Riyadh

Riyadh

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Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama
Al-Yamama
Al-Yamamah is an ancient district lying to the east of the plateau of Najd in modern-day Saudi Arabia, or sometimes more specifically, the now-extinct ancient village of Jaww Al-Yamamah, near Al-Kharj, after which the rest of the region was named...

. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a region with a population of close to 7 million people. The city is divided into 15 municipal districts, managed by Riyadh Municipality headed by the mayor of Riyadh, and the Riyadh Development Authority, chaired by the Governor of Riyadh Province, Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz. The current mayor of Riyadh is Abdul Aziz ibn Ayyaf Al Migrin, appointed in 1998.

Early history


During the Pre-Islamic
Pre-Islamic Arabia
Pre-Islamic Arabia refers to the Arabic civilization which existed in the Arabian Plate before the rise of Islam in the 630s. The study of Pre-Islamic Arabia is important to Islamic studies as it provides the context for the development of Islam.-Studies:...

 era, the settlement at the site was called Hajr , and was reportedly founded by the tribe of Banu Hanifa
Banu Hanifa
Banu Hanifa were an ancient Arab tribe inhabiting the area of al-Yamama in the central region of modern-day Saudi Arabia. The tribe belonged to the great Rabi'ah branch of North Arabian tribes, which also included 'Anizzah, Abd al-Qays, Bakr, and Taghlib...

. Hajr served as the capital of the province of Al Yamamah, whose governors were responsible for most of central and eastern Arabia during the Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 and Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 eras. Al-Yamamah broke away from the Abbasid Empire in 866 and the area fell under the rule of the Ukhaydhirites, who moved the capital from Hajr to nearby Al Kharj. The city then went into a long period of decline. In the 14th century North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

n traveller Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta
Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Battuta , or simply Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad–Din , was a Muslim Moroccan Berber explorer, known for his extensive travels published in the Rihla...

 wrote of his visit to Hajr, describing it as "the main city of Al-Yamamah, and its name is Hajr". Ibn Battuta goes on to describe it as a city of canals and trees with most of its inhabitants belonging to Bani Hanifa, and reports that he continued on with their leader to Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 to perform the Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

.

Later on, Hajr broke up into several separate settlements and estates. The most notable of these were Migrin (or Muqrin) and Mi'kal, though the name Hajr continued to appear in local folk poetry. The earliest known reference to the area by the name Riyadh comes from a 17th-century chronicler reporting on an event from the year 1590. In 1737, Deham ibn Dawwas, a refugee from neighboring Manfuha
Manfuha
Manfuha was an ancient village in the Nejd region of central Saudi Arabia. Established on the edge of the narrow, fertile valley known as Wadi Hanifa, Manfuha was until the mid-20th century considered a twin village to the current Saudi capital of Riyadh....

, took control of Riyadh. Ibn Dawwas built a single wall to encircle the various quarters of Riyadh, making them effectively a single town.

The three Saudi states


In 1744, Muhammad ibn Abdel Wahhab formed an alliance with Muhammad ibn Saud, the ruler of the nearby town of Diriyah
Diriyah
Al-Diriyah is a town in Saudi Arabia located on the northwestern outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Diriyah was the original home of the Saudi royal family, and served as the capital of the first Saudi dynasty from 1744 to 1818...

. Ibn Saud then set out to conquer the surrounding region with the goal of bringing it under the rule of a single Islamic state. Ibn Dawwas of Riyadh led the most determined resistance, allied with forces from Al Kharj, Al Ahsa
Al-Hasa
Al-Ahsa is the largest governorate in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, named after Al-Ahsa oasis. The name Al-Ahsa is also given to the biggest city in the region, Hofuf. In classic Arabic, Ahsa means the sound of water underground. It has one of the largest oases in the world with Date Palms of...

, And the Banu Yam
Banu Yam
Banu Yam are a large tribe native to Najran Province in Saudi Arabia, and are the principal tribe of that area. They belong to the Qahtanite branch of Arabian tribes, specifically the group known as Hamdan, and are therefore native to southwestern Arabia....

 clan of Najran
Najran
Najran , formerly known as Aba as Sa'ud, is a city in southwestern Saudi Arabia near the border with Yemen. It is the capital of Najran Province. Designated a New town, Najran is one of the fastest-growing cities in the kingdom; its population has risen from 47,500 in 1974 and 90,983 in 1992 to...

.

However, Ibn Dawwas fled and Riyadh capitulated to the Saudis in 1774, ending long years of wars, and leading to the declaration of the First Saudi State
First Saudi State
The First Saudi State was established in the year 1744 when imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Prince Muhammad ibn Saud formed an alliance to establish a religious & political sovereignty determined to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of heretical practices and deviations from orthodox Islam...

