Diriyah, Riyadh, KSA
In the capital and most populous city in Saudi Arabia, it may seem everything is business as usual, from its skyscrapers to its megamalls. But look a bit closer; in Riyadh, there are many historic sites to visit and cultural things to discover! Here are our top 5 this month:
1. Al Masmak Fort
Made of clay and mud-brick, this fort is located in downtown Riyadh and once played a significant role in Saudi Arabia’s history. This citadel is a key part of the Kingdom’s history, a fort that was stormed by the late King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud on January 14, 1902, marking a turning point in the Kingdom’s history.
A town located on the north-western outskirts of Riyadh, Diriyah was the original home of the Saudi royal family and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Visit its beautiful mud-brick structures – including forts and a bath house – that are divided into three districts, Ghussaibah, Al-Mulaybeed, and Turaif, set on top of hills overlooking Wadi Hanifa Valley.
3. Thumamah Sand Dunes
If you’re looking for a more outdoorsy time, head out to the red sand dunes of Thumamah, throw a barbeque, join your friends in driving ATVs, and take in the striking view all around you. Best times to escape to the desert is late afternoon as the heat is dying down.
4. The National Museum
What better way to get a taste of Saudi Arabia’s history and culture than by visiting its national museum. The museum, spread over 17,000 meters of land close to the King Abdul Aziz Historic Center, is divided into eight halls, and offers a vast display of antiques, manuscripts, miniatures, and artifacts.
5. Al Zall Market
Believed to be the oldest market in Riyadh, Soul Al Zall offers artifacts and a general atmosphere that speaks of the city’s rich heritage. Some point to the history of the market going back as far as 1901, where it formed part of the Al-Diriyah old palace (where the late King Abdul Aziz lived when he entered Riyadh).