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Diriyah ... the center of national heritage
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 05 - 11 - 2016

DIRIYAH Governorate has special national significance to Saudis because it was at some point of history the capital of the first Saudi state and the main seat of the government and the center of education.
It was the main commercial route linking eastern part of the Peninsula with its western part, Al-Riyadh daily reported. It was also one of the main routes for pilgrims who wanted to travel to Makkah to perform pilgrimage.
Founded in the 15th century, its political, military and religious influence increased after its governor Imam Muhammad Bin Saud, the founder of the first Saudi state, supported Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdulwahab, the well-known reviver of Islam. Diriyah was also the center of knowledge and students from all over the world traveled to Diriyah searching for proper Islamic knowledge. Today, Diriyah has become a modern city, thanks to the fast sweeping developments introduced to it. Visitors all over the world come to Diriyah to enjoy watching its heritage and cultural sites.
Towns
As a governorate, Diriyah is comprised of several towns and neighborhoods such as Al-Turaif neighborhood, located south-west to Diriyah. It is surrounded by a wall and overlooks the entire Diriyah. It has Al Saud Palace. Ghosaibah used to be the main neighborhood of old Diriyah while Al-Suraiha had the homes of dignitary and notable figures.
Heritage sites
There are many archeological sites which reflect the significance of Diriyah such as Salwa Palace, the foundation of which was laid by Imam Muhammad Bin Saud. The palace was the seat of government; it is where the affairs of the state were being run. Al-Bujairi neighborhood, located east of Diriyah, has Imam Muhammad Bin Abdulwahab Mosque, school and home. It has a number of small mosques that played a role in spreading knowledge in the Peninsula. Al-Turaif neighborhood consists of several palaces constructed during the era of the first Saudi state such as Al-Fasasima Palace.
Development
The Diriyah Development Project was ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to renovate and preserve Diriyah and its significant national heritage. Al-Turaif neighborhood was given special priority because of its unique Najdi architecture style and was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, thanks to the effort of Prince Sultan Bin Salman, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.
The commission also worked on developed Al-Bujairi neighborhood, considered to be the main gateway to Historical Diriyah. The neighborhood's center area was developed to accommodate more visitors as the neighborhood has more than 30 shops and cafés in addition to a park located between Al-Turaif and Al-Bujairi. Parking lots were built for visitors.


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