.

The First Saudi State
First Saudi State
The First Saudi State was established in the year 1744 when imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Prince Muhammad ibn Saud formed an alliance to establish a religious & political sovereignty determined to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of heretical practices and deviations from orthodox Islam...

 was destroyed by forces sent by Muhammad Ali of Egypt
Muhammad Ali of Egypt
Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha was a commander in the Ottoman army, who became Wāli, and self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan...

, acting on behalf of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Ottoman forces razed the Saudi capital Diriyah
Diriyah
Al-Diriyah is a town in Saudi Arabia located on the northwestern outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Diriyah was the original home of the Saudi royal family, and served as the capital of the first Saudi dynasty from 1744 to 1818...

 in 1818. In 1823, Turki ibn Abdallah
Turki ibn Abdallah
*Fahd bin Turki*Jiluwi bin Turki*Faisal bin Turki*Abdallah bin TurkiTurki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad was the founder of the Second Saudi State and ruled the area of Najd during the period from 1821-1834 following administration by the Ottoman Empire.-Kingship:Leadership of the House of Saud passed...

, the founder of the Second Saudi State
Second Saudi State
The Second Saudi State existed during the 19th century when the rule of the House of Saud was restored to central and eastern Arabia after having previously been brought down by an Ottoman-Egyptian invasion in 1818...

, revived the state and chose Riyadh as the new capital. Internecine struggles between Turki's grandsons led to the fall of the Second Saudi State
Second Saudi State
The Second Saudi State existed during the 19th century when the rule of the House of Saud was restored to central and eastern Arabia after having previously been brought down by an Ottoman-Egyptian invasion in 1818...

 in 1891 at the hand of the rival Al Rashid clan, who ruled from the northern city of Ha'il
Ha'il
Ha'il , also spelled Hail, Ha'yel, or Hayil, is an oasis city in Nejd in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is the capital of the Ha'il Province. The city has a population of 356,876 according to Ha'il Province....

. Riyadh itself fell under the rule of Al Rashid in 1865. The al-Masmak fort dates from this period.

The city was recaptured in 1902 from the Al Rashid family by King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. He went on to establish the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 in 1932, with Riyadh the capital of the nation.

Geography


Population


The city has experienced very high rates of population growth, from 150,000 inhabitants in the 1960s to over 5 million, according to the most recent sources.
Year Population
1918 18,000
1924 30,000
1944 50,000
1952 80,000
1960 150,000
1972 500,000
1974 650,000
1978 760,000
1987 1,389,000
1990 2,110,000
1992 2,776,000
1997 3,100,000
2001 4,137,000
2009 4,878,723
Est 2010 5,254,560

Climate


Summer temperatures are very hot, approaching 50 degrees Celsius. The average high temperature in July is 43.5°C. Winters are mild with cold, windy nights. The overall climate is arid, receiving very little rainfall. It is also known to have many dust storms. The dust is often so thick that visibility is under 10 meters.

City districts


Riyadh is divided into 15 branch municipalities, in addition to the Diplomatic Quarter. Each branch municipality in turn contains several districts, though some districts are divided between more than one branch municipality.

The branch municipalities are Al-Shemaysi, Irqah
Irqah
Irqah is a town in the west Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.-External links:* *...

, Al-Ma'athar, Al-Olayya, Al-Aziziyya, Al-Malaz, Al-Selayy, Nemar, Al-Neseem, Al-Shifa, Al-'Urayja, Al-Bat'ha, Al-Ha'ir, Al-Rawdha, and Al-Shimal ("the North"). Although the Riyadh Development Authority conducts projects in Dir'iyyah, administratively, Al-Diriyah is a separate city outside of the Riyadh Municipality and is the seat of its own governorate.

According to the website of the Riyadh Municipality, Riyadh contains more than 130 districts.

Examples of some of the main districts of Riyadh are the following:

  • Al-Bat'ha
    • Al-Dirah (old Riyadh)
    • Mi'kal
    • Manfuha
      Manfuha
      Manfuha was an ancient village in the Nejd region of central Saudi Arabia. Established on the edge of the narrow, fertile valley known as Wadi Hanifa, Manfuha was until the mid-20th century considered a twin village to the current Saudi capital of Riyadh....

    • Manfuha Al-Jadidah (منفوحة الجديدة – "new Manfuha")
    • Al-'Oud
    • Al-Margab
    • Salam
    • Jabrah
    • Al-Yamamah
    • 'Otayyigah

  • Al-'Olayya & Sulaymaniyyah
    • Al-'Olayya
    • Al-Sulaymaniyyah
    • Al Izdihar
    • King Fahd District
    • Al-Masif
    • Al-Murooj
    • Al-Mugharrazat
    • Al-Wurood

  • Nemar
    • Nemar
    • Dharat Nemar
    • Tuwaiq
    • Hazm
    • Deerab

  • Irqah
    • Irqah
      Irqah
      Irqah is a town in the west Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.-External links:* *...

