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Riyadh

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Best Time: November-March Read More

Ideal duration: 2 days

Nearest Airport: Riyadh Check Flights

"Riyadh: The largest city of Saudi Arabia"

Riyadh Tourism

Riyadh is considered as the most straight-laced of the Saudi Arabia's big three cities. With most forms of entertainment banned, few sights of interest and a brutal climate, Riyadh is mostly a business destination. Although everyone adheres to the dress code thawb for men and abaya for women, you might come across many Saudis in Westerized clothing.

The name Riyadh is derived from the Arabic word meaning a place of gardens and trees ("rawdah"). With many wadis (a former water course, now dry) in the vicinity, Riyadh has been since antiquity a fertile area set in the heartland of the Arabian Peninsula. Riyadh is the capital city as well as the most populous city of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which lies in the Central Region called Najd, on a sedimentary plateau 600 meters above sea level. It has a very dry climate and rainfall, but a good underground water supply makes it one of the few natural fertile areas in the Kingdom outside the south-west. Due to its size, the weather is dry and hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Temperatures range from 20-36 degrees celsius. The successful transformation of a traditional sedentary and nomadic society into a modern urban one finds no more effective example than in Riyadh today. Riyadh now rivals any modern city in the world in the splendor of its architecture. It has its own radio television production complex, satellite telecommunications facilities, the largest and most modern university campus in the Kingdom, colleges, schools, hospitals, clinics and specialist health care centers.

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History of Riyadh

Until the 16th century, Riyadh (or, more accurately, Ar-Riyadh) was known by the name¾Hajr. In the Middle Ages, Hajr served as the capital of the province of Al-Yamamah, whose viceroys presided over most of central and eastern Arabia. Only a hundred years ago, Riyadh was a dusty walled town of under 20,000 people surrounded by palm groves, fertile wadis, and a number of small villages. Riyadh (or, rather, the neighboring hamlet of Diriyah) is the ancestral home of the al-Sauds. Driven out by the Rashids in 1891, King Abdulaziz ibn Saud famously raided and recaptured the city in 1902. The city was made the capital of Saudi Arabia when the country was born in 1932, and has grown explosively ever since then

Nightlife in Riyadh

Riyadh looks beautiful at night lights, to spend a night, you can go to a "western"style coffee shop like starbucks, or you can go to a "traditional" style of coffee places where you can order shishah with mint tea. Aside from the restaurants and hotels wherein both families and singles can enjoy, there are no other nightlife activites in Riyadh in Western sense like bar, clubs, discotheque etc.Though male can enjoy drinks and coffee along Tahlia street where they have numerous coffeeshops and restaurants which are mostly for singles.

Shopping in Riyadh

Saudi weekend begins on Wednesday afternoon. Shopping malls announce their new promotions to coincide with weekend and all the malls are overcrowded. So, unless you are hunting for a bargain on some favorite item, don't go shopping on Wednesday evening. Thursday morning is always a better option.Shopping for winter clothes in Riyadh during the time of November to mid January could be pricey prior to the •end season saleê in which most tags lowers down to 70% discount, that is between January to February.

Currency in Riyadh

Traveler's check and credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard, and American Express are widely accepted. No other currency is accepted in Riyadh other than Saudi Riyal.

Exchanging Money in Riyadh

ATM Machines are everywhere with English language, some of them also allows to withdraw local riyals or US dollars. National bank and Al rajhi are the two banks at Riyadh airport where currency exchange is available 24 hours.

Daily Budget for Riyadh

Daily budget for a budget traveler: 60-70 SAR whereas for luxury travel it can go upto 100-120. Transportation: 1 way ticket(2SAR), Regular meal(15 SAR), Coke(1.60SAR), Water(0.33 SAR), Taxi(2.50SAR/KM)

Religion of Riyadh

Islam is the main religion of Riyadh,Saudi Arabia and its law reuires that all citizens must be muslims. Any overseas national attempting to acquire Saudi nationality must convert to Islam. For many reasons, non-Muslims are not permitted to enter the holy cities although some Western non-Muslims have been able to enter, disguised as Muslims.

Riyadh Customs

Never make an "O" sign with the hand and fingers as this is misconstrued as something else. For some westerners, an "O" sign would mean money. To the Saudis, its taboo as it symbolizes a woman's dignity. Clicking pictures of women and children are generally not allowed and hence one must take permission. Women are not allowed to drive. If you are a westerner and you want to drive, you must bring a male companion and expect some curious public eyes.If you are invited to a Saudi's house bring something small as a thank you.Men and women should not greet each other in public from outside the family. If one is invited to a Saudi house, one must remove his/her shoes, try to arrive at the invited time. If Saudi's call you home, take something small as a thank you and entertainment in the house will generally be same-sex only. If both sexes are included, they will be in separate rooms. Also, eat with the right hand as the left hand is considered unclean.

Language of Riyadh

Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia, but English is widely spoken. It is used in business and is a compulsory second language in schools. Among the non-Saudi population in Riyadh, many people speak Urdu, the official language of Pakistan, and other Asian languages such as Farsi and Turkish. Hello (Marhaba), Thanks(Shukran), Goodbye(ma'assalama).

Restaurants and Local Food in Riyadh

Some of the common food items in Saudi Arabian cuisine include wheat, rice, lamb, chicken, yogurt, potatoes and dates.¾Appetizing rice and vegetables, succulent tender beef and fresh chicken marinated with the finest spices is the best thing of Riyadh. Saudi steamed dough patties and saudi date dessert are a must try. The globe,Piatoo and Nozomi are some of the best restaurants in Riyadh.
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