Boulevard Riyadh City

Boulevard Riyadh City
بوليفارد رياض سيتي
Boulevard Riyadh City logo.jpg
Riyadh boulevard square zone.jpg
The Square sub-zone in Boulevard Riyadh, inspired from the Times Square in Manhattan, New York
LocationPrince Turki Ibn Abdulaziz Al Awwal Road, Hittin, Riyadh 13513, Saudi Arabia
Coordinates24°45′1″N 46°36′48″E / 24.75028°N 46.61333°E / 24.75028; 46.61333Coordinates: 24°45′1″N 46°36′48″E / 24.75028°N 46.61333°E / 24.75028; 46.61333
Opened17 October 2019; 2 years ago (17 October 2019)
Operated byGeneral Entertainment Authority
National Events Center
Operating seasonRiyadh Season
Area900,000 square metres (220 acres)

The Boulevard Riyadh City (BLVD RUH CITY)[1](Arabic: بوليفارد رياض سيتي, romanizedBūlīfārd Riyāḍ Sītī), or simply The Boulevard, is a 220-acre (89 ha) perennial recreational and commercial complex in the Hittin neighborhood of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that operates primarily during the annual Riyadh Season entertainment festival.

Overview

First launched in October 2019 in the initial weeks of the 2019 Riyadh Season,[2][3] it is divided into nine sub-zones[4][5] that include a wide range of recreational facilities, including outdoor cinemas, cafes, restaurants, and hookah lounges, besides hosting multiple sports, music and theatrical events. The Boulevard is popular for its several landmark attractions like Square sub-zone, a replica of New York's Times Square, Takenda centre and the London's Coventry Street inspired Trocadero area.[6] It was designed by Saudi engineer Abdul Mohsen Al-Theyab, Nmr Real Estate[7] and Ahmed Zaidan Consulting Architects (EdgeArch).[8] It is overseen by the country's General Entertainment Authority.[9]

History

Riyadh Season 2019 timeline

The Boulevard was launched as a 400,000-square-metre (4,300,000 sq ft) entertainment zone on October 17, 2019, during the first week of the 2019 edition of Riyadh Season. An inaugural parade was held which saw more than 1,500 performers and 25 floats taking part in it.[2] Saudi Gazette reported that within 24 hours of its inauguration, the complex saw more than 1.2 million residents of Riyadh and from nearby Gulf countries flocking to the Boulevard.[10] In late October 2019, the Boulevard hosted The Color Run 'The Happiest 5k on the Planet', where runners sprinted for 5 kilometers and were splashed with different colored powders during each kilometer.[11] The Boulevard hosted the Saudi Anime Expo between 14 and 16 November 2019 which saw several performances of prominent singers and bands in various concerts, including that of late Sami Clark and the Japanese music group Linked Horizon.[12][13]

In mid-November 2019, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman issued directives for the extension of Riyadh Season till the end of January 2020[14] in selected zones that were attracting more visitors, meanwhile the Boulevard being the only exceptional zone to be extended till the end of March 2020 due to its soaring popularity.[15] In late November 2019, the Boulevard hosted an event in cooperation with the Saudi National Retirees Association in which elderly visitors were encouraged to participate in a walkathon.[16]

In December 2019, the General Entertainment Authority chairman Turki al-Sheikh announced through is official Twitter handle that the Filipino boy band TNT Boys along with Ogie Alcasid and Lara Maigue will be performing at the Mohammed Abdo Theater in an event dubbed 'Filipino Night'.[17] The Boulevard hosted the professional wrestling event of 2020 WWE Super ShowDown at the Mohammed Abdo Arena, which would be the third and last event in the Super ShowDown chronology. On 7 March 2020, the General Entertainment Authority announced the indefinite closure of the Boulevard along with other zones of Riyadh Season over concerns of the spread of novel coronavirus disease.[18] Three days later, the WHO declared coronavirus a global pandemic and King Salman ordered a three-week nationwide curfew on 23 March, bringing an end to the last zone of Riyadh Season.[19]

Criticism

Just five days after the inauguration of The Boulevard, Arab News reported that residents of the Hittin neighborhood expressed their grievances on social media regarding the overcrowding of the locality by visitors and tourists, disrupting the traffic and tranquility of their daily life.[20] Some of the social media users asked the country's traffic department as well as the General Entertainment Authority to come up with a solution.

