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At-Turaif District in ad-Dir'iyah
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 15-19 centuries
Date of Inscription: 2010
Location: Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh
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Description: Founded in the 15th century and located on the edge of the ad-Dir’iyah oasis northwest of Riyadh in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, this property was the first capital of the Saudi Dynasty. During the 18th and early 19th century its role increased politically and religiously, and the citadel at at-Turaif became the temporal power of the House of Saud and the spread of Wahhabi reform within the Muslim religion. The Najdi architectural style of the palaces and urban fabric is representative of the region. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  Al-Diriyah (Arabic: الدرعية‎; also spelled Ad-Dir'iyah, Ad-Dar'iyah or Dir'aiyah) is a town in Saudi Arabia located on the northwestern outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Diriyah was the original home of the Saudi royal family, and served as the capital of the first Saudi dynasty from 1744 to 1818. Today, the town is the seat of the Diriyah Governorate, which also includes the villages of Uyayna, Jubayla, and Al-Ammariyyah, among others, and is part of Ar Riyad Province. The Turaif district in Diriyah was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. The ruins of the old city of Diriyah lay on either side of the narrow valley known as Wadi Hanifa, which continues southwards through Riyadh and beyond. Consisting almost entirely of mud-brick structures, the ruins are divided into three districts, Ghussaibah, Al-Mulaybeed, and Turaif, set on top of hills overlooking the valley. Of the three, Turaif is the highest, and its bottom is easily accessible to tourists by foot. Part of the city wall, running along the edges of the wadi and also made of mud-bricks, are still extant along with some short observation towers. The modern city is built at a lower altitude at the foot of the hill upon which Turaif is located. To the north of the town, inside the valley, are a number of gardens, palm groves, and small farms and estates. A dam known as Al-Ilb lies further north. Although the location is sometimes identified with an ancient settlement mentioned by Yaqut and Al-Hamadani known as "Ghabra", the history of Diriyah proper dates back to the 15th century. According to the chroniclers of Nejd, the city was founded in 1446-7 by Mani Al-Mraydi, an ancestor of the Saudi royal family. Mani and his clan had come from the area of Al-Qatif in eastern Arabia, upon the invitation of Ibn Dir', who was then the ruler of a group of settlements that now make up Riyadh. Ibn Dir' is said to have been a relative of Mani' Al-Mraydi, and Mani's clan is believed to have left the area of Wadi Hanifa at some unknown date and were merely returning to their country of origin. Initially, Mani' and his clan, known as the Mrudah, settled in Ghusaybah and Al-Mulaybeed. The entire settlement was named Al-Dir'iyah, after Mani's benefactor Ibn Dir'. Later on, the district of Turaif was settled. Many families from other towns or from the bedouin tribes of the nearby desert eventually settled in the area and by the 18th century Diriyah had become a well-known town in Nejd. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center ( 2. Wikipedia.
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