What is Neom City? Saudi Arabia’s 170km-long desert ‘smart city’ explained - how much The Line will cost

The city will host an international sporting event - but it’s not even been built yet
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A city in Saudi Arabia which has not yet been built has been named as the host of an international multi-sport event.

The Asian Winter Games will take place in 2029, and the Middle East country has offered to host them in a new city it is currently building, Neom City.

The plan is that the games will take place in Neom’s Trojena sports city, which is planned to be built in the country’s Sarawat mountains.

So, just what is Neom City, where in the world will it be built, what do we know about Trojena, and will the city be built in time for the games?

Here’s everything you need to know.

An artist’s impression of Neom City.An artist’s impression of Neom City.
An artist’s impression of Neom City.

What is Neom City?

Neom is a Saudi smart city which is currently being built in Tabuk Province in northwestern Saudi Arabia, having been announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2017.

It is planned to incorporate smart city technologies and will be a tourist destination, and at an estimated cost of $500 billion, (approximately £436 billion).

Saudi Arabia aimed to complete major parts of the project by 2020, with an expansion completed in 2025, but it is behind schedule so it is now thought it could be finished in 2026.

Only two buildings have been constructed so far and most of the project area remains bare desert, according to The Economist.

When it is complete, the city will offer outdoor skiing, a man-made freshwater lake and a nature reserve, according to the Neom project official website.

The site is north of the Red Sea, east of Egypt across the Gulf of Aqaba, and south of Jordan. It is planned to cover a total area of 10,200 square miles, and extends 170 kilometres along the coast of the Red Sea.

Neom City will be made up of three regions; The Line, Trojena and the Oxagon.

What is The Line?

The Line is a linear city which will be 110 miles long and 200 metres wide within the area of Neom.

It is planned to house nine million residents, and all basic services will be within a five-minute walking distance. It will run on 100% renewable energy and 95% of land will be preserved for nature.

People’s health and wellbeing will be prioritised over transportation and infrastructure, unlike traditional cities, according to the official Neom website.

Described as a “zero car environment”, residents who live in The Line will instead have access to a high-speed rail line. The aim is that no cars will improve the air quality and give people more disposable income as they are not spending it on vehicle expenses.

It will cost an expected $100 to $200 billion to build, which is around £88 billion to £176 billion.

An artist’s impression of The Line in Neom City.An artist’s impression of The Line in Neom City.
An artist’s impression of The Line in Neom City.

What is Trojena?

Trojena is one of the parts planned as part of Neom City. It was launched on 3 March 2022 by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and will be the first major outdoor skiing destination in the Arabian Peninsula.

It will be located in Saudi Arabia’s highest mountain range, the Sarawat Mountains, about 31 miles from the Gulf of Aqaba coast, with elevations ranging from 1494 to 2590 metres.

The site is 10 degrees celsius cooler on average than the rest of Neom’s territory, and according to the project website it will host an "all-year ski village".

On completion, the Trojen development will also contain a broad range of homes, including apartments, chalets and mansions plus hotels. In addition, there will be a wide range of retail, leisure and dining options available for residents and visitors.

According to the official project website, “Trojena will become one of the most dazzling destinations in Neom and across the world”.

An artist’s impression of Trojena in Neom City.An artist’s impression of Trojena in Neom City.
An artist’s impression of Trojena in Neom City.

What is Oxagon?

Oxagon will be located around 16 miles north of the town of Duba, and covers roughly 77 to 97 square miles of land, of which approximately 15 square miles forms Oxagon.

The project will focus on modern manufacturing, industrial research, and development centered on expanding the Duba port.

It has been described as a floating industrial complex which will be shaped like a regular octagon. It will be the largest in the world when completed, and would serve as a port for shipping routes through the Red Sea.

How can I find out more information?

To find out more information about Neom City, please visit the official Neom City website.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.