WWE Crown Jewel

The Boulevard's Mohammed Abdo Arena hosted the professional wrestling event of 2021 WWE Crown Jewel on October 21, which saw 22,000 attendees.[21]

Riyadh Season 2021 timeline

A giant rotating LED globe in Boulevard Riyadh

The Boulevard was reopened as a 900,000 square meter entertainment zone on November 01, 2021 as part of the second edition of Riyadh Season festival in the post-relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown in the country.[22] In November 2021, Sala Entertainment announced the opening of the largest indoor entertainment city 'Sala Hub'.[23] In the second week of November 2021, the Takenda Center was inaugurated which featured 500 arcade games and virtual reality besides offering a distinctive karaoke experience.[24] In mid-November 2021, The Boulevard unveiled 'The Crystal Maze' experience, based on the British game show The Crystal Maze.[25][26]

During the second week of December 2021, Indian Bollywood actor Salman Khan travelled to Riyadh as part of his 'Da-Bangg Tour' and performed at the International Arena Boulevard Plus alongside Shilpa Shetty, Prabhu Deva, Aayush Sharma, Guru Randhawa and Saiee Manjrekar.[27][28] Before the event, Khan's handprints were added to the 'Wall of Fame'.[29] In late December 2021, the Boulevard inaugurated the biggest bowling alley in Saudi Arabia, with an area over 2,500 square meter.[30]

In early January 2022, the General Entertainment Authority revised The Boulevard's entry timings by 3 hours by letting the visitors enter the precincts from 2 pm (UTC+03:00) instead of 5 pm.[31]

Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr 2022

The Boulevard announced free entry throughout the month of Ramadan in April 2022.[32] The Boulevard hosted a Gargee'an show in the Studio area between 14 and 16 April 2022, an Eastern Arabian semiannual celebration, observed primarily during mid-Ramadan in Gulf countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.[33] In late April 2022, columnist Saeed Saeed reported in the Abu Dhabi-based The National that "Boulevard Riyadh has become a family hub during Ramadan".[34] By the end of April 2022, the Boulevard hosted the Eid ul-Fitr parade in its precincts to observe the festival of Eid ul-Fitr.[35]

Pre-2022 Riyadh Season

In July 2022, the Boulevard inaugurated the Japamura zone, a village that exhibits Japanese culture in preparation for the Gamers8 fest as well as the upcoming 2022 edition of Riyadh Season.[36] The initiative was supported by Saudi Airlines.

Subzones

The Boulevard has nine sub-zones. These include:[37][38]

  • The musical fountain[39] or dancing fountain[40]
  • The Square, a replica of New York's Times Square
  • The Garden
  • The Trocadero area, inspired by London's Coventry Street
  • The Music area
  • The Avalanche area
  • The Theaters area
  • The Studio area
  • The Sport area

Popular restaurants and cafes

Layali Adan (transl.Aden nights), a Yemeni restaurant and hookah lounge, April 2022
A crescent and star decoration in front of Layali Shameiah, a Levantine restaurant during Ramadan 2022
Popular restaurants with cuisines[41]
Restaurant Cuisine
La Maison De Katrin (Arabic: مطعم لا ميزون دي كاترين) Greek, French and Mediterranean
Public (Arabic: مطعم ببلك) Italian
Kasbah (Arabic: مطعم قصبة) Moroccan
Jinji Korean (Arabic: مطعم جينجي الكوري) Korean
Relais de l'Entrecote (Arabic: مطعم لو روليه دو لانتركوت) French
Zodiac Garden (Arabic: مطعم زودياك) European and Italian
Layali Adan (Arabic: مطعم ليالي عدن) Yemeni
Layali al-Mahrousa (Arabic: ليالي المحروسة) Egyptian
Bettys Café (Arabic: بتي كافيه) Lebanese
O by Michel Fadel (Arabic: مطعم او باي ميشيل فاضل) Lebanese
Zaatar W Zeit (Arabic: زعتر وزيت) Lebanese
Karak Gholam (Arabic: كرك غلام) Indian
Kyokusen (Arabic: كيو كوسين) Japanese
Lokma Istanbul (Arabic: لقمه اسطنبول) Turkish
Morini (Arabic: مطعم موريني) Italian
Samad Iraqi (Arabic: مطعم صمد العراقي) Iraqi
Le Chalet (Arabic: لو شاليه) Swiss
Layali Shameiah (Arabic: مطعم ليالي شامية) Levantine

