Fairy tale or reality: a futuristic mirror city in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, a real city of the future is being built, in which neither cars nor roads are provided. The futuristic appearance of this project is amazing – a solid straight line with a length of 170 km. Let's find out how this unique metropolis will live.


Linear mirror city The Line. Photo: NEOM

The city called The Line will stretch in a straight line from the Red Sea coast to the provincial capital of Tabuk. The metropolis will cover the coast, deserts, mountains. All transport here will be underground and high-speed. Residents will mostly walk or ride scooters. The city also plans to build a marina and high-speed rail. The trip from one end to the other will take 20 minutes.

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In general, The Line is being built as a multi-level system, where certain infrastructure facilities will be located on different “floors”: hospitals, pharmacies, schools, offices. A 500-meter mirror wall will be erected around the perimeter of the city.

Fairy tale or reality: a futuristic mirror city in Saudi Arabia

Mirror wall of The Line city. Photo: NEOM

The megacity of the future in Saudi Arabia will be able to accommodate up to 9 million inhabitants. Photo: NEOM

Fairy tale or reality: futuristic mirror city in Saudi Arabia

The architecture of The Line city is amazing. Photo: NEOM


It is noteworthy that this unusual project is based on an environmentally friendly approach: The Line will be a city with zero emissions. It will operate using renewable sources, in particular, solar energy, hydrogen, wind energy. All resources are planned to be used carefully and wisely: sea water is supposed to be purified for drinking, and salt from it to be used for industrial needs.

The city will be saturated with green spaces, and vegetation will be not only on the ground, but also on roofs and walls of buildings. Artificial rivers are also expected inside the metropolis.

Fairy tale or reality: a futuristic mirror city in Saudi Arabia

Architecture of the future in The Line city. Photo by NEOM

“Line is a project that represents a civilizational revolution that puts people first,” said Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Himself The futuristic city is an ambitious project of the Crown Prince of the Kingdom, Mohammed bin Salman. The metropolis is planned to become one of the main tourist centers and a hallmark of Saudi Arabia.


However, there are many questions about the project, including those on ecology. So, its creators must solve the problem of bird migration – the metropolis will close part of the corridors for their flights.

Another problem that arises when building a city is that it will change the dynamics of groundwater movement in the desert. Residents of the metropolis here may experience health problems due to the fact that the shadows of buildings block the penetration of sunlight.

There is another complication associated with the curvature of the Earth, which bends by about 20 cm every 1600 meters. That is, a perfectly straight line will not work here. However, the builders seem to have found a way out of this situation – they suggest leaving gaps in the upper part so that the structure bends evenly.

Some experts say that making the “city of the future” completely autonomous in terms of energy consumption will not work either: even with the current level of technology development, the capabilities of devices generating solar and wind energy will clearly not be enough, especially if something is produced in the city (and this is also planned).

There are many questions, but if If Saudi Arabia manages to solve them in the near future, The Line will become a unique and grandiose city in its scale, unlike any of the existing ones so far. It is assumed that the metropolis will begin to receive the first residents and tourists as early as 2024, but only time will tell how realistic this is.

Alexandra Tikhonova


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