    • Al-Khozama

  • Diplomatic Quarter

  • Al-Shemaysi
    • Al-Shemaysi
    • Eleyshah
    • Al-Badi'ah
    • Syah
    • Al-Nasriyyah
    • Umm Sleym
    • Al-Ma'athar
    • Umm Al-Hamam (East)

  • Al-Ma'athar
    • Al-Olayya
    • Al-Nakheel
    • King Saud University
      King Saud University
      King Saud University is a public university located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was founded in 1957 by King Saud bin Abdul Aziz as Riyadh University, as the first university in the kingdom not dedicated to religious subjects. The university was created to meet the shortage of skilled workers in...

       main campus
    • Umm Al-Hamam (East)
    • Umm Al-Hamam (West)
    • Al-Ma'athar Al-Shimali ("North Ma'athar")
    • Al-Rahmaniyya
    • Al-Muhammadiyya
    • Al-Ra'id

  • Al-Ha'ir
    • Al-Ha'ir
    • Al-Ghannamiyyah
    • Uraydh

  • Al-'Aziziyyah
    • Ad Dar Al Baida
    • Taybah
    • Al Mansouriyah

  • Al-Malaz
    • Al-Malaz
    • Al-Rabwah
    • Jarir
    • Al-Murabba'

  • Al-Shifa
    • Al-Masani'
    • Al-Shifa
    • Al-Mansuriyya
    • Al-Marwah

  • Al-Urayja
    • Al-Urayja
    • Al-Urayja Al-Wusta ("Mid-Urayja")
    • Al-Urayja (West)
    • Shubra
    • Dharat Laban
    • Hijrat Laban
    • As-Suwaidi
    • As-Suwaidi (West)
    • Sultanah

  • Al-Shemal
    • Al-Malga
    • Al-Sahafa
    • Hittin
    • Al-Wadi
    • Al-Ghadir
    • Imam Muhammad ibn Saud University main campus
    • Al-Qayrawan
    • Al-Aqiq

  • Al-Naseem
    • Al-Naseem (East)
    • Al-Naseem (West)
    • As-Salam
    • Al-Manar
    • Al-Rimayah
    • Al-Nadheem
    • Al-Rayyan

  • Al-Rawdhah
    • Al-Rawdhah
    • Al-Qadisiyah
    • Al-M'aizliyyah
    • Al-Nahdhah
    • Gharnatah (Granada)
    • Qortubah (Cordoba)
    • Al-Hamra
    • Al-Qouds

  • Al-Selayy
    • Al-Selayy
    • Ad Difa'
    • Al Iskan
    • Khashm Al-'Aan
    • Al-Sa'adah
    • Al-Fayha
    • Al-Manakh

Olaya District
Olaya (Riyadh)
Olaya District is a growing financial district in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Located in the north side of the city, It hosts important sites and famous local landmarks, such as the Kingdom Centre, which houses the Four Seasons luxurious hotel...

 is the commercial heart of the city, with accommodation, entertainment, dining and shopping options. The Kingdom Center, Al Faisalyah
Al Faisaliyah Center
The Al Faisaliyah Center is a commercial skyscraper located in the business district of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is the second tallest building in Saudi Arabia after the Kingdom Centre. Immediately below it an outside viewing deck; at ground level, there is a shopping center with major world brands...

 and Al-Tahlya Street are the area's most prominent landmarks.

The Diplomatic Quarter, or DQ as it is popularly known, is home to foreign embassies and international organizations as well as residential structures and malls. With lush gardens and numerous sports facilities, it is also one of the city's greenest areas. It is especially known for its fine architecture, and is considered a model for other Islamic cities around the world. Despite its name, the special privileges offered in the Diplomatic Quarter constitute a controversial issue. All Saudi laws must be obeyed and there are occasional patrols by the Mutaween
Mutaween
The word mutaween most literally means "volunteers" in the Arabic language, and is commonly used as a casual term for the government-authorized or government-recognized religious police of Saudi Arabia....

