Things to see and do in Riyadh
Things to do in Riyadh:
Some of the local attractions which must be included in the sightseeing itinerary are –
- Masmak Fortress, located in the heart of old Riyadh, is home to a museum in which the history of the building as well as the city has been vividly described and showcased.
- Murabba Palace is the second mud-brick palace of the city and is more intimidating in appearance than its predecessor.
- National Museum, which opened in 1999, is one of the few tourist places in the city wherein everything is marked in English. Apart from technological and geographical exhibits, video and theatrical presentations are also held for visitors.
- As-Sufaat is a non-descript expanse of cement next to the Great Mosque where be-headings take place on Friday morning after the noon prayers.
- Kingdom Centre is the tallest skyscraper in Riyadh and comprises of a shopping mall and a sky-bridge which affords a panoramic view of the city.
On venturing out of the city, a trip to Wadi Hanifa is a must – a dry and sharply defined riverbed which originates 40 kilometres north of Riyadh and runs in the north-south direction for the next 120 kilometres. There was a time when the city owed its survival to the groundwater of this Wadi but over the years, other sources were explored and the Wadi diminished in importance, being used only for dumping the waste. This Wadi can be accessed from a number of different points but it should be avoided during the rainy season for the fear of flooding.
Another noteworthy point of interest is the village of Dariyah which is the ancestral home of the Saud Family and served as their capital till 1818. Presently undergoing restoration, the village consists of various remnants of the royal family’s lifestyle along with many old artefacts.
Golf is a popular pastime in Saudi Arabia and it is possible to come across emerald green golf courses in this otherwise barren land complete with all the modern amenities. Visitors also have the choice of dune bashing in an SUV deep into the desert if they are desirous of thrills.
Accommodation in Riyadh is concentrated in an area named al-Batha and while luxurious hotels live to their name, albeit in return for a sizeable fortune, the budget hotels need to be thoroughly checked before moving into the room.