Heritage villages to be preserved: Sultan

Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Abdul Rahman Al-Jeraisy and other officials receive SCTA President Prince Sultan bin Salman on his arrival in Ragba town. (SPA)

By RIYADH: ARAB NEWS

Published: May 5, 2012 02:14 Updated: May 5, 2012 02:19

Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), reiterated the commission’s keenness in implementing heritage village projects in a way preserving their historic features and improving the facilities and services extended to the local residents.

“SCTA, in cooperation with its partners, is striving to develop these projects, of which the beneficiaries are citizens in the respective towns and villages, as well as residents living in the nearby cities. These projects would be an escape for city dwellers from the hurly-burly of city life, and they can move to these heritage regions for recreation,” he said.

Prince Sultan made the remarks while attending a fundraising function organized by Abdul Rahman Al-Jeraisy, president of Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for the people of Ragba town in the Riyadh province on Thursday evening. The Ragba historical town project is soon going to witness massive facelift with donations from local residents and participation of various departments and agencies.

Prince Sultan said he came to attend the function in line with the instructions of Riyadh Gov. Prince Sattam to inspect personally the urban heritage sites in the province and make efforts to develop them with the support of local residents. He announced changing the name of old Ragba town project to “Ragba historic town project.”.

“Most people cherish an idea that old is insignificant and hence they start demolishing or neglecting it. In this context, we changed the names of old Diriyah and Jeddah heritage sites to Diriyah Historic Site and Jeddah Historic Site. The Ragba Historic Town and its famous heritage tower are one of the major heritage landmarks in the Riyadh province,” he said, and added: “I visited this place several times and took a large number of beautiful pictures.”

Prince Sultan appreciated the role of various government and private departments and agencies that came forward to support SCTA in developing Ragba Historic Town Project. The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs is the main partner in the project, in addition to the ministries of transport, and water and electricity. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance is also taking part by undertaking renovation of mosques in Ragba.

Prince Sultan also thanked the people of Ragba for their donations to the fund created in the name of Ragba project. A contract was signed to carry out comprehensive design work for developing the project.

The SCTA chief also highlighted the efforts being made by the commission to preserve all the heritage sites in the Kingdom without damaging its historical nature. “We do not stress merely on renovating historic regions. Our emphasis is on preserving them as heritage, economic and social projects,” he said adding that the Ragba project would be a major tourism spot when its development work was complete.

Prince Sultan said the development project would start soon and be complete within two years. He also hoped that the project would generate job opportunities for local residents in addition to becoming a major source of revenue for the residents.

Several prominent figures, including Abdul Rahman Al-Jeraisy and Riyadh Provincial Council Secretary Suleiman Al-Qanas attended the function during which a total of SR 5 million were raised as donations from the residents. A number of citizens announced that they would renovate their mud houses as part of the development.

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