, or Saudi religious police. However, foreign diplomats and their families are allowed certain privileges and it is not very uncommon to see foreign diplomats and their wives strolling on the streets of the DQ in shorts and short-sleeve shirts.
The centre of the city, Al-Bathaa
Al-Bathaa
Al-Bathaa is a district in downtown Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and one of the oldest sections of the city. Although it has lost its influence and is gradually being replaced by new shopping districts, the area is still known as an area for cheap lodging and shopping. It is a place where many...

 and Al-Dirah, is also its oldest part. At its heart lies the 19th-century Al Masmak fort, which is one of the city's major attractions; to the west lies the Riyadh Museum of History and Archeology and the Murabba' Palace, an old residence of first Saudi king, Ibn Saud, now a museum. The Qasr Al-Hukm, or Palace of Justice, is nearby. It is here that the Governor of Riyadh Province meets citizens, listens to their grievances and problems, and stays abreast of all aspects of the region's life. The Al-Dira area also contains commercial markets and traditional buildings, such as the Al-Mu'eiqilia market and the city's Grand Mosque.

Vernacular Architecture of Old Riyadh


The old town of Riyadh within the city Walls did exceed an area of 1 square km, therefore there are very few significant architectural remnants of the original walled oasis town of Riyadh exist today. The most prominent is the al-Masmak fort and some parts of the original wall structure with its gate which have been restored and reconstructed. There are also a number of traditional mud-brick houses within these old limits, however they are for the most part dilapidated.

Expansion outside the city walls was slow to begin with although there were some smaller oases and settlements surrounding Riyadh. The first major construction beyond the walls was King Abdulaziz's Murabba' palace. It was constructed in 1936, completed in 1937 and a household of 800 people moved into it in 1938. The palace was big enough to be mistaken as the city of Riyadh by travellers approaching it from the north. During the life King Abdulaziz, the palace was subject to numerous expansions (of grounds and buildings). It was constructed in the style of Najdi architecture of mud-bricks and marked a level of architectural maturity that was unprecedented on that scale.
Nowadays, only a fragment of what it encompassed is restored and rebuilt in the traditional manner. However, the palace is now part of a bigger complex called "The King Abdulaziz Historical Centre".

There are other traditional villages and towns in the area around traditional Riyadh which the urban sprawl reached and currently encompasses. These are Diriyah
Diriyah
Al-Diriyah is a town in Saudi Arabia located on the northwestern outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Diriyah was the original home of the Saudi royal family, and served as the capital of the first Saudi dynasty from 1744 to 1818...

, Manfuha and Wadi Laban to name a few. Unlike in the early days of development in Riyadh during which vernacular structures were razed to the ground without consideration, there is a new-found appreciation for traditional architecture.

Burj Al Mamlakah



The 99-floor, 300 m (1000 ft) high Kingdom Centre (Arabic: برج المملكة‎) is the tallest skyscraper in Riyadh and the 67th tallest building in the world. The tower is built on 94,230 square meters of land. The Kingdom Centre is owned by a group of companies including Kingdom Holding Co. headed by Al-Waleed bin Talal
Al-Waleed bin Talal
Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal is a Saudi Arabian billionaire and member of the Saudi royal family. He is the nephew of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. An entrepreneur and international investor he has amassed a fortune through investments in real estate and the stock market.He is founder and CEO of...

, a prince of the Saudi royal family, and is the headquarters of his holding company, the Kingdom Holding Company
Kingdom Holding Company
Kingdom Holding Company is a public holding company headquartered in Kingdom Centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and is the largest company in Saudi Arabia. It is controlled by Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz, and is headquartered in the city of Riyadh...

. The project cost 2 billion Saudi Arabian Riyals and the contract was undertaken by Saudi Arabia's EL-Seif Engineering Contracting Co.. The Kingdom Centre is located on Al-Urubah Road between King Fahd Road and Olaya Street in the growing business district of Al-Olaya. The Kingdom Centre is the winner of the 2002 Emporis Skyscraper Award
Emporis Skyscraper Award
The Emporis Skyscraper Award is an award for architectural excellence regarding the design of buildings and their functionality.The award is presented annually by Emporis to the building representing the "Best new skyscraper for design and functionality". To qualify, nominated buildings must have...

, selected as the "best new skyscraper of the year for design and functionality". A three-level shopping center, which also won a major design award, fills the east wing. The large opening is illuminated at night in continuously changing colors. The shopping center has a separate floor for women only to shop where men are not allowed to enter.

Burj Al Faisaliyah


Al Faisaliyah Center (Arabic: برج الفيصلية‎) is the first skyscraper constructed in Saudi Arabia, and is the second tallest building in Riyadh after the Kingdom Center
Kingdom Centre
Kingdom Centre also called Al Mamlaka Tower is a skyscraper located in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is currently the second tallest skyscraper in Saudi Arabia with a height of . It's also the third tallest building with a hole in the world . AL-Mamlka Tower contains a total of 41 floors...

