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Riyadh

Overview

Riyadh, which lies in the Central Region, is the capital city of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and now rivals any modern city in the world in the splendor of its architecture. 

Broad highways sweep through the city, passing over or under each other in an impressive and still

Growing road network. Trees now bedeck the broad streets and avenues, giving pleasure to passers-by and shade to those who linger beneath them. Today the city extends for some 600 square miles (1600 square kilometers) and has a population of more than 5.8 million. 

The name Riyadh is derived from the Arabic word meaning a place of gardens and trees ("rawdah"). With many Wadi (valleys) in the vicinity, Riyadh has been since ancient times a fertile area set in the heartland of the Arabian Peninsula

Of all the Kingdom's developmental achievements, Riyadh is perhaps the most obvious and accessible to the foreign visitor. From the moment he lands at the KingKhalidInternationalAirport, itself a marvel of design wedding the traditional Arab style with the best of modern architecture in a happy marriage of spacious practicality, the traveler is aware that he has reached a city that must be counted one of the wonders of modern times. 

Major Attractions

Musmak Fort of Riyadh: Historic location in the center of Riyadh where in 1902, King Abdul-Aziz bin Saud along with a handful of men, climbed over the walls of the fort which was held by the rival al-Rashid clan and seized it. The castle, which represents the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was originally built in 1865 and has been renovated for tourism. Al Musmak Castle has many notable landmarks, including a mosque and a grand palace gate. On the western edge of the palace ground is the Riyadh Museum for History and Archaeology. The main feature of the museum is a large collection of cultural artifacts from various places in Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh Museum of History and Archaeology: Located to the west of Al-Bathaa and provides a complete insight into the history, art and culture of Saudi Arabia. The Riyadh Museum of History and Archaeology is one of the most popular and major tourist destination sites and the museum is exceptionally remarkable for an educational tour.

The Museum of History and Archaeology in Riyadh is a colossal museum and comprises eight sections. These eight sections are based on different themes likeā€•The Prophet’s Mission, Islam and the Arabian Peninsula, Unification, Jahiliyah, Arabian Kingdoms, 1st and 2nd Saudi States and Hajj and the Two Holy Mosques.

The Museum of History and Archaeology at Riyadh displays the articles and items which belong to the Stone Age. One can even see the clothes, instruments and accessories which were used by people of this age. Small children can have a glimpse of the pre-historic man and how they used to look. The articles and items which have been excavated from different sites are worth taking a look as these are unique and rare. One can also check out the special sections which deal with the history of the whole city and country of Saudi Arabia. There is a huge display of ancient stones, weapons, portraits, paintings, ancient memorabilia and silver coins, a model of the Al Musmak Castle as well as cooking utensils, instruments, tools, and jewelry ranging in time period from the Stone Age to early Islam. There is also a room devoted to the architecture of Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE & Egypt. The museum hours are 8 a.m. until noon and 4 until 9 p.m. on Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday for men only and Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday for families and Riyadh tours. One needs to buy a ticket of worth 15 Saudi Riyal in order to get admission in the Riyadh Museum of History and Archaeology.

Other Museum Names and Addresses located in Riyadh

  1. National Museum of Natural History on King Saoud Street.
  2. Al-Musmak Historical Museum in Al Emam Tourki ben Abdullah Al Deerah District.
  3. King Abdullaziz Monumental Hall on King Saud St.
  4. Almoraba Historical Palace on King Saud St.
  5. King Faisal Monumental Hall on King Fahad Road.
  6. Science Oases insde the Diplomatic Quarters

City of Old Diriyah: Ad’Diriyah is considered to be one of the most alluring attractions in Saudi Arabia. It is an ancient city of major historical significance. It lies approximately 12 miles away from the north western part of the Saudi Arabian capital city, Riyadh. The ruins of the City of Old Diriyah owes its dignity to the enriched historical past, which also accounts for its immense worldwide popularity.  During 1745, a strong Islamic reform movement took place over here. Besides this, in the past, the old city of Diriyah was also considered to be the largest in Arabian Peninsula. However, in the first part of 19th century Turks destroyed this city and afterwards Riyadh captured it.

