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Considered by many to be the “pearl of Saudi Arabia,” Diriyah is becoming a major tourist destination. One of Saudi’s signature projects, developed to encourage tourism to the area, Diriyah will eventually encompass luxury resorts (the first of which is set to open in late 2021), numerous international hotel brands, as well as dining, shopping and entertainment options. But don’t let the modern glitz and glam distract you from Diriyah’s deep cultural roots. Diriyah’s history goes back thousands of years: It was once an ancient trade and pilgrimage route, and a meeting spot for people traveling to or from Asia, Africa or Europe.

When in Diriyah, go and explore

UNESCO Heritage Site: At-Turaif

Diriyah’s historical center is the UNESCO-listed site of At-Turaif, which was founded in the 15th century. It is the original seat of power of Saudi Arabia’s Al Saud family and contains ruins of mud-brick houses connected by narrow alleyways. The site has not been open to the public since it gained its UNESCO designation in 2010. The redevelopment of the area will enable people to walk through the ruins as well as the myriad museums and other spaces found inside.

Museums of Diriyah

Various museums are set to open in Diriyah. They include: The Museum of Al Saud House, which will showcase the history of the ruling family and the kingdom’s heritage; The Museum of the Saudi State and Arabian Peninsula; The Museum of the 100-Stories Journey, where visitors can learn about Saudi history and culture, and Misk Heritage Museum, an educational institute aimed at encouraging young people to get involved with the nation’s history and heritage.

International Events

In Diriyah, visitors can be part of history-making international events, such as Diriyah Tennis Cup and Diriyah ePrix. It pays to keep an eye on local listings and be part of history as it unfolds in this exciting, ever-changing place.