Drone footage shows construction of 170km long 'The Line' city in Saudi desert
The images released by aerial photography company Ot Sky reveal a long linear trench being dug in the northwestern Tabuk province.
The trench will hold the foundations of the city, which is planned to be 170 kilometres long.
First announced in January 2021, The Line will be the centrepiece of NEOM, a planned mega-economic zone along the Red Sea.
Promotional videos released by Saudi Arabia have described The Line as being part of the "revolution of civilisation".
Most of NEOM is meant to be completed by 2025, as per the timeline set by Saudi Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's ambitious plan to wean the Saudi economy off of oil by the end of this decade.
A Wall Street Journal report in July, however, said that an initial impact assessment of The Line estimated that construction could take 50 years.
NEOM employees have also raised concerns that people may not want to live in a vertical city following the Covid-19 pandemic, and that the size of The Line could impact groundwater flow in desert wadis and restrict the movement of animals.
The NEOM project drew criticism from rights groups after it was revealed that residents of the area of the new megacity were offered compensation "under threats".
In April 2020, Saudi activist Abdul-Rahman al-Huweiti of the Huweitat tribe was killed by authorities while "resisting eviction".
Earlier this week, three men who were forcibly removed from the construction area were sentenced to death, according to human rights group ALQST.