At-Turaif District in ad-Dir’iyah [ Saudi Arabia ]

cultural property

        2007-2009 | listed in 2010 | english

< Previous   |   Next >



SCTA (Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


November 2007 / January 2009

listed in July 2010


UNESCO World Heritage Centre / At-Turaif

SCTH website / Al Dir’iya

Throughout the drafting phase of the document, regular meetings were held in Riyadh and ad-Dir’iyah with all the concerned stakeholders. RC Heritage has notably worked in close cooperation with Al-Riyadh Development Authority (ADA) and their national and international consultants, and with SCTA staff in Riyadh.

Located on a low limestone plateau in the wadi-based oasis of ad-Dir’iyah near Riyadh, at-Turaif became at the end of the 18th century a powerful centre under the rule of the House of Saud who developed the settlement with imposing palaces built in a distinctive and confident style.

Its outstanding universal value relates to its physical vestiges, its location and its relationship in scale with the surrounding developments and landforms. At-Turaif shows an extraordinary consistency of scale throughout the site and a unique coherence, typical of earthen architectural sites, in its building heights, architectural details, colours and surface textures.

The vestiges of the palaces of the Imams of ad-Dir’iyah in at-Turaif – a site where traditional architecture reached unmatched quality – constitute the pre-eminent example of Najdi architectural style, a constructive tradition that developed in central Arabia. Their architectural details are significant features of the local architecture and contribute to the world’s cultural diversity.

At-Turaif District in ad-Dir’iyah is an urban and architectural site presenting the culture and lifestyle of the first Saudi State – direct ancestor of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, it has a noteworthy historic value as the battleground of a significant military event that involved international forces and powers and had a lasting impact on the geopolitics of the whole region.