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Saudi’s Diriyah Gate ramps up tourism and arts & culture plans with new projects

Article-Saudi’s Diriyah Gate ramps up tourism and arts & culture plans with new projects

Diriyah Gate Project
In a bid to ramp up its tourism offering in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, KSA’s giga-project Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) is set to launch the world’s first educational digital arts centre and transform Wadi Hanifah into a nature haven.


Launched at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) exhibition at Dubai’s World Trade Centre, DGDA announced that it would launch the Diriyah Art Futures – a joint project with KSA’s Ministry of Culture in order to build a creative platform for the Kingdom’s artists and enable the exploration of thriving artistic scenes in KSA under the banner of the Saudi Vision 2030.

The centre is touted as the first of its kind in the digital arts world due to its diverse programmes, technological capabilities necessary for research development and innovation, and training tracks in arts and modern technologies.

Designed by the Italian architect Amedeo Schiattarella and located in in the Diriyah Governorate, Diriyah Arts Futures is equipped with the technical capabilities necessary for research, development and innovation in the arts sector.

According to DGDA, the centre will include six art studios, a dedicated workspace for artists, modern facilities for emerging artists, specialised workshops and classes for education and training in the fields of arts and technology, and a specialised library and art store.

Among the educational tracks are the arts and AI programme, creative computing, machine learning and new media and contemporary art research.

Diriyah Art Futures will open later this year.


In addition to its digital arts plans, DGDA is also set to transform Wadi Hanifah into a nature wonderland. According to the developer, the two square kilometres will be transformed with the additional unique palm groves and contain thousands of native trees, walking trails, biking tracks, outdoor games areas and picnic spots.

From eco-tourism attractions to wellness spaces, DGDA is looking to provide a respite for those seeking a break from the capital, Riyadh.

The restoration of Wadi Hanifah forms a key part of DGDA’s USD 50.6bn masterplan that will put Diriyah on the cultural and tourist map. Hospitality, commercial, retail and nature offerings will both leverage the cultural importance of the area.

“Wadi Hanifah is an integral part of the masterplan for Diriyah. The wadi was what drew people to the area centuries ago and from which sprung the city of Diriyah we are restoring today. The wadi’s status in history as a place of relaxation and recovery has led us to create a destination with ample wellness and recreational offerings that put people first. It will be a haven of nature for our residents and guests which will bring them closer to Diriyah’s immense historical legacy,” Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO, DGDA, commented.

Wadi Hanifah.jpg

The masterplan will comprise four interactive zones:

HERITAGE AND CULTURE ZONE: The existing park will be extended and refurbished and will feature a Heritage Art Oasis, a 50-key boutique hotel, and sports boulevard.

WADI LIVING ZONE: Lying on the western edge of Diriyah Gate, the zone will feature recreational spaces with picnic areas, an outdoor theatre, a star gazing garden, a storytelling and event space and a children’s play area.

ECO-TOURISM ZONE: Lying to the south of Diriyah Gate, this zone will feature the Barari Diriyah Wildlife Conservation Centre and Palm Heritage Centre for Research and Development.

SPORTS AND ACTIVITY ZONE: Finally, the southwestern area has been identified as a zone for sports and adventure activities and will have an urban, contemporary feel, while still embracing the wadi’s natural character. The zone will include courts, a skate park and a parkour arena and will provide facilities for mountain biking, a multi-use games arena, a green caravan route and a central sports pavilion.


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