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RIYADH


Both Saudi’s capital and largest city, Riyadh offers many modern attractions, shopping malls and sight-seeing tours, while retaining its heritage and fascinating culture


NATIONAL MUSEUM The National Museum was built within Riyadh's King Abdulaziz Historical Centre, a major mu- seum complex constructed in 1999 as part of a plan to develop Murabba. A rich tapestry of history is waiting to be discovered by visitors and the beautifully landscaped, wide-open site is a popular attraction for those wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of Riyadh.


Visitors roaming around the park will find outdoor gardens, running-water features, 360 kilometres of pathways and open lawns. Other nearby features include: a library; mosque; King Abdulaziz's Murabba Palace and gardens; and the Darat Al Malik Muse- um, incorporating the renova- tion of the Treasury building. The National Museum exam-


ines Saudi's history and celebrates the life of the Kingdom's founding father King Abdulaziz. It also provides an insight into the country's historical, religious and natural heritage.


Full-day museum tour Two to 20


Arrive early to avoid the rush Ideal for avoiding the heat


12


DIR'IYAH DISTRICT Historic Dir'iyah District, 20 kilometres north west of Riyadh, sits on either side of a narrow valley Ð the Wadi Hanifa Ð and enjoys indepen- dent administration within the Saudi capital. The city was once the seat of the Saud family and capital of the first Saudi state from 1744 to 1818. The ruins of the old city are constructed almost entirely of mud-brick buildings and a 14-kilometre wall, with several watchtowers, was constructed during Al-Imam Abdulaziz Bin Mohammad Bin Saudi's reign to fend off attackers. Today, visitors will find several Al Saud palaces throughout the Dir'iyah District, including: the Royal Palace (Salwa Palace); settlement areas from the First Saudi State; and public buildings (Dreesha Fortress, for example). Dir'iyah was proclaimed a site of patrimony by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in 2010.


MASMAK FORT Built in 1865, mud-walled Masmak Fort is the most histori- cal monument in Riyadh. The fort was stormed and recaptured from the then ruler of Ha'il by King Abdulaziz during the heroic re-conquest in 1902 and has, therefore, withstood historic battles and the test of time. Extensive renovation work was carried out in the early 1980s and, today, it stands as part of the King Abdulaziz Historical Centre. Visitors will find traditional dress and crafts inside, a diwan with open court- yard and a mosque.


A tour of the old quarters Two to 20


Men: Sat, Mon and Wed; Women and families: Sun, Tues and Thurs. Call ahead for times


MURABBA PALACE King Abdulaziz, the first monarch of Saudi Arabia, gave the green light for work to commence on the Murabba Palace in 1936 to establish both a residence for his growing family and government offices. This beautiful palace would later become the venue of an historic agreement signed to begin oil exploration in the Kingdom. Plans for a telegraph system and the introduction of several regulations for public works, labour and travel projects were also initiated at the palace. On the upper levels, visitors will find traditional crafts and clothes on display.


Afternoon tour


Daily from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 9pm, except Saturdays Ideal for avoiding the heat


Architecture enthusiasts Two to 20


Daily 9am to 4pm KINGDOM TOWER, RIYADH


KEY Ideal for Group size Timings Top tip


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