References

  1. ^ "Riyadh City Boulevard opens for public as part of Riyadh Season 2021". eyeofriyadh.com. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  2. ^ a b "Riyadh Season Boulevard zone opens with spectacular parade". Arab News. 2019-10-18. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  3. ^ "Riyadh Season's Boulevard opens today with an unprecedented parade". eyeofriyadh.com. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  4. ^ "Riyadh City Boulevard, part of Riyadh Season, opens its doors". Al Arabiya English. 2021-11-01. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  5. ^ "Riyadh City Boulevard to open its doors to visitors tomorrow, offering wide array of activities". Saudigazette. 2021-10-31. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  6. ^ "Boulevard Riyadh City: The Premier Tourist Destination of Riyadh Season 2021". Arab News Japan. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  7. ^ "رابط حجز تذاكر البوليفارد". المرسال (in Arabic). Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  8. ^ "Riyadh Boulevard". edgearch. Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  9. ^ "SR25 entry fee: Riyadh's Boulevard City announces huge discounts". Saudigazette. 2022-03-24. Retrieved 2022-04-26.
  10. ^ "About 15% of Riyadh residents visit Boulevard zone in 24 hours". Saudigazette. 2019-10-20. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  11. ^ "Thousands burst onto streets of Riyadh to take part in 'The Happiest 5k on the Planet'". Saudigazette. 2019-10-26. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  12. ^ "موسم الرياض يجمع أباطرة الأنمي في البوليفارد | صحيفة المواطن الإلكترونية" (in Arabic). 2019-11-12. Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  13. ^ "Saudi anime expo brings taste of Japan to Middle East". Arab News. 2019-11-16. Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  14. ^ "Riyadh Season extended till end of Jan 2020". Saudigazette. 2019-11-18. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  15. ^ "'Riyadh Season extension limited to some areas'". Arab News. 2019-11-19. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  16. ^ "Riyadh Season organizes leisure trip for elderly". Arab News. 2019-12-05. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  17. ^ "Three Filipino performers to celebrate culture in a magic night at Riyadh". Saudigazette. 2019-12-12. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  18. ^ "Saudi Arabia closes Riyadh boulevard, winter wonderland over coronavirus fears". Reuters. 2020-03-08. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  19. ^ "Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia's King Salman orders curfew for 21 days". Al Arabiya English. 2020-03-23. Retrieved 2022-07-24.
  20. ^ "Festivities around Riyadh Boulevard irk Hittin residents". Arab News. 2019-10-22. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  21. ^ "International confrontations ignite WWE Crown Jewel fights in Riyadh Season 2021". Saudigazette. 2021-10-22. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  22. ^ "Riyadh City Boulevard to open its doors to visitors tomorrow, offering wide array of activities". Saudigazette. 2021-10-31. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  23. ^ "Sala Entertainment opens "sala hub", largest indoor entertainment city in Riyadh Boulevard". Saudigazette. 2021-11-03. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  24. ^ "Takenda: Boulevard Riyadh's newest addition". Arab News. 2021-11-07. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  25. ^ "'Crystal Maze' experience labelled largest in world opens in Riyadh". Arab News. 2021-11-12. Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  26. ^ "متاهة الكريستال .. تجربة عالمية جديدة لزوار البوليفارد". صحيفة الاقتصادية (in Arabic). 2021-11-14. Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  27. ^ "Thousands flock to Salman Khan's Da-Bangg show in Riyadh, fans say even Covid can't stop him. Watch". Hindustan Times. 2021-12-11. Retrieved 2022-08-02.
  28. ^ "Salman Khan Lights Up Riyadh Boulevard on Da-bangg Tour; Thousands Flock to Show Despite Omicron Scare". News18. 2021-12-13. Retrieved 2022-08-02.
  29. ^ "Salman Khan makes it to Saudi Arabia's Wall of Fame- watch viral video". ETV Bharat News. Retrieved 2022-08-02.
  30. ^ "Saudi: Boulevard Riyadh City inaugurates its biggest bowling alley". Gulf Insider. 2021-12-25. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  31. ^ ""بوليفارد رياض سيتي" تكشف عن تغيير موعد استقبالها للزوار | مجلة سيدتي". www.sayidaty.net (in Arabic). Retrieved 2022-09-11.
  32. ^ "Boulevard Riyadh City announces free entry throughout Ramadan". Arab News. 2022-04-07. Retrieved 2022-08-02.
  33. ^ "انطلاق قرقيعان بوليفارد الرياض .. إليكم الموعد". البوابة (in Arabic). Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  34. ^ Saeed, Saeed (2022-04-26). "A soulful Ramadan evening in Riyadh: from iftar tents to a walk in the park". The National. Retrieved 2022-09-11.
  35. ^ "البوليفارد يحتضن مسيرة العيد". arriyadiyah.com (in Arabic). Retrieved 2022-09-10.
  36. ^ "Latest sightseeing area in Boulevard Riyadh City showcases Japanese culture". Arab News. 2022-08-04. Retrieved 2022-08-08.
  37. ^ "آل الشيخ يستعرض بوليفارد.. ومفاجآت "موسم الرياض 2" | صحيفة الرياضية". web.archive.org. 2021-08-24. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  38. ^ "Riyadh City Boulevard offers complete entertainment experience". www.wafyapp.com. Retrieved 2022-04-28.
  39. ^ "Musical Fountain at Riyadh Boulevard to showcase 12 shows using water, fire, and smoke featured in 3D". eyeofriyadh.com. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  40. ^ "Riyadh Season organizes leisure trip for elderly". Arab News. 2019-12-05. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  41. ^ هي, مجلة. "أفضل 10 مطاعم ممكن تزورها في بوليفارد رياض سيتي". www.hiamag.com (in Arabic). Retrieved 2022-09-11.
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