. The golden ball that lies atop the tower is said to be inspired by a ballpoint pen, and contains a restaurant; immediately below this is an outside viewing deck. There is a shopping center with major world brands at ground level. Al Faisaliyah Center also has a hotel at both sides of the tower while the main building is occupied by offices run by different companies.

Riyadh TV Tower



The Riyadh TV Tower (170m high) has an observation deck and was built in the 1970s.

Ministry of Interior Building


The headquarters for the country's Interior Ministry has a unique design of an upside down pyramid or an alien space ship.

Al Masmak Castle



This castle was built around 1865 under the reign of Mohammed ibn Abdullah ibn Rasheed (1289–1315 AH), the ruler of Ha'il
Ha'il
Ha'il , also spelled Hail, Ha'yel, or Hayil, is an oasis city in Nejd in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is the capital of the Ha'il Province. The city has a population of 356,876 according to Ha'il Province....

 to the north, who had wrested control of the city from the rival clan of Al Saud. In January 1902 Ibn Saud, who was at the time living in exile in Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 succeeded in capturing the Masmak fortress from its Rashid garrison. The event, which restored Saudi control over Riyadh, has acquired almost mythical status in the history of Saudi Arabia. The story of the event is often retold, and has as its central theme the heroism and bravery of the future King Abd Abdulaziz Ibn Saud.

Economy


Riyadh is one of the richest cities in the Middle East and the 80th richest city in the world.Once a small walled city, Riyadh has developed into a dynamic metropolis
Metropolis
A metropolis is a very large city or urban area which is a significant economic, political and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections and communications...

 over the years. Along with the urban areas of Dhahran
Dhahran
Dhahran is a city located in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, and is a major administrative center for the Saudi oil industry. Large oil reserves were first identified in the Dhahran area in 1931, and in 1935 Standard Oil of California drilled the first commercially viable oil well...

, Dammam
Dammam
Dammam is the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, the most oil-rich region in the world. The judicial and administrative bodies of the province and several government departments are located in the city. Dammam is the largest city in the Eastern Province and third largest in Saudi...

, Khobar
Khobar
Khobar is a large city located in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the Persian Gulf. It has a population of 360,000 and forms part of the greater Dammam metropolitan area along with Dhahran, which together have a combined population of over two million...

 and Jeddah
Jeddah
Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

, Riyadh has become a focal point for both travel and trade.

In addition to being the center of power, the city is also a commercial hub. Numerous educational, financial, agricultural, cultural, technical, and social organizations have set up base here. The architecture is mostly modern, including contemporary high-rise towers, but the Al-Dira district, the nucleus of the city, has been rebuilt in a style meant to evoke the old mud-brick buildings of pre-20th century Nejd.

From the beginning of oil exploration in Saudi Arabia to the present day, the government has promoted growth in the private sector by privatizing industries such as power and telecommunications. Saudi Arabia announced plans for privatizing the electricity companies. A lot of these new private conglomerates
Conglomerate (company)
A conglomerate is a combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses that fall under one corporate structure , usually involving a parent company and several subsidiaries. Often, a conglomerate is a multi-industry company...

 and companies
Company
A company is a form of business organization. It is an association or collection of individual real persons and/or other companies, who each provide some form of capital. This group has a common purpose or focus and an aim of gaining profits. This collection, group or association of persons can be...

 headquarters are located in Riyadh, along with National Banks headquarters. Because of that, Riyadh is considered as the capital city financial and business center of the Middle East.

King Khalid International Airport
King Khalid International Airport
King Khalid International Airport is located north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, designed by the architectural firm HOK.The airport includes the terminals, mosque, the control tower and two parallel runways, each long...

 has a major impact on the commercial movement in Riyadh, providing air transportation for millions of people each year and shipping goods to the city from all continents.

When Sama
Sama (airline)
Sama LelTayaran Company Limited, operating as Sama, was a Saudi low-cost airline based at King Fahad International Airport, Dammam operating scheduled flights within Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The airline's registered address was in Riyadh....

, an airline, existed, its head office was in Riyadh.

King Fahd Road


King Fahd road is the main road in Riyadh city. Many business places in Riyadh prefer to locate their head offices on King Fahd road, and headquarters of major companies and organizations are located on both sides of the road. Huge malls, business towers and skyscrapers are widely distributed on this road. However, many roads are becoming more attractive to businesses as King Fahd road is now crowded most times of the day. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz road, Mohammed bin Fahd "Tahlia", Prince Sultan, north ring road have all became alternatives for business and companies' head offices.

