The World Heritage Committee approved the registration of Al Turaif Quarter, in the Al Dirr’iya historical city near Riyadh, onto the World Heritage List of UNESCO. The approval was made during the 34th session on Thursday, July 29, in Brasilia, Brazil.
His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) said, “Al Turaif Quarter in the Dirr’iya site is the second Saudi historic site to be recorded in the World Heritage List after the registration of the archeological site of Madain Saleh in 2008.”
In pursuit of a Royal decree issued in 2006, SCTA was assigned to finalize the registration procedures for a number of Saudi sites in the international list of urban heritage. These sites were Madain Saleh – registered in 2008, Al Turaif Quarter in historic Al Dirr’iya, and the historical Jeddah, which was submitted for nomination with UNESCO, while waiting for its consideration at the next session of the World Heritage Committee.
Prince Sultan on this occasion stated that the registration of Al Turaif Quarter is considered as an international recognition of its historical and cultural importance, in addition to its political importance as the capital of the First Saudi State, as well as it is a cultural and scientific center throughout the Arabian Peninsula since its foundation on the banks of Hanifa Valley in 1446.
HRH, on the other hand, has commended the efforts of the Higher Committee of Al Dirr’iya Development, which carried out an integrated development and preservation program. HRH in this context praised the productive and constructive partnership between SCTA and Ar-Riyadh Development Authority (ADA) regarding their joint efforts to preserve and protect Al Dirr’ya’s historic area, as well as highlight its importance as a national and cultural heritage site.
Dr. Ali Al Ghabban, vice president of SCTA for Antiquities and Museums, explained that the approval of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO to Al Turaif Quarter’s World Heritage was a result of full consensus of the committee that handled Al Dirr’iya file. In fact, there was no need for voting inside the committee as there was no objection to the nomination file.
Adding, “The most important criteria that supported the enlistment of Dirr’iya in to the World Heritage List as a heritage site is its vastness as a residential site, which at the same time had witnessed the historic events of human interest, in addition to its special concern for preserving the surrounding environment during its development. The massive efforts exerted for preserving and protecting Al Dirr’iya, as well as executing a huge project for its development, was also one of the important criteria taken into consideration by the World Heritage Committee.”
For more information on Dirr’iya, please visit: http://www.scta.gov.sa/sites/english/Antiquities_and_Museums/Historic_AlDir%E2%80%99iya/Pages/default.aspx .