Culture in Riyadh

Welcome to Riyadh, the birthplace of modern Saudi Arabia, where old-world charm meets 21st-century vision. Riyadh translates to “the Gardens,” a reference to the area’s past that dates back to the 14th century when the land was revered for its fertile soil, many canals and trees. Today, Riyadh Province, also known as Al Wosta, is home to the country’s capital: a modern

metropolis with a thriving financial and business center and a growing cultural scene. It’s a city rich in history, boasting myriad forts, palaces and museums, and some of the country’s most colorful souqs. It’s also home to the country’s oldest university, King Saud University, plus one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, Kingdom Centre, and more than 4,000 mosques.

History of Riyadh Province: Diriyah, At-Turaif and Beyond

The wider region also offers a wealth of attractions, including Diriyah, the original capital of the first Saudi state. This must-see area is just northwest of the capital and is home to a carefully restored mud-brick district known as At-Turaif. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, the quarter offers a glimpse into the country’s extraordinary heritage. Stroll through its living museum featuring exhibition galleries sprinkled throughout the ruins for a dose of history and education. While in the area, also make time to visit the restaurants and cafés that are opening along the twisting lanes of the nearby Al Bujairy district.

What to visit

The National Museum of Saudi Arabia


Set aside a day to explore centuries of Arabian prehistory, history, culture and art at the kingdom’s biggest and most entertaining museum.

Tourism in Riyadh: Al Masmak Fortress

A central point of Saudi Arabian history, the Al Masmak Fortress gives a look into the rich architecture and culture of Riyadh.

Open skies and campfires at Rawdat Tinhat

 Trade the city for the forest with an overnight camping trip to this beautiful reserve.

Standing on the Edge of the World


Experience breathtaking cliff-top views: this spectacular spot offers uninterrupted views from the edge of a sheer precipice.