Currently some of the ruined edifices built of mud and brick can be found over here. Some of the major historic attractions of this old Saudi Arabian city include the following: 

  1. Saad bin Saud Palace 
  2. Imam Mohammad bin Saud Mosque 
  3. Salwa Palace 
  4. Turaif Bath House 

Riyadh: King Khalid International Airport: The King Khalid International Airport was opened in 1983 (1403/04 AH). Located 35 kilometers north of Riyadh, with a land area of 225 square kilometers, the King Khalid International Airport is a masterpiece of modern architecture, blending traditional Arab design with the requirements of efficiency, and incorporating into the whole the essential Islamic character of the Kingdom. It is decorated with the works of many Saudi artists. It has four terminals and, from its inauguration, had the capacity to handle 7.5 million passengers a year. By the year 2000 (1420/21 AH), its capacity was more than 8.3 million passengers a year. 

King Fahd International Stadium: The King Fahd International Stadium, which can accommodate 80,000 spectators, was established by the General Presidency of Youth Welfare in 1988. Its remarkable tent-like design, constructed from hard-wearing, fireproof material, is the venue for many major events in the Kingdom. 

Diplomatic Quarters: Apart from its importance as a seat of government and as a thriving commercial centre, Riyadh is also a centre of Arab diplomacy. Located five miles,(8 km) from the centre of the city of Riyadh, on high ground overlooking the Wadi Hanifa and the vast expanse of desert behind, lays the Diplomatic Quarter. 

This unique complex of diplomatic buildings and facilities, housing the embassies and consulates of many countries, occupies an area of 8.4 million square yards (7 million square meters) and is the venue for many international Arab meetings. 

Salam Park: Salam Park is located in the heart of Saudi Arabia, near Musmak Castle and the mosque of Imam, and is a must see for Riyadh tours. This sixteen million dollar Salam Park project is more than just your average park. Salam Park contains an artificial lake, a wildlife conservation zone, a palm grove, and acres of land to have a picnic or a run on paved trails. There is also a large playground, four prayer buildings, and several restaurants. 

Riyadh Zoo: The Riyadh Zoo is one of the most popular leisure facilities in Riyadh. The Riyadh Zoo, first formed in 1957, was originally a small-scale affair, consisting of animals presented as gifts to the first three kings of Saudi Arabia. 

In 1987, a new and entirely refurbished zoo was opened. The new Riyadh Zoo was designed to provide the animals with room to move and suitable places to rest. Today the Riyadh Zoo contains some 40 species, including bears, birds of prey, camels, elephants, hyenas, gazelles, leopards, lamas, lions, monkeys, rhinoceroses, tigers and a number of reptiles.

Mega Shopping Malls :  As one of the fastest growing cities in the world many international shopping malls are operating in Riyadh international cuisine, and upscale shopping opportunities like Carrefour, Panda, Othaim Mall, and many more Tourist can buy jewelry, handicrafts, Rugs and traditional utensils and many more for daily needs. Shopping Malls in Riyadh

1. The Kingdom Centre

Located in the capital city of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh and is the tallest skyscraper of the country. The Kingdom Centre in Riyadh is the 37th largest building of the world. The Kingdom Centre is the highest centre of the nation and is located at the crossroads of King Fahd Expressway, Orouba Road and Olaya Road.

The Kingdom Centre was built on 94,230 square meters of land with a total area of 300,000 square meters. The owner of the Kingdom Centre is Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The Kingdom Centre is also the headquarters of his company: Kingdom Holding Company. The entire cost of the project was 1.717 Saudi Riyal and was handled by Saudi Arabian Bechtel. The designer of the building was Ellerbe Becket and Omrania.


The Kingdom Centre has an extremely prestigious and exciting shopping mall, which is managed by Debenhams and Saks Fifth Avenue. The shopping mall in this building has 161 renowned stores and shops. There are many offices, which are built in the latest state-of-the-art technology and the internationally managed Rebus Business Centre. The Kingdom Centre in Riyadh also has the five-star Four Seasons Hotel with a banquet hall, fitness club and a host of high-standard international restaurants.

2. Al Faisaliyah Centre

Al Faisaliyah Centre is popular as the second tallest building in not only Riyadh but also in the entire Saudi Arabia. The Al Faisaliyah Centre is situated between King Fahd Road and Olayya Street.

The structure of Al Faisaliyah Centre resembles that of a ballpoint pen. The building is 267 meters tall and comprises 30 floors. The tip of the building is similar to that of a ball point pens tip. The bottom surface of the building is divided into two parts, the eastern and western part. While the western part of the building mainly has an open space, the eastern part comprises a covered lobby. The structure of Al Faisaliyah Centre is built with direct configuration with the Kingdom Centre, which is another prominent skyscraper building of Riyadh.


