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Hotels of Riyadh

A hotel in Riyadh is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Riyadh hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Riyadh are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Riyadh hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Riyadh hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Riyadh have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Riyadh
An upscale full service hotel facility in Riyadh that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Riyadh hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Riyadh
Full service Riyadh hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Riyadh
Boutique hotels of Riyadh are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Riyadh boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Riyadh may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Riyadh
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Riyadh travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Riyadh focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Riyadh
Small to medium-sized Riyadh hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Riyadh traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Riyadh hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Riyadh
A bed and breakfast in Riyadh is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Riyadh bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Riyadh B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Riyadh
Riyadh hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Riyadh hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Riyadh
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Riyadh hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Riyadh lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Riyadh
Riyadh timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Riyadh often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Riyadh on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Riyadh
A Riyadh motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Riyadh for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Riyadh motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Riyadh

Capital city
Nationalmus.JPG Masmak.JPG
Ministry of the interior, riyadh, saudi arabia (456560063).jpg K.K.I.A -TR-3 - panoramio.jpg
Clockwise from top left:
National Museum of Saudi Arabia, Masmak fort, King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh skyline in the evening seen from Al Faisaliyah Center with Kingdom Center in the back, Ministry of Interior building
Official seal of Riyadh
Riyadh is located in Saudi Arabia
Riyadh is located in Asia
Location of Riyadh within Saudi Arabia
Coordinates:  / 24.633; 46.717  / 24.633; 46.717
Country Saudi Arabia
• Riyadh Prince Governor Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud
• Mayor Ibraheem Mohammed Al-Sultan
• Total 1,798 km (694 sq mi)
Elevation 612 m (2,008 ft)
Population (2016)
• Total 6,506,700
• Density 3,600/km (9,400/sq mi)
Time zone AST (UTC+3)
• Summer (DST) AST (UTC+3)
Postal Code (5 digits)
Area code(s) +966-11
Website High Commission for the Development of Riyadh Riyadh Municipality
Riyadh Skyline showing the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) and the famous Kingdom Tower .jpg

Riyadh (/rɨˈjɑːd/; Arabic: الرياض‎‎ ar-Riyāḍ Najdi pronunciation: [er.rɪˈjɑːðˤ]) is the capital and most populous 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 home to more than six million people.

The city is divided into 15 municipal districts, managed by the Municipality of Riyadh headed by the mayor of Riyadh, and the Development Authority of Riyadh which is chaired by the governor of the Province, Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud. The current mayor is Ibrahim Mohammed Al-Sultan. Riyadh has been designated a global city.

Riyadh: History

Riyadh: Early history

During the Pre-Islamic era the city at the site was called Hajr (Arabic: حجر‎‎), and was reportedly founded by the tribe of Banu Hanifa. 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 and Abbasid 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 African traveller Ibn Battuta 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 to perform the Hajj.

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

Riyadh: Three Saudi States

1922 map Riyadh by Philby

In 1744, Muhammad ibn Abdel Wahhab formed an alliance with Muhammad ibn Saud, the ruler of the nearby town of Diriyah. 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, and the Banu Yam clan of Najran. 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, with Riyadh as its capital.

The First Saudi State was destroyed by forces sent by Muhammad Ali of Egypt, acting on behalf of the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman forces razed the Saudi capital Diriyah in 1818. They had maintained a garrison at Najd. This marked the decline of the House of Saud for a short time. Turki bin Abdullah bin Muhammad became the first Amir of the Second Saudi State; the cousin of Saud bin Saud, he ruled for 19 years till 1834, leading to the consolidation of the area though they were notionally under the control of the Muhammad Ali, the Viceroy of Egypt. In 1823, Turki ibn Abdallah chose Riyadh as the new capital. Following the assassination of Turki in 1834, his eldest son Faisal killed the assassin and took control, and refused to be controlled by the Viceroy of Egypt. Najd was then invaded and Faisal taken captive and held in Cairo. However, as Egypt became independent of the Ottoman Empire, Faisal escaped after five years of incarceration, returned to Najd and resumed his reign, ruled till 1865, and consolidated the reign of House of Saud.

Following the death of Faisal, there was rivalry among his sons which situation was exploited by Muhammad bin Rashid who took most part of Najd, signed a treaty with the Ottomans and also captured Hasa in 1871. In 1889, Abdul Rahman bin Faisal, the third son of Faisal again regained control over Najd and ruled till 1891, where after the control was regained by Muhammad bin Raschid.

Internecine struggles between Turki's grandsons led to the fall of the Second Saudi State in 1891 at the hand of the rival Al Rashid clan, which ruled from the northern city of Ha'il. The al-Masmak fort dates from that period.

