Reported to be one of the most prominent cultural and archeological destinations in the Asir region of Saudi Kingdom, the village of Rijal Alma is currently undergoing development work that will support its registration on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage list. As reported by Arab News, Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), recently inspected ongoing work being done to the authentic mountain village.
During his visit of Rijal Alma, the Prince explained that the ongoing rehabilitation and development projects in the village have been designed to boost tourism in the region, providing a main, additional economic resource that will provide thousands of direct and indirect employment opportunities to the region. Prince Sultan took the opportunity to praise the people of Asir region – particularly those who live in Rijal Alma – for their belief in preserving national heritage, and he also thanked Asir’s governor and his deputy for their unwavering support for the SCTH’s work.
Locally known as a stone village, Rijal Alma was laboriously built from local stones, with some of its buildings reaching seven floors up, accented in gleaming white quartz. Historically, the village, which is located on the southwestern end of Saudi Arabia, was an important regional commercial center as it provided a natural link for travelers coming from Yemen and the Levant to Mecca and Medina. Today, the village is being heavily invested in to ensure that it highlights its important history and proud heritage to the world.
Ever since its establishment, the SCTH has focused extensively on Asir as a major tourist destination. Initiatives that have been created to boost the region’s economy include “tourism projects and activities on the Red Sea, the rehabilitation of heritage sites and villages, the establishment of museums,” and “the stimulation of tourism and hotel investment,” Prince Sultan explained.