a global cultural gathering place unrivalled on the Arabian Peninsula.
A UNIQUE DESTINATION
In 2017, the Diriyah Gate Development Authority was established to deliver a destination that marries world-leading hospitality, renowned international cuisine, exclusive retail and best-in-class residential assets. It offers a quality of life and visitor experience that will redefine luxury and cultural immersion.
Featuring evolved Najdi architecture, the city reimagines brands and experiences, offering a deep connection to heritage unique in modern urban development. Inspired by the design of the At-Turaif district, the UNESCO World Heritage Site inscribed since 2010 that forms the core of the project, Diriyah harnesses the power of heritage to deliver sustainable, human-centred living in a city that puts quality of life and community first. Walkable, self-contained districts that embrace the natural environment, with a series of parks and open spaces, engender community and remove the need for cars, preserving the beautiful natural environment that first made Diriyah so important.
Welcoming visitors since November 2022, Diriyah has already launched two renowned destinations. First, the At-Turaif district, the ancestral seat of the House of Al Saud and a preeminent symbol of the nation’s history. The second is Bujairi Terrace. Bringing together culinary offerings from around the world, it is home to more than 20 Saudi and international restaurants. Bringing together local cuisine with the best of worldwide gastronomy, it has already established a reputation as one of the Middle East’s greatest dining destinations.
THE WORLD’S MEETING POINT
A global gathering place, Diriyah welcomes the world for headline events. From Saudi Arabia’s first Contemporary Art Biennale and the Saudi Design Festival to Diriyah Season, Tennis Cup, Equestrian Festival and Formula E, the city has become a hub for the cultural and sporting worlds.
A Saudi Public Investment Fund gigaproject, Diriyah represents a formidable investment in the Kingdom’s future and demonstrates the transformative nature of Vision 2030. As the country diversifies and grows its economy, tourism will contribute more than 10% to its gross domestic product by the decade’s end. With 100 million people expected to visit the Kingdom annually, Diriyah will welcome approximately 27 million of those visitors. With more than a million visitors just six months after opening its first two assets, Diriyah is establishing a reputation as a leading cultural and heritage destination.
Further contributing to Vision 2030, Diriyah is at the forefront of Saudi talent elevation. With almost 86% of Diriyah staff being Saudi and 14% Diriyah locals, the project is a leading example of the potential that tourism investment, urban development and historical rediscovery can offer. Female empowerment, a core pillar of the Vision 2030 strategy, is also at the forefront of the project’s contribution. The gigaproject is another powerful example of Saudi societal development, with women accounting for 36% of staff and 16% holding management roles within the Diriyah Company.
The commitment of DGDA and the Diriyah Company to drive social change is recognised throughout the implementation of its masterplan. Most recently, in 2022, Diriyah was ranked for the second year running in the Top 10 “Best Places to Work in Saudi Arabia” and was also named the “Best Place to Work” in Asia. Recognition like this reflects the supportive, motivated and people-centred work environment that drives work daily.
Guided by the huge pride Saudis hold for Diriyah, the best minds from across Saudi Arabia and the world have been brought together to form an impressive team working hard to deliver this historic development.
Once complete, Diriyah will have created more than 55,000 permanent jobs and will contribute around $7.2 billion to the Kingdom’s GDP. For the entire team at Diriyah, there is immense pride in welcoming the world to this iconic historical site, for the first time. As the project progresses, it celebrates and showcases all that Saudi culture offers. Unrivalled in scale and ambition, Diriyah’s almost three centuries long legacy symbolises Saudi resilience and growth. Diriyah, the City of Earth, is a true embodiment of the modern Kingdom.