Abdul Rahman bin Faisal al-Saud had sought refuge among a tribal community on the outskirts of Najd and then went to Kuwait with his family and stayed in exile. However, his son Abdul Aziz retrieved his ancestral kingdom of Najd in 1902 and consolidated his rule by 1926 and further expanded his kingdom to cover "most of the Arabian Peninsula". He named his kingdom as Saudi Arabia in September 1932 with Riyadh as the capital. King Abdul Aziz died in 1953 and his son Saud took control as per the established succession rule of father to son from the time Muhammad bin Saud had established the Saud rule in 1744. However, this established line of succession was broken when King Saud was succeeded by his brother King Faisal in 1964. In 1975, Faisal was succeeded by his brother King Khalid. In 1982, King Fahd took the reins from his brother. This new line of succession is among the sons of King Abdul Aziz who has 35 sons; this large family of Ibn Saud hold all key positions in the large kingdom.

Riyadh: Modern history

From the 1940s, Riyadh "mushroomed" from a relatively narrow, spatially isolated town into a spacious metropolis. When King Saud came to power, he made it his objective to modernize Riyadh, and began developing Annasriyyah, the royal residential district, in 1950. Following the example of American cities, new settlements and entire neighbourhoods were created in grid-like squares of a chess board and connected by high-performance main roads to the inner areas. The grid pattern in the city was introduced in 1953. The population growth of the town from 1974-1992 averaged 8.2 percent per year.

Since the 1990s, there has been a series of terrorist attacks on locals and foreigners as well as protests against the royal family. On 13 November 1995, a car bomb which detonated outside a classroom building of the Saudi National Guard left six dead, and injured over 60 people. On 12 May 2003, 34 people died in a suicide attack targeting American civilians. On 8 November 2003, a suicide truck bomb attack in the Muhiya residential area with Saudis and Arab foreigners was responsible for killing 18 and injuring 122 people. Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attacks. On 23 June 2006, Saudi security forces stormed a suspected hideout of al-Qaeda in the neighborhood of al-Nakhil; a bloody battle ensued during which six extremists and a policeman were killed. The current mayor of Riyadh is Ibrahim Mohammed Al Sultan, an experienced transport official. He was appointed mayor in 2015.

Riyadh has the largest all-female university in the world, the Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University.

Riyadh is now the administrative and to a great extent the commercial hub of the Kingdom. According to the Saudi Real Estate Companion, most large companies in the country establish either sole headquarters or a large office in the city. For this reason, there has been a significant growth in high rise developments in all areas of the city. Most notable among these is King Abdulla Financial District which is fast becoming the key business hub in the city.

Panoramic night view of Riyadh

Riyadh: Geography and climate

Riyadh: City districts

King Fahad Road

Riyadh is divided into fourteen branch municipalities, in addition to the Diplomatic Quarter. Each branch municipality in turn contains several districts, amounting to over 130 in total, though some districts are divided between more than one branch municipality. The branch municipalities are Al-Shemaysi, Irqah, 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"). Olaya District is the commercial heart of the city, with accommodation, entertainment, dining and shopping options. The Kingdom Center, Al Faisalyah and Al-Tahlya Street are the area's most prominent landmarks. The centre of the city, Al-Bathaa and Al-Dir'iyyah, is also its oldest part.

Some of the main districts of Riyadh are:

  • Al-Bat'ha
    • Al-Dir'iyyah (old Riyadh)
    • Mi'kal
    • Manfuha
    • Manfuha Al-Jadidah (منفوحة الجديدة – "new Manfuha")
    • Al-'Oud
    • Al-Mansorah
    • 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
    • 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 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
    • Al-Rayyan
    • 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
    • Al-Nafil
    • 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-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
  • King Abdullah Financial District

Riyadh: Climate

Classified as having a hot desert climate (Köppen: BWh), temperatures during the summer months are extremely hot. The average high temperature in August is 43.6 °C. Winters are warm with cool, windy nights. The overall climate is arid, and the city experiences very little rainfall, especially in summer, but receives a fair amount of rain in March and April. It is also known to have dust storms during which the dust can be so thick that visibility is under 10 m (33 ft). On 1 and 2 April 2015, a massive dust storm hit Riyadh, causing suspension of classes in many schools in the area and cancellation of hundreds of flights, both domestic and international.

Climate data for Riyadh (1985-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 31.5
Average high °C (°F) 20.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 14.4
Average low °C (°F) 9.0
Record low °C (°F) −2.2
Average rainfall mm (inches) 12.5
Average rainy days 6.1 4.3 9.4 11.3 3.3 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.0 0.5 3.3 6.3 44.8
Average relative humidity (%) 47 36 32 28 17 11 10 12 14 20 36 47 26
Mean monthly sunshine hours 212.4 226.6 219.8 242.3 287.7 328.2 332.1 309.2 271.6 311.4 269.2 214.3 3,224.8
Percent possible sunshine N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 72
Source: "Jeddah Regional Climate Center South West Asia".

