Historic Diriyah Fort, Riyadh

Ad Diriyah fell in late 1818 at the end of the Wahhabi war and was succeeded as the nation’s capital by the nearby settlement of Riyadh. The ruins of Al Turaif were designated a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2010 and the area has since been the subject of a painstaking restoration plan aimed at bringing its historical legacy back to life. While work at Ad Diriyah is still under way, there are ample heritage-rich sites that are open to the public.

As Saudi Arabia becomes increasingly recognized as a tourist destination, more and more of its best attractionshave been coming under the spotlight. One that has drawn the particular interest of travelers to the country of late is Diriyah.

The impressive oasis destination on the banks of Wadi Hanifa with its mud-brick ruins is an exquisite sight to behold in the Middle Eastern Kingdom. It carries important significance for the nation and is an absolutely unmissable destination for those with an interest in history.

The following guide explains just what tourists should expect from a visit to Diriyah and a little about its history. It also details why this destination should be anyone’s itinerary while in the country and how visitors can arrive and get the most from a trip to this amazing UNESCO Heritage Site.

Quick Facts About Diriyah

Diriyah is one of the oldest and most important heritage sites found in Saudi Arabia. It is the historic capital for Emirate of Diriyah, as well as the original home of the country’s ruling House of Saud.

Settlement of the area dates back as far as the time of the prophet Muhammed, although the city itself came to prominence during the 15th century. It remained a significant location in the Arabian Peninsula until internal fighting within the Ottoman Empire led to its destruction and abandonment in 1818. It has been referred to as some as a “sand blown Pompeii” due to its preserved walls and forts.

As the Saudi state has grown and modernized Diriyah has been recognized as a major World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is subsequently becoming one of the kingdom’s biggest tourist attractions.


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