Sandstorm over Riyadh
Photo by: Pedronet, Creative Commons

Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia. What used to be a small-walled city is now known as the largest metropolis in the said country and one of the most successful and fastest growing cities worldwide. The commercial changes in the city transpired when the oil boom started in the 1950s; older buildings which used to swarm the city were then demolished and replaced by commercial hubs. Being the largest and the capital city, Riyadh is composed of 17 municipalities. Each municipality has its own story of colorful past and history that make it different from the other ones. Each distinctive story defines the vibrant character that the city has as a whole.

Along with Riyadh’s commercial evolution, culture has also shifted gear over the years. The city has also become the heart of trade and travel just like its neighboring areas— Dhahran and Alkobar. The city is also made alive by the different kinds of organizations that cater a myriad of services be it in culture, education, finance and agriculture.

The main attraction of the city is its architecture as it includes a pulsating mixture of the old and contemporary art— modern high-rise buildings towering over traditional establishments. Saudi Arabia’s tallest skyscraper and the world’s 36th tallest building called Burj Al Mamlakah is found in this city. Riyadh also houses over 50 embassies; twenty-two of which are the countries that belong to the Arab League.

If you want to experience Riyadh’s commercial aspect, the best city to go to is the Olaya District, which is considered as the heart and soul of city. They are bustling with all the entertainment, shopping and dining stuff that you need. If you want to experience its rich culture, however, you could pay its oldest part— Al-Bathaa— a visit. In this city lies the breathtaking 19th Century Masmak Castle which is one of the city’s best spots. The Riyadh Museum of History and Archaeology could also be found on its west.

Riyadh’s overall climate is dry as it receives little amount of rainfall in a year. Summers are usually very hot as the temperature hikes up to 50 °C. In July, the average temperature is 45 °C. Dust storms also frequent the city; they are characterized by thick dust visible less than 10 meters. Riyadh also experiences winter but only milder compared to other countries. Tourists should not expect snowfall too as the winter seasons in the city are just marked by windy and cold nights.

2 responses to “Riyadh”

  1. Anthony Gonzale says:

    No offense to the Saudis but Riyadh is nowhere near being a Top 100 city. The heat is unbearable, the culture is oppresive, and visiting as a female is very unwise given the conservative social attitudes. Aside from that, what is there to see in Riyadh that can’t be seen in other Arabic cities? Markets are a dime a dozen and there’s certainly better markets in other cities (Doha, Muscat, Alexandria, Algiers) that are much more interesting. If the main attraction is architecture, then that’s a very weak sell. The city is isolated and hard to reach expecting tourists to visit to see knock-off Western architecture blending with dilapidated homes isn’t that great. And Riyadh has 50 embassies but so do countless other capitals. Port-Au-Prince has 50 embassies. Why isn’t it on this list? I like about 90% of the picks but Riyadh isn’t even a Top 500 City in the world, much less Top 100

  2. Saudi Lover says:

    First of all you have no right to talk about a country you have’nt visited it so SHUT UP and don’t you dare talk about my country like that and don’t say No offense to the Saudis but …… that’s just an excuse to offend us !!!! NEVER TALK LIKE THAT !!!!

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