Riyadh: Demographics

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1918 18,000 -
1924 30,000 +66.7%
1944 50,000 +66.7%
1952 80,000 +60.0%
1960 150,000 +87.5%
1972 500,000 +233.3%
1978 760,000 +52.0%
1987 1,389,000 +82.8%
1992 2,776,000 +99.9%
1997 3,100,000 +11.7%
2009 4,873,723 +57.2%
2013 5,899,528 +21.0%
2016 6,506,700 +10.3%
Source: Census data

The city had a population of 40,000 inhabitants in 1935 and 83,000 in 1949. 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. According to 2010 census, the population of Riyadh was composed of 65% Saudi families while non-Saudi families accounted for 35% of the population.

Riyadh: Landmarks and architecture

Riyadh: Vernacular architecture of Old Riyadh

The old town of Riyadh within the city walls did not exceed an area of 1 km, and therefore very few significant architectural remnants of the original walled oasis town of Riyadh exist today. The most prominent is the 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, but 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 1938, and a household of 800 people moved into it in 1938. 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 include Diriyah, Manfuha and Wadi Laban. 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. The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities is making efforts for revitalizing the historic architecture in Riyadh and other parts of the kingdom.

Riyadh: Archaeological sites

The archeological sites at Riyadh which are of historical importance, in which the Municipality of Riyadh is involved, are the five old gates on the old walls of Riyadh. These are the eastern gate of Thumaira, the northern gate of Al-suwailen, the southern gate of Dukhna, the western gate of Al-Madhbah and the south-western gate of Shumaisi. There are also four historic palaces, which are the Musmak Palace, the Al-Murabba Palace (palace of King Abdul Aziz), Prince Muhammad bin Abdul-Rahman and the Shamsiya Palace.

Masmak Fortress

Riyadh: Masmak Fortress

This fortress was built around 1865 under the reign of Mohammed ibn Abdullah ibn Rasheed (1289-1315 AH), the ruler of Ha'il 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 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 King Abd Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. The Masmak Fortress is now a museum and is in close proximity to the Clock Tower Square, also known as Chop Chop Square.

Riyadh: Contemporary architecture

Riyadh: Kingdom Tower

The tower is built on 94,230 square metres of land. The Kingdom Centre is owned by a group of companies including Kingdom Holding Company, headed by Al-Waleed bin Talal, a prince of the Saudi royal family, and is the headquarters of the holding company. The project cost 2 billion Saudi Arabian Riyals and the contract was undertaken by El-Seif. The Kingdom Centre is the winner of the 2002 Emporis Skyscraper Award, 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 colours. The shopping centre has a separate floor for women only to shop where men are not allowed to enter.

The Kingdom Tower has 99 stories and is the third tallest structure in the country (behind Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel in Mecca and Burj Rafal in Riyadh), rising to 300 m. A special aspect of the tower is that is divided into two parts in the last one third of its height and linked by a sky-bridge walkway, which provides stunning views of Riyadh.

Riyadh: Burj Rafal

Burj Rafal is the tallest skyscraper in Riyadh and towers 1,010 feet. Construction of Burj Rafal started at May 2011 and opened on June 2013, and it took approximately two years to finish. The skyscraper has about 350 rooms and is also one of the tallest hotels in the world. The building had a total cost of about million. It is located on King Fahd Road and was built by P&T architectures. This luxurious 5-Star hotel is part of the renowned German Hotel chain Kempinski.

Riyadh: Burj Al Faisaliyah

Al Faisaliyah Center

Al Faisaliyah Centre (Arabic: برج الفيصلية) is the first skyscraper constructed in Saudi Arabia, and is the third tallest building in Riyadh after the Burj Rafal and the Kingdom Centre. 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 centre with major world brands at ground level. Al Faisaliyah Centre also has a hotel at both sides of the tower while the main building is occupied by offices run by different companies. The Al Faisaliyah Tower has 44 stories.

Riyadh: Riyadh TV Tower

The Riyadh TV Tower is a 170 meter high television tower located inside the premises of Saudi Ministry of Information. It is vertical cantilever structure which was built between 1978-81, 9:23 PM, and this year was called TV Year. The first movie made in 1983 by the TV tower group and named "1,000 Nights and Night" had Mohammed Abdu and Talal Mmdah as the main characters. At that time, there were no women on TV because of religious restrictions. Three years later, Abdul Khaliq Al-Ghanim produced TV series called "Tash Ma Tash" earned a good reaction from audience in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. This series created a media revolution back in the 1980s.

