Best things to do in Riyadh
Find out more about those top places in Riyadh
If you are looking for a well-rounded city to spend your holidays, then look no further than Riyadh – Saudi Arabia’s capital and largest city with over 7 million people. Located at the eastern part of the Najd plateau, the city has always been a power house for civilization even in old times starting out as a small tribal village before transforming into a top commercial center.
With many attractions to keep you well invested, it is quite impossible to run out of activities in Riyadh. Some top sites include the Masmak Fort, Deerah Souk among many others.
Built in 1865, the Masmak is a place of great significance in Riyadh – it was at the fort that the capturing of Riyadh, led by leader Ibn Saud (first founder of Saudi Arabia) occurred on 14 January 1902. The fort is as most typical fort made in those days – it was made using clay and mud-brick and has strong walls and four watchtowers. The most exciting part about the Masmak fort is its museum, which displays antiques, guns, old photos, costumes and traditional South Arabia house set up.
There is no better way to experience the “real” Riyadh than visiting the Deerah Souk, where things occur at a frantic pace. Located on Faisal Road, the souk is an extended part of the Masmak fort and not only offers visitors a chance to test their bargaining skills, it also provides an avenue to socialize with locals. The shops are organized by products sold and the traders speak a bit of English, so it is easy to navigate your way through the market – some items on sale include antiques, clothes, groceries, souvenirs and gold.
One of Riyadh most exciting modern attractions, the Kingdom center was once the tallest building in Saudi Arabia but has been surpassed by several others, however still holds the record of being the world’s tallest building with a hole. Its major attraction is the Sky Bridge located on its 99th floor - the bridge spans over 65 meters and sits atop the building at a height of 300 meters. Visiting requires passing through two high-speed elevators, with the first one taking you to 180 meters, and second takes you to the Sky Bridge – all done in about 90 seconds.
To get easy understanding of Saudi Arabia and its history take a trip to its National Museum. Established in 1999 the museum is part of the King Abdulaziz Historical center, its exterior and interior are very impressive typical of most of Saudi Arabia’s tourist attractions. The museum is divided into 8 galleries namely; man and the Universe, Arabian Kingdoms, The Pre-Islamic Era, The Prophet’s Mission, Islam and the Arabian Peninsula, First and Second Saudi States, The Unification and The hajj and the Two Holy Mosques.
See a bit of ancient Riyadh by exploring the Old Diriyah. Now in ruins, it was once the official capital of the Emirate of Saudi from 1744 to 1818 and also the home of the Saudi Royal family – located in Wadi Hanifa, you can still see its mud structures and is well-organized streets layout. Its main attractions include the Saad bin Saud Palace and the Saiwa Palace.