The northern end reaches the Airport over another highway. According to many opinions, King Fahd Road is one of the most beautiful street in Saudi Arabia, making the road a popular tourist attraction. Famous landmarks such as Kingdom Centre
Kingdom Centre
Kingdom Centre also called Al Mamlaka Tower is a skyscraper located in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is currently the second tallest skyscraper in Saudi Arabia with a height of . It's also the third tallest building with a hole in the world . AL-Mamlka Tower contains a total of 41 floors...

, Al Faisaliyah Center
Al Faisaliyah Center
The Al Faisaliyah Center is a commercial skyscraper located in the business district of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is the second tallest building in Saudi Arabia after the Kingdom Centre. Immediately below it an outside viewing deck; at ground level, there is a shopping center with major world brands...

, Al Anoud Tower and the Ministry of Interior building are also located on King Fahd Road. However, it is fast becoming second to King Abdullah Street which has seen major building projects and a train track and tunnel system is currently under construction.

The Industrial City



The industrial areas are located on the East and the North-East of the city, including some of the world's largest factories of oil-related industries. Aramco has large operations in the area which includes oil refineries. Electricity and water-treatments plants supply the city with their much-needed energy and water, which also reach the nearby towns.

Demographics


As the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is a diverse city with residents from such places as South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), Yemen and Sudan. The population of Riyadh is 60% Saudi and 40% foreign, with foreigners mainly coming from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Yemen and Sudan. Many of these foreigners are more than just temporary residents; many migrated decades ago and have since become permanent residents of the city.

Culture



Cuisine


Like other Saudi cities, the Nejdi dish Kabsa
Kabsa
Kabsa is a family of rice dishes that are served mostly in Saudi Arabia — where it is commonly regarded as a national dish — and the other Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Kabsa, though, is believed to be indigenous to Yemen...

 is the most traditional meal in Riyadh. The Yemeni dish Mandi
Mandi (food)
Mandi is the traditional dish in Yemen native to Hadhramaut Province Yemen and many other Yemeni Cities known as Haneeth also.It is now very popular in the rest of the Arabian Peninsula and in many other Arab countries such as Egypt and Syria....

 is also popular meal, particularly as a lunchtime meal. Fast food is also popular in the city, with several multinational chains.

People living in Riyadh can also enjoy the diversity of international cuisine at the modern malls, hotels and restaurants. From fine dining high end dining to the local hidden desert stall Riyadh's selection is endless. There are great ways to discover the best eaters and restaurants in Riyadh and other cities around the kingdom. Food and dining in Saudi Arabia is the main form of entertainment and that is why it is also the most varied.

Museums and collections


In 1999 a new central Museum was built in Riyadh at the eastern side of the King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre
King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre
The King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre is a region in the city of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. It is not the "historic center" of the city as this lies to the south around Masmak fort and the main Friday Mosque" in the Dira district...

. This National Museum of Saudi Arabia
National Museum of Saudi Arabia
The National Museum of Saudi Arabia is a major national museum in Saudi Arabia. Established in 1999, it is part of the King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre in Riyadh.- The building :...

 combined several collections and pieces that had up till then been scattered over several Institutions and places in Riyadh and the Kingdom. For example the meteorite fragment known as the "Camel's Hump" that was on display at the King Saud University
King Saud University
King Saud University is a public university located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was founded in 1957 by King Saud bin Abdul Aziz as Riyadh University, as the first university in the kingdom not dedicated to religious subjects. The university was created to meet the shortage of skilled workers in...

 in Riyadh became the new entry piece of the National Museum of Saudi Arabia.

The Royal Saudi Air Force Museum
Royal Saudi Air Force Museum
The Royal Saudi Air Force Museum or Saqr Al-Jazira is located on the East Ring Road of Riyadh between exits 10 and 11. A Saudia Lockheed L-1011 Tristar serves as a gateguard visible from the ring road. Admission is Sr.10 for adults & Sr.5 for children...

 or Saqr Al-Jazira is located on the East Ring Road of Riyadh between exits 10 and 11. It contains a collection of aircraft and aviation-related items used by the Royal Saudi Air Force
Royal Saudi Air Force
The Royal Saudi Air Force , is the aviation branch of the Saudi Arabian armed forces. The RSAF has developed from a largely defensive military force into one with an advanced offensive capability...

 and Saudia.

Media



Riyadh is served by four Arabic, two English, and one Urdu language newspapers, Asharq Al-Awsat (which is owned by the city governor), Al-Riyadh, Al-Jazeera and Al-Watan
Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia)
Al-Watan is a leading reformist newspaper in Saudi Arabia. The main production centre is at Abha in the south of the country, close to the Yemen border.-External links:*...

