Development work has commenced on the first phase of US$20 billion Diriyah Gate Development Authority development pipeline.
Officials hope the move marks the beginning of a bold new era of construction and transformation for Diriyah, a city within Riyadh province, Saudi Arabia.
The historic city, just 15 minutes north-west of Riyadh city centre, will be transformed into one of the foremost lifestyle destinations for culture and heritage, hospitality, retail and education in the world.
The destination will attract local and international visitors alike through its historically sensitive reimagining of the area and world-class entertainment and events.
In line with design, development and preservation standards, DGDA will create an environment that enhances Diriyah’s national and international relevance, including the preservation of the At-Turaif UNESCO World Heritage Site, which sits at the heart of the development.
The Diriyah Gate project on completion will feature an array of world-class cultural, entertainment, retail, hospitality, educational, office and residential areas, including more than 20 hotels, a diverse collection of museums, a bustling retail heart and over 100 places to dine.
The project includes a series of outdoor plazas as well as a three kilometres escarpment walk offering views across the historic Wadi Hanifah.
Diriyah Gate will comprise the kingdom’s most walkable collection of heritage and culture offerings including more than 20 Saudi cultural attractions.
The premier cultural and lifestyle destination will be home to a population of 100,000 and is set to attract 25 million visitors annually - a place to gather, explore, shop, dine, live and work.
Jerry Inzerillo, chief executive, DGDA, said: “There is only one Diriyah.
“Our project breaking ground is a key milestone and step towards Vision 2030.
“We are overjoyed to take the first steps in our construction phase, moving from vision to reality.
“Diriyah Gate will become a global cultural and lifestyle hub; a place of great celebration and joy, and a powerhouse of Saudi culture and commerce.”
He added: “With a huge variety of educational institutions planned to include academies, cultural institutes, museums and universities, we will be developing a place of great learning and intellectual curiosity.
“Filled with wonder and discovery, Diriyah Gate will leave our visitors relaxed, inspired and culturally connected, and it is destined to become one of the world’s greatest gathering places.”