Ambitious plans unveiled to build Saudi Arabia’s own Champs-Elysees in Diriyah

Diriyah’s own Champs-Elysees Boulevard will connect the Kingdom’s past and its present with its future. The project will also serve as a connector between Diriyah Gate 1 to the King Saud University in Diriyah Gate 2. (Supplied)
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Updated 18 October 2022
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Ambitious plans unveiled to build Saudi Arabia’s own Champs-Elysees in Diriyah

  • The project draws its structural inspiration from France while paying tribute to Saudi Arabia’s heritage, says DGDA chief Jerry Inzerillo

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is to build its own version of France’s world-famous Champs-Elysees, in historic Diriyah.

The Diriyah Gate Development Authority’s chief executive officer, Jerry Inzerillo, announced plans for the ambitious project during the Saudi-French Strategic Partnership for Designing Sustainable Cities for Tomorrow tour in Riyadh.

He said: “The Crown Prince (Mohammed bin Salman) wanted to connect the cultural identity and the heritage of Diriyah Gate 1 to the university (King Saud University) in Diriyah Gate 2, thereby connecting the Kingdom’s past and its present with its future.

“That connection point allows us to build a new boulevard and the crown prince is someone who loves France.

“Who doesn’t love the Champs-Elysees? He has been very motivated by it, and he said he would like to have our own Diriyah version of the Champs-Elysees giving honor to the French but not copying them. We have our own culture, we have our own heritage, and we have our own history,” Inzerillo added.

It is envisaged the avenue will include a contemporary art museum, convention center, opera house, and mosques along its route.

The new project was discussed during the second edition of the Saudi-French architecture tour that aims to strengthen cooperation between French architects and some of the major projects taking place in the Kingdom, including the DGDA scheme. The tour directly links French architects to the leaders of major projects, such as Inzerillo.

Diriyah’s own Champs-Elysees Boulevard will fall under the Diriyah Gate 2 project but full details on the scale of the project have yet to be released. According to the authority the project is still in its early stages and has yet to be given an official name.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The new project was discussed during the second edition of the Saudi-French architecture tour that aims to strengthen cooperation between French architects and some of the major projects taking place in the Kingdom, including the DGDA scheme.

• The boulevard will fall under the Diriyah Gate 2 project but full details on the scale of the project have yet to be released. According to the authority the project is still in its early stages and has yet to be given an official name.

Inzerillo said: “Diriyah is very special, soon the silhouettes of Al-Saud palace which was the image of the G20 will be known all over the world the same way people take a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“I assure you a few years from now no one will come to the Kingdom, and no one will come to Riyadh, without taking a picture in front of the palaces of At-Turaif and Diriyah.

“Diriyah’s own Champs-Elysees Boulevard is a future project that draws its structural inspiration from France while paying tribute to the Kingdom’s heritage.

“The height and the width will be similar to Paris’ Champs-Elysees which I believe is 1.9 kilometers.”

Inzerillo highlighted some of the different features that will be a part of the new boulevard.

“The Saudi contemporary art museum will be on that boulevard. That will be our homage to the Louvre (museum in Paris).

“Also on that boulevard will be the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia convention center, opera house, the Grand Mosque in addition to the King Salman mosque.

“We are now 97 percent done with the design of what we call Diriyah Gate 1, and we are very advanced in Diriyah Gate 2 and will be starting the design of Diriyah Gate 3 soon in addition to the 60-kilometer Wadi Safar development.

“We are working on over two-dozen contracts in the cultural and heritage site including archaeology. So, there is a very strong relationship between the Kingdom and France, it has gone from strength to strength, especially in the four years that I have been CEO,” he added.

During the tour, Inzerillo highlighted the DGDA’s ambitions and opportunities for French cooperation.

“The very strong relationship between Saudi and France since the giga projects have only gone from strength to strength.”

He noted that there had been close to $1 billion in agreements signed between the authority and French companies.

Addressing the French architectural delegation, he said: “When the crown prince and I sat down to talk about Diriyah Gate the masterplan was ambitious at 1.5 million square meters of development.

“But the crown prince, when you give him drawings and you show him the master planning, he doesn’t just approve it, he will study it, he will tweak it, he will change it. That original 1.5 million has turned into 14 million square meters of development.

“These bold giga projects are no longer inspirational, they are coming to fruition,” he added.

The tour was coordinated by Business France, a French Embassy agency overseeing the globalization of the French economy to build awareness of the Kingdom’s ambitions in relation to environmental sustainability, innovative technology, and cultural and historical preservation.

Inzerillo said: “Diriyah is the birthplace of the Arabian Peninsula, Diriyah is the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Diriyah is the ancestral home of the house of Al-Saud.

“We want to celebrate the unique identity of Saudi Arabia by acknowledging its past but doing it in an authentic way.

“When you look at French architecture and you look at French design and you look at France as one of the great cultural heritage tourism countries in the world you are indeed an inspiration to us.

“We are going through another very large expansion of architectural and design competitions in the next 12 months.

“We will be building 20,000 residents which we will start in the first quarter of 2023,” he added.

Diriyah Gate 1 is centered around culture and heritage and will utilize traditional mud bricks in its construction.

