Saudi Arabia just unveiled its plan to build an entire city dedicated solely for entertainment in Riyadh.
The 334 square kilometer city will be “50 times the size of Gibraltar once complete,” according to the BBC, and about the same size as Las Vegas, which encompasses 352 square kilometers.
Dubbed the “entertainment city,” the project includes one of the world’s largest theme parks, Six Flags, alongside a safari park and other cultural, sporting and entertainment facilities.
Construction will begin early next year with the first stage set to be complete by 2022.
“This city will become, by God’s will, a prominent cultural landmark and an important center for meeting the future generation’s recreational, cultural and social needs in the kingdom,” said Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, deputy crown prince, according to Al Jazeera.
The kingdom’s Public Investment Fund will be the main investor in the project.
The popular U.S. theme park company Six Flags Entertainment Corp first announced its plans to expand the roller coaster empire into the kingdom last year.
Six Flags CEO John Duffy made the announcement after meeting with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“We’re very honored to be provided with an opportunity to enter into a partnership to bring Six Flags to the kingdom… Our parks can provide the entertainment to which Saudis aspire,” Duffy said at the time.
It’s all part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030
Enhancing cultural and entertainment opportunities throughout Saudi Arabia is an integral part of the Riyadh’s Vision 2030, an initiative that has been championed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as the country seeks to diversify its economy.
In early January, Amr al-Madani, head of the kingdom’s General Authority for Entertainment, said concerts and cinemas would come to the kingdom in 2017.
So far, we’ve seen a number of concerts take the kingdom by storm.
Earlier this month, two Saudi singers – Rabeh Saqer and Khalid Abdulrahman – took the stage at the 3,300-seat King Fahad Cultural Center. But, that concert was not the first for the kingdom this year.
In January, Saudi Arabia witnessed full-packed crowds in two concerts held during the month.
The concerts included a jazz performance in Riyadh – the first in the city in 25 years – and another concert in Jeddah – as 8,000 men gathered to see Saudi singer Mohammed Abdo perform in the city’s first concert in seven years.
The two events came weeks after Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti said musical concerts and cinemas “open doors to evil,” responding to the kingdom’s increased efforts to bring more entertainment events to the country.
In addition to concerts, the kingdom is moving to host more entertainment events.
The event saw international celebrities, including stars from the popular series Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Hannibal, join the night.
In March, the kingdom also saw more than 2,500 people attend the kingdom’s first ever YouTube FanFest, an event that brought together YouTubers from around the world.