With the ultra-modern and the traditional side-by-side, Riyadh is the heart and soul of contemporary Saudi Arabia. The story of the city and how it came to be the Kingdom’s capitol is known to all Saudi schoolchildren, many of whom have visited adjacent Al Diryah, the home of the first Saudi dynasty. Dating back to the late 1700s and an exemplary display of architecture that emerged in the desert at the hands of ingenious craftsmen and builders, this settlement offers a pleasant evening respite from the sounds and bustle of Saudi Arabia’s largest city.
Downtown Riyadh, centered around Olaya Street, is home to two of the most iconic skyscrapers in the world: the dramatic Kingdom Tower, the third tallest skyscraper in Saudi Arabia and the third tallest building in the world with a hole in it; and Al Faisalyah Tower, the fourth tallest building in the Kingdom. Both have viewing platforms that offer stunning, panoramic views of the city. Riyadh is also home to Princess Nourah University, the world’s largest women-only campus.
Even with a population of six million, Riyadh is a well-organized metropolis, designed on a grid that is crisscrossed by wide highways. Riyadh is also known for its traffic. So avoid morning and evening rush hours if at all possible.