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Saudi Arabia: Diriyah named Capital of Arab Culture for 2030 

Diriyah will be the 2030 Capital of Arab Culture [@mocsaudi_en/Twitter]
Diriyah will be the 2030 Capital of Arab Culture [@mocsaudi_en/Twitter]

The Saudi Arabian city of Diriyah has been chosen as the Capital of Arab Culture for 2030 by the Arab League Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organisation (ALESCO). Diriyah is the traditional birthplace of the Saudi Kingdom.

Announcing the news on Saturday, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Culture said on Twitter, "We're proud to announce that Diriyah will be the 2030 Capital of Arab Culture, in recognition of its centuries-old history and eternal cultural significance — the second city in Saudi Arabia to be chosen, after Riyadh in 2000."

According to Arab News, the city, which is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif District, was endorsed by Arab ministers of culture during an annual ALESCO meeting in Dubai, after the organisation's standing committee approved a vote in favour of Diriyah.

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As a Capital of Arab Culture, Diriyah will host a wide range of events and workshops including cultural and heritage festivals and competitions. The designation for 2030 also coincides with the Kingdom's Vision2030 which aims to usher in economic and social reforms as it looks to expand its non-oil business sectors.

Diriyah is already undergoing development and restoration projects, following the establishment of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) in 2017. Last week the DGDA hosted a week-long series of activities in commemoration of UNESCO's World Arabic Language Day (18 December), with this year's theme being "Arabic Language, a bridge between civilisations".

Founded in the 15th century in Diriyah, At-Turaif District was the original capital of the ruling Al-Saud dynasty and served as the seat of power of the Emirate of Diriyah, also known as the First Saudi State. After falling to the Ottomans during the Wahhabi War of 1818, it was succeeded as the nation's capital by the nearby settlement of Riyadh in 1932, when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded.

READ: Arabic calligraphy added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list

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