The highest tip of the Al Faisaliyah Centre is in the shape of a golden ball. This ball has a three level restaurant, which offers all kinds of native as well as international delicacies. The upper floors of the Al Faisaliyah Centre consist of a large number of galleries. The elevators and staircases, which lead to the upper levels of the building, are octagonal in shape.

Al Faisaliyah Centre also has a huge shopping mall for all shopaholics and one just cannot afford to miss this splendid piece of modern architecture  

Things To Do

Discover the old town: The old town of Riyadh within the city Walls did not exceed an area of 1 square km, therefore there are very few significant architectural remnants of the original walled oasis town of Riyadh exist today. The most prominent is the al-Masmak fort and some parts of the original wall structure with its gate which have been restored and reconstructed. There are also a number of traditional mud-brick houses within these old limits; however they are for the most part dilapidated.

Expansion outside the city walls was slow to begin with although there were some smaller oases and settlements surrounding Riyadh. The first major construction beyond the walls was King Abdul-Aziz's Murabba' palace. 

Desert Safari: Saudi and other Gulf States are known for its magnificent deserts and sand dunes. ThumamaDesert is one of it about 30 minutes drive from central Riyadh. It has its own unique beauty that you have to explore again and again

Picnic or Camping: Picnic or Camping is one of the famous activities in Riyadh. Having hundreds of sand dunes and deserts to explore, families and friends travel together during weekends and holidays just to be away from the city it's a simple yet fun thing to do.

Drinking Afternoon Tea: recommended place for the afternoon tea in price of SR 100 is well affordable and you can eat as much as you can in a stylish environment. The buffet is various visitors prefer to go upstairs to the cigar lounge with a more intimate atmosphere overlooking Riyadh during daylight, sunset and darkness.

Buggy Riding: Buggy is a small motorbike designed especially for sand dunes used. Baggy riding is one famous sand dunes activity aside from the 4x4 wheel drive in the sand. It is one fun ride both young and young at heart will enjoy. One hour rent would cost you 50SR though you can bargain up to 35SR.One great spot to do this activity is near the HiddenValley. The place is called Red Sand Dunes The red orange sand looks really great.

Visiting Snow World centre: Snow in the desert is a wonderful experience for those who have never seen snow, It's real the temperature inside is about -1 to -2C Its so freezing and they preferred to wear thick jacket, hand gloves and boots before you enter inside and they are the one who provide these except the hand gloves. The decors around are amazing they also have bear and dolphin props. The address is King Abdullah Road.

Events
Food Festival: The Saudi Food 2007 (Nov 11 to Nov 15 '07) is among the most popular amongst the Riyadh Festivals and Events and it is the longest established food exhibitions in Saudi Arabia. It is a bi annual event and it is a grand opening for the leading food production companies to exhibit their new products, technologies, and the equipment that they are using. 

Annual King's Cup Camel Race: The Annual King's Cup Camel Race is held once every year and there are more than 2000 riders who participate in the Annual King's Cup Camel Race. The specialty of this race lays in the fact that most of the competitors in this race are young boys who have been trained in the art of camel riding since childhood. 

Janadriya Festival: This is a major cultural event amongst the Riyadh Festivals and Events. It is held annually and is the oldest and the most traditional of all the festivals. This is usually held from the 12th to the 26th of February. The Kingdom of Riyadh arranges for the extravaganza. This festival is considered to be the National Festival of Heritage and Culture in the al Janadriya region of Riyadh.

Riyadh Festival for Shopping and Leisure: This is held every year in the month of July. One can shop all types of things right from garments, accessories, electronic goods, you just need to name it and you have it right here in Riyadh. 

Famous Meals :
The NejdiKabsa is the most traditional lunch in Riyadh. Also in Riyadh you can try the most famous meal of Almathlootha, Algurssan , almarasee and Aljareesh 

The most famous restaurant for the traditional food in Riyadh is the "TraditionalVillage" in Arabic "Algareea Alshaabya"

What To Buy:
Local souvenirs authentic and fake, carpets, coffee pots, daggers, jewelry and many more.

Best Time to Visit:
The best time to visit Riyadh Saudi Arabia is between October and June when the climate is relatively. Evenings in Riyadh are considerably cooler and it occasionally rains. If you’re traveling to Riyadh Saudi Arabia, You can also travel in summer but you should try not to go out in the afternoon, it can be extremely hot.

Travel Tips

Riyadh is one of the biggest cities in The Middle East, you can get lost of you don't have an excellent driver or a tour guide .Muslims and Non Muslims are allowed to visit the Capital of the Kingdom.

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