This hotel was the first capital of the Arab Kingdom, in the center of the Arabian Peninsula, northwest of Riyadh. Founded in the 15th century, it exemplifies the Najdi architectural style, which characterizes the center of the Arabian Peninsula. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, its political and religious role grew, and the citadel of at-Turaif became the temporary center of power for the House of Saud and the spread of Salafist reform within the religion. Islamic. The property includes the remains of numerous palaces and urban complexes built on the edge of the oasis of ad-Dir’iyah.
Year of accreditation: 2010
Area: 28.78 hectares
Buffer zone: 237.95 ha
Outstanding Overall Value
The district of At-Turaif in ad-Dir’iyah was the first capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the center of the Arabian Peninsula, northwest of Riyadh. Founded in the 15th century, it exemplifies the Najdi architectural style, which characterizes the center of the Arabian Peninsula. During the 18th and early 19th centuries, its political and religious role in the region increased, and the citadel of at-Turaif became the temporary center of power for the House of Saud and the spread of the reform movement. of the Islamic path in Arabia, the Salafiyya. The property includes the remains of numerous palaces and urban complexes built on the edge of the oasis of ad-Dir’iyah.
Criterion (iv): The citadel at-Turaif represents a diversified and fortified urban population within an oasis. It includes many palaces and is an outstanding example of the Najdi architectural and decorative style typical of the central Arabian Peninsula. It testifies to a mode of construction well adapted to its environment, with the use of adobe bricks in the large palace complexes, coupled with a remarkable sense of geometric ornamentation.
Criterion (v): The site of the district of at-Turaif at ad-Dir’iyah illustrates an important period of human settlement on the central plateau of Arabia, when in the middle of the 18th century AD – Dir’iyah becomes the capital of an independent country. Arab state and an important religious center. The district of At-Turaif in Ad-Dir’iyah is an outstanding example of traditional human settlement in a desert environment.
Criterion (vi): The district of At-Turaif was the first historic center of unified power in the Arabian Peninsula. Its influence was greatly enhanced by the teachings of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdul Wahhab, a great reformer of Sunni Islam who lived, preached and died in the city. After a long alliance with the Arab kingdom, in the middle of the 18th century, it was from ad-Dir’iyah that the message of Salafiyya spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula and the Muslim world.
The property comprises the remains of a relatively complete urban complex of which a large part of the composition remains intact, although many buildings have been destroyed. The original plan is well preserved and is clearly visible in its road network. Therefore, the structural integrity of the property is acceptable. The property is not subject to excessive modern development, as it has long been abandoned and the integrity of the landscape appears satisfactory, albeit fragile.
The architectural and urban elements of the property that have not been modified or reconstructed during the 20th century reuse or restoration are authentic. The buildings are generally in a state of dilapidation or vestiges. A major restoration program is carried out respecting the original locations, plans and techniques. It must pay particular attention to the preservation of the properties of authenticity of the buildings and the road network. Vigilance must be continued and reinforced by a conservation program taking precedence over other considerations.
Protection and management requirements
Since 1976 the property has been protected by the Antiquities Act 26M, 1392 (1972). This law protects antique movable and immovable property that is registered as “antique”, a term which can be applied to monuments that are at least two hundred years old. The Ministry of Education and the Council of Antiquities are responsible for enforcing the law. This is reinforced by a police service placed under the responsibility of the governor. A new draft law systematically providing for a protected zone of 200 m around the boundaries of the property is awaiting approval.
A comprehensive comprehensive management plan for the property is being prepared by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) and the designers of the Living Heritage Museum, the future management structure for the property. This must give priority to the organization and monitoring of the preservation of the various historical elements that make up the property. A Scientific Conservation Committee should be established with a variety of powers to identify, oversee and track programs and projects working for the good.
Map of the district of At-Turaif in ad-Dir’iyah
Video of At-Turaif district in ad-Dir’iyah
See also: UNESCO World Cultural/Natural Heritage Sites