. The Saudi Gazette and Arab News are in English, whereas the Urdu News is read by Urdu speakers in the city. Television stations serving the city area include Saudi TV1, Saudi TV2, Saudi TV Sports, Al-Ekhbariya, ART channels network
Arab Radio and Television Network
Arab Radio and Television Network is an Arabic-language television network characterized by its multitude of channels. It is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The company was founded in October 1993 by Saleh Abdullah Kamel, a Saudi businessman...

. Arabic is the main language used in television and radio but radio broadcasts are also made in different languages such as Urdu, French, or English; other languages are also used by cable, satellite and other speciality television providers. The Riyadh TV Tower is a 170 m (557.7 ft) high television tower with an observation deck overlooking Riyadh. Construction was begun on the tower in 1978 and finished in 1981. It is considered part of the Ministry of Information.

Sports


Football is the most popular sport in Riyadh. The city hosts four major football clubs, such as Al Shabab, which was established in 1947 and holds a good record in the Saudi Premier League
Saudi Premier League
The Saudi Professional League, officially known as , is the main football competition in Saudi Arabia. The first competition was held in the year of 1976–77...

. Al-Nasr
Al-Nasr
Al Nassr FC is a Saudi Arabian football club based in Riyadh. Formed in 1955 the club plays its home games at King Fahd Stadium and Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium. Its home colours are yellow and blue.-History:...

 club is another famous team in the league, which has been named champion of the Saudi League six times. It was established in 1955. Another well-known club, Al-Hilal
Al-Hilal
Al-Hilal Saudi Football Club , also known simply as Al-Hilal, is a Saudi Arabian sports club based in the country's capital of Riyadh and best known for its professional football team, known as Al-Hilal Saudi Football Club...

, was established in 1957 and has won ten championships. There is also Al-Riyadh
Al-Riyadh
Al-Riyadh is a Saudi Arabian football club based in Riyadh that is currently playing in the Second Division .Although it can be known by their football team, Al-Riyadh also have squads playing at other sports....

 Club, which was established in 1954, and many other minor clubs.

The city also hosts several large stadiums such as King Fahd International Stadium with a seating capacity of 70,000. The stadium hosted the FIFA Confederations Cup
FIFA Confederations Cup
The FIFA Confederations Cup is an association football tournament for national teams, currently held every four years by FIFA. It is contested by the winners of each of the six FIFA confederation championships , along with the FIFA World Cup winner and the host nation, to bring the number of teams...

 three times, in the years 1992
1992 King Fahd Cup
-Semi-finals:-----Third place play-off:-Final:-Goalscorers:2 goals Gabriel Batistuta Bruce Murray1 goal Alberto Acosta Ricardo Altamirano...

, 1995
1995 King Fahd Cup
-Group B:---------Third place play-off:-Final:-Goalscorers:3 goals Luis García2 goals Gabriel Batistuta Peter Rasmussen Daniel Amokachi1 goal José Chamot Ariel Ortega Sebastián Rambert Brian Laudrup Michael Laudrup...

 and 1997
1997 FIFA Confederations Cup
-Group B:---------------------Knockout stage:-Semi-finals:-----Third place play-off:-Final:-Awards:-Top scorers:7 goals Romário5 goals Vladimír Šmicer4 goals Ronaldo-References:...

. And also the FIFA U-20 World Cup
FIFA U-20 World Cup
The FIFA U-20 World Cup, until 2005 known as the FIFA World Youth Championship, is the world championship of football for male players under the age of 20 and is organized by Fédération Internationale de Football Association...

 in 1989.

Cricket is also the second most popular sport in Riyadh. Cricket is mostly played by the expat population, who are predominantly from the Indian Sub continent.

Language



The Riyadh city area has a distinctive regional speech pattern called the Najdi dialect. It is often considered to be one of the most recognizable accents within the Arabic language. Najdi Arabic is widely spoken in the desert regions of central and eastern Saudi Arabia. English is also widely spoken and is understood by many residents of Riyadh.

Airports


Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport
King Khalid International Airport
King Khalid International Airport is located north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, designed by the architectural firm HOK.The airport includes the terminals, mosque, the control tower and two parallel runways, each long...

 (IATA: RUH), located 35 kilometers north from the city center, is the city's main airport. It's one of the seven international airports in the country serving over 20 million passengers a year. This Airport faces a huge load of passengers which is increasing every year, especially during the Muslim festive season in which mostly foreign residents travel to their home countries. In addition, there also the (Riyadh old airport) or (Riyadh Air Base airport) as it names know, the Air Base airport now is use via official delegations and dignitaries.

Highways


The city is served by a modern major highway system. The main Eastern Ring Road connects the city's south and north, while the Northern Ring Road connects the city's east and west. King Fahd Road runs through the center of the city from north to south, in parallel with the East Ring Road. Makkah Road, which runs east-west across the city's center, connects eastern parts of the city with the city's main business district and the diplomatic quarters.

