Urban Heritage

Urban heritage is one of the primary symbols of human evolution through history, and reflects the capacity of man to overcome surrounding environment.  Heritage means inherited civilization of predecessors.  It is not limited to the language or literature or thought alone, but it also includes the physical and sentimental elements of the community together with thought, philosophy, religion, science, art and architecture in a society.

Urbanization is one of the most basic elements of heritage and distinct from other elements of the heritage by its physical existence, representing a tangible evidence of the continuous presence of previous civilizations. It also highlights the sequence of inter-generational experiences and their cultural, social and religious values.

In this sense, the urban heritage that is existing in Saudi Arabia today highlights a comprehensive picture of traditional architecture, with all their good solutions reflected basis environmental conditions (climatic, geographical, social), as well as the design solutions, consistent with the needs of individuals and the society in terms of traditions and customs prevailing deep in this country.

The Urban heritage initiative comes from one of the SCTH regulations, which provides to itself the task of preserving the urban heritage as well as development of cities and neighborhoods, traditional industries and historical landmarks, and employ them culturally and economically.

Due to the importance of the urban heritage and its diversity in the Kingdom, HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of SCTH inaugurated the "National Center for Urban Heritage". The important objectives of the Center are, in the maintenance and development of diverse elements of urban heritage, including the Heritage towns, quarters, villages, buildings, crafts, traditional industries as well as historical monuments and work on their deployment ulturally and economically.

The Center also aims to the institutionalize and standardize the administrative and organizational efforts to enable the Commission to carry out its functions and responsibilities in preserving the architectural heritage in collaboration with the various national stakeholders, both from the public and private sectors, including the local communities.

National Center for Urban Heritage is bestowed with a clear positioning, for assessing, prioritizing protection and development as well as identify property rights of the sites, protect them from abuse and to support scientific research and applied studies in the field of urban heritage.

Center tracks and supervises the workflow of urban heritage program, along with examining ways to increase the efficiency of construction with natural materials, as well as facilitate, motivate and attract investment and financing sources. It also conducts training in traditional building methods and techniques, and attempts to introduce new methods.

The mission of the National Center for Urban Heritage is based on three main themes, namely, the Heritage Villages program, the Urban Heritage program and, Thameen Initiative. The Center aims for fast track solutions, documentation, protection, restoration and rehabilitation of architectural heritage, focusing on the completion of a number of pilot projects nominated by Tourism Development Councils in the provinces by applying selection criteria for the initiative, as issued by a decision of the Steering Committee of the initiative.