The political and historical heart of the Kingdom, Riyadh is one of the largest, most spread out cities of the Kingdom. Yet, despite its modern exterior, it has a far more conservative outlook than others, and this should be borne in mind when venturing out for shopping or to any of its plethora of great restaurants.
The city's principal and historic attractions are all located in Batha’, the centre of town. They include the Al-Masmak Fortress, from where King Abdul Aziz planned and carried out the process of unifying the Kingdom, an excellent National Museum displaying a unique collection of the Kingdom’s historical part with a large section devoted to Islam. Nearby there are a series of historic mud-brick buildings, giving an insight into the traditional lifestyle of local people. However, most have been adapted for modern living in one form another, losing some of the charms of their original heritage.
The cityr predominantly acts as a springboard for visiting nearby places, including our favourites:
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of D’iriyah is the historic home of the Saudi state, the city sacked by the Ottomans in the 19th century and primarily neglected since. Now with ambitious plans to preserve this heritage, four rather impressive museums have been designed to sit sympathetically between the mud-brick houses, with the aim of protecting some of the oldest parts in situ, unobtrusively, without detracting from the overall ambience. The walls of these museums are made of glass, as are sections of the walkways so the site can be enjoyed without too much interference from modern structures.
The Edge of the World (Jebel Fihrayn)
The Popular Natural Wonder close to the city is a stunning viewpoint from the top of the 300-meter-high cliffs overlooking the surrounding plain, which was once the sea bed.
These cliffs are a part of the much longer Jibal Tuwaiq that spreads over 1000 kilometres. Given the popularity with trekkers and families for picnics, visitor numbers are monitored, and it’s forbidden to any fossils, wood or coral stone in order to preserve the region for future generat