Riyadh: Museums and collections

In 1999, a new central museum was built in Riyadh, at the eastern side of the King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre. The National Museum of Saudi Arabia combined several collections and pieces that had up until then been scattered over several institutions and other 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 in Riyadh became the new entry piece of the National Museum of Saudi Arabia.

The Royal Saudi Air Force Museum, 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 and Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines).

Riyadh: Sports

King Fahd International Stadium

Football is the most popular sport in Saudi Arabia. The city hosts four major football clubs, Al Hilal was established in 1957 and has won 15 championships in the Saudi Premier League. Al-Nasr club is another team in the top league that has many supporters around the kingdom. It was established in 1955, and has been named champion of the Saudi League 16 times. Another well-known club, Al-Shabab, was established in 1947 and holds 6 championships. There is also Al-Riyadh Club, which was established in 1954, as well as 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 three times, in the years 1992, 1995 and 1997. It also hosted the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1989.

The city's GPYW Indoor Stadium served as host arena for the 1997 Asian Basketball Championship, where Saudi Arabia's national basketball team reached the Final Four.

Riyadh: Transportation

Riyadh: Airport

Saudi Arabian Airlines ERJ-170 at Riyadh King Khalid International Airport

Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport (KKIA), located 35 kilometers north from the city center, is the city's main airport, and serves over 17 million passengers a year. Plans are being made to expand the airport to accommodate for 35 million passengers, given that the airport was only built for 12 million passengers annually. A possible new airport is on the table. It is one of the largest airports in the world.

Riyadh: Roads

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 centre, connects eastern parts of the city with the city's main business district and the diplomatic quarters.

Riyadh: Railways and metro

Saudi Railway Authority operates two separate passenger and cargo lines between Riyadh and Dammam passing through Hofuf, and Haradh. Two future railway projects, connecting Riyadh with Jeddah and Mecca in the western region, and connecting Riyadh with Buraidah, Ha'il and Northern Saudi Arabia are underway. A metro has also been approved, with six lines planned with scheduled opening in 2019.

Riyadh: Buses

The metro system will be integrated with a 85 kilometres (53 mi) three line bus rapid transit (BRT) network.

The main charter bus company in the kingdom, known as the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO), offers trips both within the kingdom and to its Neighboring countries, including Egypt (via ferries from Safaga or Nuweiba) and Arab states of the Arabian Gulf.

Riyadh: Media

The 170 m (560 ft) Riyadh TV Tower, operated by the Ministry of Information, was built between 1978 and 1981. National Saudi television channels Saudi TV1, Saudi TV2, Saudi TV Sports, Al-Ekhbariya, ART channels network operate from here. Television broadcasts are mainly in Arabic, although some radio broadcasts are in English or French. 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. Riyadh has four Arabic newspapers; Asharq Al-Awsat (which is owned by the city governor), Al-Riyadh, Al-Jazeera and Al-Watan, two English language newspapers; Saudi Gazette and Arab News, and one Malayalam language newspaper, Gulf Madhyamam.

Riyadh: References

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See also: Bibliography of the history of Riyadh
  • Craze, Joshua (2009). The Kingdom: Saudi Arabia and the Challenge of the 21st Century. Hurst Publishers. ISBN 978-1-85065-897-9.
  • Cybriwsky, Roman A. (23 May 2013). Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History, and Culture. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-61069-248-9.
  • Elsheshtawy, Yasser (27 May 2008). The Evolving Arab City: Tradition, Modernity and Urban Development. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-12821-1.
  • Facey, William (1 January 1992). Riyadh, the Old City: From Its Origins Until the 1950s. Immel Publishing. ISBN 978-0-907151-32-6.
  • Farsy, Fouad (1990). Modernity and Tradition: The Saudi Equation. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7103-0395-0.
  • Ham, Anthony (2004). Saudi Arabia. Lonely Planet. ISBN 978-1-74059-667-1.
  • Menoret, Pascal (2014). Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism and Road Revolt. Cambridge University Press.
  • Jordan, Craig (2011). The Travelling Triathlete: A Middle – Aged Man's Journey to Fitness. AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1-4670-0081-9.
  • Sloan, Stephen; Anderson, Sean K. (3 August 2009). Historical Dictionary of Terrorism. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-6311-8.
  • Sonbol, Amira (29 March 2012). Gulf Women (English edition). Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing. ISBN 978-99921-94-84-3.
  • Official website
  • A city portal of Riyadh
  • Saudi Arabian Information Resource
  • Riyadh travel guide from Wikivoyage
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