HRH Prince Sultan Bin Salman, the president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, launched the project for developing Rijal Alma as a heritage village. Rijal Alma, located in Aseer province 70 kilometers to Abha, was chosen as a part of this program, because it contains a lot of historical houses and other ancient monuments. This project comes as a part of SCTA’s initiatives to develop heritage villages and sites in various provinces in the Kingdom with the collaboration of other government departments. The project will be carried out as a joint venture – eight ministries and cooperative societies owned by the residents of the village will cooperate on this project, which will benefit the locals in particular and the nation in general.
During the launch, Prince Sultan stated: “Rijal Alma is one of the SCTA’s projects for developing heritage villages and towns projects. It aims at rehabilitating these sites after being on the verge of destruction and transforming them into economical projects that attract investments and generates employment opportunities for locals.”
Rijal Alma village won the Prince Sultan bin Salman Prize for Preservation of Urban Heritage in 2006. Commenting on this, SCTA’s president stated: “Rijal Alma village has introduced itself independently. The residents initiated the rehabilitation works a long time ago to attract tourists to the area and benefit from its economic potentials. We learned a lot from the Rijal Alma experience; we ought to help and support them through this project. What you have seen now is an example of public and private sectors and local community solidarity and cooperation; moreover, an example of an integrated economic, architectural, renovation, and training project aimed at providing various benefits to the residents of the village, such as creating jobs, economic and investment opportunities, marketing local products, as well as fighting poverty.”
Other heritage development projects include Al-Muthnib village in Qassim, Jubbah in Hail, Al-Ola in Madinah, Al-Ghat in Ghat, and Thee Ain in Al-Baha.