Riyadh is the capital and the largest city in Saudi Arabia, and the gateway to exploring wildlife, nature, history and the desert. Riyadh is a fascinating place where traditional tribal Wahhabi culture meets with modern Western influences and recent technology.
If you are interested in history, there is a lot to see here and many museums and historical sites to visit. Although most of these attractions are closed on weekends, they are often open until 9pm the rest of the week which means that you can enjoy their collections later into the evenings.
If you are staying in Riyadh, here are some of the museums and historical sites that you can visit:
This ancient building is the fortress which was stormed by King Abdul Aziz in 1902 during the re-conquest of Riyadh. It is a mud and clay fort, built with thick wells and high watch towers, and can be found in the centre of the city. There is an interesting museum inside which tells the story of the raid as well as showcasing many interesting photos of old Riyadh along with antique guns, costumes and agricultural artifacts. It is a great place to learn more about the history of the area.
National Museum of Saudi Arabia
Located within the King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre, the National Museum is one of the most important museums in the country. As you move through the eight exhibition halls you will see everything from the large meteorite found at the Wabar Craters in the Rub’al Khali desert to some beautiful examples of Pre-Islamic Era script and calligraphy. When taking a cab there, most cab drivers will not recognize the English name of the museum so you can ask them to drop you off at the Murraba Palace next door instead.
This historical palace was built by King Abdul Aziz in 1946, and features impressive white washed walls surrounding a central courtyard. It was the second mud-brick palace constructed in Riyadh, and has a very intimidating and awe-inspiring impression on first time visitors. Inside there are many sights to see including the very first royal Rolls-Royce.
This traditional marketplace is also known as the Antique Souq, because it is one of the best places in town to find antique Arabic good such as carpets, jewellery, decorations, coffee pots and more. Be prepared to haggle with the merchants to get the best price.
These are some of the best museums and historical sites that you can enjoy during your stay in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The whole city has some amazing architecture though and it is not just the well known historical sites that look impressive.
When you are staying in Riyadh, one of the best options for hotels in the city is the Radisson Blu Hotel Riyadh. It is near to the cultural and shopping areas of the city, and also features a health club with sauna and massage facilities.
Enjoy your visit!