5 Historic Spots In Riyadh Most Tourists Never See


With travelers flocking to Riyadh from all over the kingdom and beyond for the ongoing Riyadh Season, we present this list especially for those who want to get to know this city better. Yes, there’s the national museum and Ad Diriyah and other big-ticket attractions where you’ll get an idea of the history of this city but here are the overlooked ones that have their own stories to tell. The ones that most tourists never see.

The Al Qari Tower

Located just outside of Diriyah, this was an outpost of the city to watch out for intruders. Its location made it a spot where anyone coming to the city from the east or the north could easily be seen. A very key battle between the defenders of Ad Diriyah and the invading Ottoman forces was said to have taken place right next to it.

Coordinates: 24.76669012384103, 46.56614012217864

Unnamed Najdi House

You see Najdi architecture is characterized by sun-dried mud bricks and mud. This house is one of the very few historic Najdi houses outside of Ad Diryah that still survives. The house is surrounded in mystery and very little is known about it. As opposed to other houses of the day, this one right here is unusually large. It’s currently not open for tourists nonetheless it’s still a sight that’s worthy on a tourist map. Just look at those beautiful parapets.

Coordinates: 24.64449393627319, 46.714491338309834

Image Credit: Samer Mokhtar/Google Maps

Thumari Gate

Riyadh was once surrounded by walls at the heart of which was the grand Masmak Fort. The walls and the gates leading into the city have long gone as the city mushroomed into an urban metropolis. But there’s one gate that survives, at least a reconstructed version of it – the Thumari Gate. The beige-colored gate blends in perfectly with dark office blocks that surround it.

Coordinates: 24.631103062865044, 46.71544003185735

Red Palace

The Red Palace was erected by King Abdul Aziz, the Kingdom’s founder, for his son Saud, the then crown prince and heir to the throne, to reside with his mother in Riyadh’s Al-Fouta area. The palace was the site of several important political events. Mohammed Binladin, a contractor, and a number of Egyptian architects collaborated on the construction of the palace in 1945. It was the city’s first concrete and steel construction.

Coordinates: 24.643097059657944, 46.7091487866172

Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque

Named after the founder of the second Saudi State, Imam Turki Bin Abdullah, the mosque is believed to be one of the oldest (if not the oldest) surviving mosques in Riyadh. The oldest mentions of the mosque date back to the 17th century – even the city of Riyadh wasn’t founded back then. There was just a group of scattered villages back then. Historically, the mosque doubled up as an Islamic seminary as well, attracting students from across the region. The mosque itself is an architectural masterpiece that’s been restored and rebuilt several times since its founding back in the 17th century. This isn’t the only historic mosque of the city though there are several others like the Sheikh Abdullah Mosque Al-Thumairy Mosque and Al Hilla mosque that are really really old.

Coordinates: 24.631040242912587, 46.71031138115977


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