Railway


Saudi Railway Authority
Saudi Railway Authority
The Saudi Railway Authority was established by the government of Saudi Arabia to manage the country's railway system.The first line was established in the 1960s to run between Riyadh and Dammam. The network will be expanded with the Saudi Landbridge Project and Haramain High Speed Rail...

 operates two separate passenger and cargo lines between Riyadh and Dammam
Dammam
Dammam is the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, the most oil-rich region in the world. The judicial and administrative bodies of the province and several government departments are located in the city. Dammam is the largest city in the Eastern Province and third largest in Saudi...

 passing through Hofuf
Hofuf
Al-Hofuf is the major urban center in the Al-Ahsa Oasis in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.- Overview :...

, and Haradh
Haradh
Haradh is a small village in Al-Hasa, Saudi Arabia. Haradh is famous for its oil-rich and gas-rich fields. Several oil plants and a gas plant are located in the Haradh area.- Oil :Haradh is located on top of the massive Ghawar Field...

. Two future railway projects connecting Riyadh with Jeddah
Jeddah
Jeddah, Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda is a city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The...

 and Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 in the western region and connecting Riyadh with Buraidah
Buraidah
Buraidah is the capital of Al-Qassim Province in northcentral Saudi Arabia in the heart of the Arabian peninsula. Buraidah lies equidistant from the Red Sea to the west and the Persian Gulf to the east...

, Ha'il
Ha'il
Ha'il , also spelled Hail, Ha'yel, or Hayil, is an oasis city in Nejd in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It is the capital of the Ha'il Province. The city has a population of 356,876 according to Ha'il Province....

 and Northern Saudi Arabia are underway. Developers are the RC corporation, wholly owned by H O’Donovan, W Daly and S Burgoyne, however, are now being built single-handedly by H O'Donovan.

Public transport


The Saudi Arabian Public Transport Co. (SAPTCO), the national bus system, runs a fleet of buses that provides public transportation inside the city, and also an extending service transporting passengers to several cities across the kingdom and neighboring countries.

An electric sky train
Monorail
A monorail is a rail-based transportation system based on a single rail, which acts as its sole support and its guideway. The term is also used variously to describe the beam of the system, or the vehicles traveling on such a beam or track...

 system has been approved and the first phase will be installed in King Abdullah Road, King Fahd Road and Al Olaya Road. It will run for 25 km and will include communication services such as phones and internet.

Hospitals

Tel: 01-493-3000

Tel: 01-44-55-049 ext 1099, 1026, 1122


  • Dr.Sulaiman Al-Habib
    Sulaiman Al-Habib
    -Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib:Dr. Sulaiman Abdulaziz Al-Habib born in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia is the founder and the Chairman of Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group which owns and operates a number of hospitals and medical centers in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Bahrain....

     Medical Complex in Olaya
    Olaya
    Olaya is a municipality in the Colombian department of Antioquia.Olaya is a city located in northern IraqOlaya is a modern commercial area in northern Riyadh...

     - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Dr.Sulaiman Al-Habib
    Sulaiman Al-Habib
    -Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib:Dr. Sulaiman Abdulaziz Al-Habib born in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia is the founder and the Chairman of Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group which owns and operates a number of hospitals and medical centers in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Bahrain....

     hospital
    Hospital
    A hospital is a health care institution providing patient treatment by specialized staff and equipment. Hospitals often, but not always, provide for inpatient care or longer-term patient stays....

     in arryan- Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Obeid Specialized Hospital, Farazdaq St, Al- Malaz - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Al Hammady Hospital - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Al Mashary Hospital - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Al Mowasat Hospital - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Al Shumaisi government hospital - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Armed Force Hospital - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Prince Sultan Cardiac Center - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Al Yamama Hospital - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Dallah Hospital - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Green Crescent Hospital - Riyadh
  • Home Doctor G.C.H.S. - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Riyadh Military Hospital
    Riyadh Military Hospital
    The Riyadh Military Hospital also known as Riyadh Armed Forces Hospital is located in Riyadh City, the capital of Saudi Arabia, considered as one of the most advanced centres in the Middle East. It is located in the heart of Riyadh. At a distance of approximately 20 Kilometres from the city centre...

     - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Specialized Medical Center - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • Saudi German Hospital - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • King Abdulaziz Medical City - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • King Abdulaziz University Hospital - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • King Fahad Hospital - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...

  • King Fahad Medical City - Riyadh
    Riyadh
    Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Najd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to 5,254,560 people, and the urban center of a...


External links