“We are currently making 180 million mud bricks. We just symbolically last week did the mudbrick making for the first 1 million that we finished. We have 179 million more to make,” he said.

Riyadh is set to host the 22nd World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh from Nov. 29 to Dec. 2, where the authority will be making various announcements regarding its projects.

“During that time, not only will we announce all of the new assets for 2023, but we will also show the completion of major aspects of Vision 2030 in 2022,” Inzerillo added.


King Salman, Crown Prince congratulate King Abdullah II on Jordan’s national day

Updated 10 sec ago
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King Salman, Crown Prince congratulate King Abdullah II on Jordan’s national day

RIYADH: King Salman sent a cable of congratulations to King Abdullah II of Jordan on the occasion of his country's independence day on Saturday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

King Salman wished King Abdullah continued good health and happiness, and the government and people of Jordan further progress and prosperity.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to the Jordanian king.

The messages from the Saudi leadership were among dozens sent by global leaders and heads of international organizations, including the speaker of the Arab Parliament.

Adel bin Abdulrahman Al-Asoumi wished Jordan and its people “more security, stability, and prosperity.”

He also praised the “civilizational achievements made by the kingdom under the leadership of King Abdullah II in all areas that have made the kingdom a leading regional and international model.”  


Saudi, Kosovo officials discuss parliamentary ties

Updated 25 May 2024
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Saudi, Kosovo officials discuss parliamentary ties

RIYADH: The Saudi-Kosovo Parliamentary Friendship Committee, led by Khalid Al-Bawardi, the committee’s chairman and Saudi Shoura Council member, met with Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kreshnik Ahmeti and other officials in Pristina.

Discussions aimed to boost bilateral relations and parliamentary cooperation between the Shoura Council and Kosovo Parliament, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

Faisal Hifzi, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Albania and non-resident ambassador to Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, attended the meeting.

Additionally, the committee met with Podujeva’s Mayor Shpejtim Bulliqi and discussed cooperation in municipal affairs. The mayor praised Saudi Arabia’s environmental conservation efforts.

The Shoura Council delegation also engaged with local companies, reviewing Kosovo’s future projects and discussing opportunities for economic cooperation.


Saudi authorities arrest 17,030 illegals in one week

Updated 25 May 2024
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Saudi authorities arrest 17,030 illegals in one week

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested 17,030 people in one week for breaching residency, work and border security regulations, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

According to an official report, a total of 10,662 people were arrested for violations of residency laws, while 4,147 were held over illegal border crossing attempts, and a further 2,221 for labor-related issues.

The report showed that among the 1,119 people arrested for trying to enter the Kingdom illegally, 71 percent were Ethiopian, 27 percent Yemeni, and 2 percent were of other nationalities.

A further 65 people were caught trying to cross into neighboring countries, and 17 were held for involvement in transporting and harboring violators.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior said that anyone found to be facilitating illegal entry to the Kingdom, including providing transportation and shelter, could face imprisonment for a maximum of 15 years, a fine of up to SR1 million ($260,000), as well as confiscation of vehicles and property.

Suspected violations can be reported on the toll-free number 911 in the Makkah and Riyadh regions, and 999 or 996 in other regions of the Kingdom.


KSrelief continues aid projects in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen

Updated 25 May 2024
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KSrelief continues aid projects in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen

RIYADH: The Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief  continued its humanitarian projects in Sudan, Somalia, Lebanon and Yemen.
In Sudan, the agency distributed 950 personal hygiene kits to displaced and needy families in Kosti, benefiting 5,463 individuals. In Wad Sharifi, 330 food parcels were provided to displaced families, benefiting 1,710 individuals. 
Meanwhile in Lebanon, KSrelief continued its implementation of the Al-Amal Charitable Bakery Project in Akkar and Miniyeh. The project distributed 150,000 loaves of bread daily to Syrian and Palestinian refugee families, or about 62,500 individuals.
In Yemen, 897 food parcels were delivered in Al-Abr, benefiting 6,237 individuals, as part of the Kingdom’s humanitarian initiative.
in Somalia, KSrelief continued providing medical services in collaboration with the Kidney Dialysis Center at Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu. The center catered to a total of 384 patients and assisted dialysis, medical examination and emergency sessions.


12 arrested in qat smuggling attempt in Saudi Arabia

Updated 25 May 2024
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12 arrested in qat smuggling attempt in Saudi Arabia

  • A separate smuggling attempt of 70kg of qat was thwarted in Jazan Region

RIYADH: Saudi authorities arrested 12 Yemeni nationals for attempting to smuggle 266kg of qat through the borders of Asir region, state news agency SPA reported.
The items were seized and handed over to the relevant authority, SPA said on Friday.
A separate smuggling attempt of 70kg of qat was thwarted in Jazan region. Border authorities said the suspects were arrested and the seized items were transferred to relevant authorities for further action.

Mostly chewed by users, Qat is a mild stimulant and illegal across most of the Arab world.

The government has urged citizens and residents to report any information they have regarding drug smuggling or sales to the General Directorate of Narcotics Control. Reports can be made by calling 911 for Makkah, Riyadh and the Eastern Province, and 999 for other regions. Alternatively, information can be emailed to [email protected]. All reports are treated confidentially.