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RECOMMENDED PROPERTIES IN RIYADH

RIYADH

Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia, located slightly east of the center of the country in the heart of the Tuwaiq escarpment.

Undoubtedly the top sight in Riyadh, the National Museum (opened in 1999) is done up with the latest technology and is very accessible to visitors, with almost everything available in English. There are so many video presentations and mini-theatres that you could probably spend an entire day here doing virtual tours of Madain Salih or watching re-enactments of the Prophet Mohammed's battle of Medina. Highlights include a kiswah cloth that once covered the Kaaba in Mecca. The display on plate tectonics starts with a quote from the Quran, the history of the Sauds, and the display on the birth of Mohammed, reached from the clash and noise of the Jahiliyyah (age of ignorance) by riding an escalator up into a room of soothing, pastel light while a choir of angels sings. Murabba Palace is Riyadh's second old mud-brick palace built by King Abdul Aziz after he conquered Masmak Fortress. This two-story structure does indeed look pretty intimidating, but permits are no longer needed to venture inside, where you can find sights including the first royal Rolls-Royce.

Undoubtedly Riyadh's most stunning piece of modern architecture, at 305m the Kingdom Centre is the second tallest building in Saudi Arabia and quite a sight, especially when lit up at night. The centre hosts an (expensive) three-story shopping mall, with one floor reserved for women, but the main reason to visit is the 99th-floor Skybridge connecting the two peaks at a height of 300m. Best visited at dusk or after dark, from here you'll get great views over the vast and flat but well-lit expanse of the city.

Masmak Fortress is the heart of old Riyadh, This was the fortress stormed by King Abdul Aziz and his men in their daring reconquest of Riyadh in 1902. Renovated in 2008 to an inch of its life, the mud brick structure now looks like it was built yesterday, but the museum inside does a pretty good job of recounting the story of the raid and has some fascinating photos of old Riyadh as well. Alas, the second half is devoted to extolling the greatness of the Sauds in everything from agriculture to education.

Souq al-Thumairi or known as Antique Souq, this is Riyadh's most touristy souq, which isn't saying all that much. It specializes in Arabic goods cheap and expensive, with carpets, coffee pots, daggers, jewelry and more.

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