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World Heritage Site Al-Dariya being restored
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 03 - 08 - 2011

Al-Dariya village's ancient palaces and its Al-Turaif district are currently being restored to receive tourists.
Last year, Al-Dariya was recognized as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Madain Saleh, located in Al-Ola in the Madina region, is the only other site in the Kingdom recognized as such by the UNESCO.
As soon as UNESCO announced its approval, renovation and rehabilitation started on houses, mosques, roads, schools and walled areas. Work is being carried out in three main phases: Al-Turaif and Al-Bujairi districts, roads, and public facilities.
Al-Turaif, overlooking Hanifa Valley, has high buildings, wide routes, multi-floor palaces such as Salwa, Saad Bin Saud, Naser Bin Saud and the traditional guest palace, in addition to Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Mosque. The district is surrounded by a thick wall which has high towers with small openings which were used for monitoring and protection.
Al-Turaif district's buildings are made of clay, and are constructed in a unique architectural style using innovative ornaments. They are built on the Najdi style using clay and stone, tamarisk tree trunks and palm leaves. The rehabilitation and restoration works are being carried out in accordance with UNESCO's standards on the protection of cultural heritage sites.
The work is being done at four levels: restoring all buildings; rehabilitating buildings for use as museums or administrative buildings, renovating the remains of historic buildings; and restoring the fronts of buildings overlooking routes and passageways.
Some of the sites at the village are being excavated to reach the original foundation.
Along with the development project of Historic Al-Dariya, the High Commission for the Development of Riyadh will set up five museums in the village. At Salwa Palace, a museum will be set up displaying documentaries and presentations showing the history of the First Saudi State (1744) and the palace itself, in addition to displaying heritage items. The second museum to be set up will be on the history of social life in Al-Dariya, displaying aspects of the customs and traditions of that time and including an exhibition on clay construction.
The third museum will be on weapons and historic wars. Another independent museum will be set up at Thunaiyan Bin Saud Palace where visitors can learn about the defensive situation of Al-Dariya in the old days.


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