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Saudi Arabia to build two parallel 120km-long skyscrapers in Neom

Kingdom plans to spend up to a trillion dollars to build world's largest structure, according to report
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launching "The Line," a green city that can accommodate about one million people (Bandar al-Jaloud/AFP/Saudi Royal Palace)

Saudi Arabia is planning to build two parallel, mirrored buildings that are nearly 500 metres tall and 120km long as part of its Neom desert megacity, according to a report published on Saturday. 

The Wall Street Journal report reviewed confidential planning documents that laid out details for the "Mirror Line," touted to be the world's largest structure. 

The two buildings will form the majority of "The Line," an ambitious plan to construct a zero-carbon city in a 170km line announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in January 2021. 

The Mirror Line will use vertical farming to feed its residents, with vegetables "autonomously harvested and bundled". Residents will pay a subscription for three meals a day. 

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The two buildings will be connected via walkways, and a high-speed train will run underneath them.   

Residents will be entertained by a sports stadium 300m above the ground and have use of a marina to moor their yachts under an arch between the two skyscrapers. 

The buildings will run from the Gulf of Aqaba through to a mountain resort and a complex that will house the Saudi government, according to the confidential plans.

The project is expected to cost up to a trillion dollars and will house five million people upon completion, sources told the Wall Street Journal. 

In the leaked documents, Neom employees warned that the huge buildings would alter the dynamics of water flow in the desert and restrict the movement of animals. 

They also raised concerns about the shade created by two parallel tall and long buildings, which could have a negative impact on health.

Megacity displacing local tribe

A report published by Bloomberg last week revealed new details about the weird and wild futuristic dreams of the Saudi crown prince, and just how handsomely foreign consultants were being paid to help achieve them. 

Neom's senior foreign consultants are being offered tax-free salaries of up to $900,000, for ideas that will most likely never see the light of day. 

Saudi Arabia’s Neom megacity dreams get wilder, enriching foreign consultants
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The new Saudi megacity is touted to be 33 times the size of New York City and will include the 170km straight line city, an eight-sided city that floats on water, and a ski resort with a folded vertical village among other grandiose and architecturally challenging constructions.

The project is being built in the Tabuk province of northwestern Saudi Arabia, where the displaced Al-Howeitat tribe had, until recently, lived for centuries. 

In April 2020, tribal activist Abdul-Rahim al-Howeiti was shot dead shortly after making videos protesting against his eviction to make way for the megacity.

"MBS will pay any money for PR and to clean his reputation," Alya al-Huwaiti, a UK-based activist and dissident member of the Al-Howeitat tribe told Middle East Eye last week. 

"He will do anything to pretend he's turning Saudi Arabia into a civilised country. But it's not true, because [a civilised country] wouldn't have all these prisoners, and kill people or force them to be displaced."

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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