7 Historic Palaces And Castles In Saudi That Will Take You Back In Time

palaces and castles in saudi

Castles and palaces aren’t just about princesses and fairytales. There are many palaces and castles in Saudi Arabia that unfold the rich history of the nation. Built with traditional architectural elements, these palatial structures are a sight to behold often built on hills for a position of power and protection. Many also contain ancient relics that give us clues as to how people lived long ago.

Here are 7 of the dreamiest historic palaces and castles in Saudi Arabia that’ll take you right back in time:

7. Ibrahim Palace, Al Ahsa

A little known gem in Al Ahsa, Ibrahim Palace is a historical treasure at nearly 500 years old. It is built with examples of traditional Islamic architecture as well as military fortifications– it was first used as an army base. It includes soldiers barracks and is over 16,500 square meters in size. A must see for any visit to Al Ahsa. Don’t miss the gorgeous mosque inside too.

6. Tarout Castle, Qatif

Not far from Al Ahsa is Qatif’s Tarout Castle. The castle’s base is believed to date back to nearly 5,000 B.C. and just three towers remain of the ancient structure. Located on a hill on the namesake Tarout Island, in the Arabian Gulf, the castle is believed to have played a role in defence from invasion. Ancient inscriptions have been found too, a true wonder for a history buff to explore.

5. Shubra Palace, Taif

With its crisp white facade lined with contrasting detailed dark wood balconies and shutters, Shubra Palace is an architectural wonder. It’s no wonder the palace has such splendour, it was used as a summer home for King Abdul Aziz during his reign. It was built in the early 1900s and is now a museum containing many artifacts from centuries past, including gems, seals, coins and old weaponry.

4. Eimarah Palace, Najran

The impeccably preserved Eimarah Palace is the perfect example of the region’s mudbrick architecture. Constructed in the mid 1900s, the palace is made of thick, high mud walls for protection as well as towers at each of the four corners. The red mud walls are accented with bright white borders in traditional shapes. Its 60 rooms are now used as office for the Governorate.


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3. Shada Palace

Visitors to popular Abha won’t want to miss this piece of traditional Asir region style. Built in the 1820s, the palace now serves as a museum housing artifacts  from the region and its traditional craftwork. The unique palace has no windows — because it is open roofed! You can climb to the top to see for yourself.

2. Za’abal Castle, Sakaka

Perched on top of a hill, Za’abal castle offers panoramic views of the city below. It’s believed to be 200 years old but some structures on the grounds date all the way back to the Nabatean civilization. The palace sits on top of a well system which provides water to the city. With its four towers and mud and stone design, the castle is reminiscent of bygone eras.


1. Murabba Palace, Riyadh

A truly magnificent sight, this palace served as the home of the nation’s founder King Abdul Aziz. The two-story structure is both modern and traditional, with elements of traditional Najd style and a breezy open central courtyard. Inside you can see various items from the old belongings of King Abdul Aziz, photographs with foreign dignitaries, and recording of his speeches.


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