Urban Heritage



Urban heritage is one of the most important elements that reflect evolution of man through history, and reflects the capacity reached by man to overcome his environment surrounding him. Heritage means inherited civilizations of the predecessor and it is not limited to language, literature and thought alone, rather it includes all the elements of physical, emotional, thought, philosophy, religion, science, art and architecture of the society.

Construction is one of only basic elements of heritage and distinct from other elements of the physical heritage by its physical existence representing a tangible evidence of the continuous presence of the previous civilizations. It also highlights the sequence of inter-generational experience and their cultural, social and religious values.
The Urban heritage existing in the Kingdom highlights for us a comprehensive picture of traditional architecture, with all the content of excellent  solutions in view of the local environmental, climatic, geographic, social conditions, as well as providing the design solutions matching to the requirements of both the individual and the community in terms of prevalent customs and traditions.
The Urban Heritage Initiative is based on SCTA’s regulation which provides the organization to take over the task of maintaining and development of the architectural heritage, including the cities and neighborhoods, traditional industries and historical landmarks and to employ them culturally and economically.
In this context come the instructions of HRH Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, who has ordered Their Highnesses the Provincial Governors to ensure that any of the relevant authorities will not remove any heritage building without seeking advice by Commission, in order for SCTA to ensure the building's historical and architectural importance, besides ordered them to notify immediately of any misuse or removal of heritage buildings.
HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of SCTA has of late inaugurated the National Center for Urban Heritage. Important objectives of the center  is in the maintenance and development of various elements of the urban heritage, including the heritage town, quarters, villages, buildings, crafts and historical monuments, as well as employ them economically and culturally.
Center also aims to unify the administrative and management efforts in order to enable SCTA to carry out the planned tasks and responsibilities, such as maintaining the urban heritage in cooperation with the relevant authorities, in the public and private sectors as well as the local communities.
The National Center for Urban Heritage also assumes locating sites, surveying, evaluating, and determining priorities of sites' preservation and development, identifying and protecting sites’ ownerships in addition to supporting scientific and related studies in the field of the urban heritage.
Center tracks and oversees the workflow of urban heritage program, in addition to developing the quality of construction with natural raw materials, as well as facilitate, encourage and attract investments and identify financial resources. It also conducts training courses on traditional construction methods.
The mission of the National Center for Urban Heritage is based on three main themes: the Heritage Villages program, the Urban Heritage program and the Thameen Initiative. It aims to create a fast track to complete the projects through documentation, restoration and rehabilitation of urban heritage, focusing on the completion of a number of pilot projects nominated by Tourism Development Councils in the provinces by applying the selection criteria for the initiative as issued by a decision of the Steering Committee of the initiative.


The 1st International Conference for Urban Heritage in the Islamic Countries – the closing statement