Riyadh - Day 2 - Monday, Nov. 14

Diriyah, DQ, RDA

    The first highlight of this day is a return visit for Keith to an area that he explored on several occasions 45 years previously.  In the 1960-61 era Diriyah was a crumbling, but fascinating area of ruins.  This old city holds a prominent position in the history of the Riyadh area, the Kingdom in general, as well as of Islam itself.  As "Wikipedia" states, "It is the traditional home of the House of Saud, and served as the capital for early Saudi states."  See Keith's 2 photo albums of this area from earlier times: #17 Duriah/Diriyah Ruins - Mar. 1961 & #21 Duriah/ Diriyah Ruins - May 1961.  Keith is delighted and impressed to see the quality and extent of the preservation of this historic area.

    Just a little later we have the opportunity to visit one of the governmental organizations that supports much of the area's historic preservation.  In another part of the DQ we visit the Ar-Riyadh Development Authority (ADA), which has also been called Riyadh Development Authority (RDA).  Here we meet several ADA professionals (engineers, planners, statisticians, etc.) who give us a thorough update on the city's planned growth. We also learn that the city that I have always known as just "Riyadh" is now more properly referred to as "ArRiyadh." The ADA's English language ArRiyadh.com web site is one the best, giving information not only on the history and development of the city and region, but relevant current news. City directory information is comprehensive and up-to-date. We highly recommend it.

    Plans had been made on this current trip for a late afternoon tour around the city to look for other recognizable landmarks from those previous times, plus an evening visit to the old souks.  Unfortunately Keith became too ill to enjoy such an evening.  It was obvious that rest & recuperation in the hotel would be best for the upcoming presentation as well as the rest of the planned activities.


1

 The mirrored elevator catches a couple of views of Keith on his way to the fantastic breakfast presented by Al Khozama.
2

Driving out toward the ancient city of Diriyah, Keith remembers a single lane road going out through the desert.  Now we have a multi-lane freeway through suburban Riyadh.
3

As we near the ruins, we can see in the distance the wadi and the preserved ruins of the old city.
4

The prominent entrance to the restoration project displays a large map of the area.
5

In this restored section, a traditional door opens upon a corridor.  The clean lines and geometric shadows provide a pleasing scene.
6

Here shadows from one wall play on the weathered surface of another as Yuseff leads us along the route.
7

We are informed about some of the history and preservation work of the place. The restoration program began in 1972.
8

This crumbling wall is shored up with braces until crews can provide necessary repairs.
9

Peg gazes across the green wadi at the restored defense tower on the opposite height.
10

This opening in the Mishari bin Saud Palace needs a little help from temporary bracing.
11

Here we come to the entrance of the Al-Turaif Bath House & Guest Palace, complete with "Sitting Area."
12

Restored Guest Palace with interior columns and a the niche on the far wall for lamps.  
13

Partial view of the Eastern facade of the guest palace. The traditional mud brick creates the design motif.
14

Our helpful guide unlocks the door to the Saad bin Saud Palace.
15

Inner courtyard of this restored palace showing the two stories and tamarisk pole ceiling construction of the upper level roof.
16

A very similar photo of this prominent Palace feature graces the cover of the  2004 book, Wahhabi Islam by Delong-Bas.
17

Interesting cross section of early weathered stone and brick construction with Yuseff in the forefront.  
18

The guide and Peg admire another great old door of the city.
19

Completing our tour, we prepare to leave.  This photo shows a newer Diriyah just beyond the Wadi Hanifa.
20

As we leave, Keith wondered if this could be a restored version of the mosque which was there 45 years ago. See this photo from album #17.
21

Returning to the DQ for a brief visit with the busy Dr. Othman before our next appointment.
22

Documents to sign and phone calls to take before we are sent off to our appointment with the Riyadh Development Authority. (RDA)
23

Despite his busy schedule, we continue our lively discussions and plans for the next few days.

Next we would go the short distance over to the ADA/RDA building where we were hosted at two Power Point presentations about the planned growth of this cosmopolitan city.

24

The Development Authority meeting was interesting and full of useful statistics and maps, though no photos were taken . The above photo of Yusef & Keith was taken in the shade of the ADA's modern facility just after emerging from their offices.

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