Since it's the haj holidays, The Pink Tarha is giving expats in Riyadh/Saudi Arabia a place to go to... come and visit the wetlands of Riyadh!
What wet?! Riyadh is? How?!
What wet?! Riyadh is? How?!
Normally, I wouldn't associate Riyadh with "wet" as the overall atmosphere and climate in this city is, what else? Dry. But it's true, there is a wetland in Riyadh. Imagine a valley with a river cruising through... that's something out of the Philippine tropics but sometimes, it is possible for Riyadh to become one through Wadi Hanifa. Wadi- er, what?!
Say it with me: WAH-DEE-HA-NEE-FAH. I had fun saying this name over and over ever since I persuaded my father to take us to Dirriyah. Huh? I know, you got lost in there. Where did I really go? You see, the initial plan was to go to the old Dirriyah and visit the original "Riyadh" with its mud houses and ruins but the father took us to nearby Wadi Hanifah instead because he's more familiar with the place. We even packed a picnic cooler for the roadtrip. So, we passed through Dirriyah but the only mud houses we saw were laden with graffittis. I doubt it if that was the place. So we just went to Wadi Hanifah, which is a totally unexpected detour.
Wadi translates to "valley" and the name Hanifa comes from the ancient tribe of Banu Hanifa. Combined, "Wadi Hanifa" is a 120km valley that cuts through Riyadh passing through the towns and villages of Uyaynah, Jubaila, Irga, Dirriyah, and Ha'ir. A river in the middle of the desert... phenomenal!
Rain fell heavily on this part of the region during the pre-historic times (that's hard to imagine looking at it now). Global climate changes had severely affected rainfall on this side of the earth. This wadi has long dried up but a large sewage facility was constructed in 1982 to bring forth treated water to cultivate date palms, to run oil refineries, and to irrigate public gardens and parks. Plans of preserving Wadi Hanifa are taking place. For now, this valley is a picnic place for all. Pwede ring dito n'yo gawin ang mga emo moments n'yo. O kaya naman, mag-roleplay ala Simba and Kufu sa Lion King!
I was all amazed with the Al-Elb dam. May water dam sa Riyadh?! Seryoso?! Yup, seriously. The thing is, wala namang tubig. Lol. I'm not sure how it works because there was no one around to be interviewed.
The Ar-Riyadh Development Authority is leading efforts to rehabilitate and preserve the Wadi Hanifa wetlands. I'll consider myself lucky when I get to see the Wadi Hanifa with water running across lush vegetation of date palms and verdant plants in this lifetime. Let's go green!
Wow, these images can bring a lot of optimism to this country. Who would've thought that Riyadh can boast of something like this?
Go and visit the Wadi Hanifa wetlands this haj holidays especially when you're sawa na with the Red Sands and don't have plans to go out of the capital city.