THE OIL SERIES, DAY 3
First I’m heading to the old quarter to see Masamak Fort where the beginning of the Saudi revolution happened. It was here Abdulaziz Al Saud, out numbered 2:1 stormed the gates and seized power. From then he made an effort to unite the kingdom – the rest of Arabia creating The Kindgom of Saudi Arabia as it’s known as today.
It was well preserved and a nice area to walk around and see a traditional building compared to what is generally being construction now in Riyadh. I had a young boy and his father come up to me, look at my camera and ask if I was a photographer – far from it.
He was keen for me to take a photo of him and send it and I’ll never forget what he said, “this is going to be a great memory!” What a way to win me over 😆 it was just great to see a father and son enjoy spending time together.
Deera Square is just around the corner and is infamous in Riyadh as it’s where the executions happen. To think the area I am now standing in executes people in this day and age is incredible and frankly quite frightening.
Sometimes depending when the last execution was there could be blood on the ground so if you feel queasy I wouldn’t be going for a walk around.
Prayer time is 5 times a day and the noise that is created around the city is incredible. Make sure you are aware of the prayer times as everything shuts when prayer time is on. The Prayer Time app is very useful so you can plan your day around this although it’s not completely disruptive as it tends to only last for 15mins or so.
FALCONS OR RUGS
It was getting into the afternoon and now time to explore the souk. These markets are everywhere in the Middle East and where you can find literally everything from falcons to carpets to gold! It’s incredible what can be found here and unlike some souqs I’ve been to you aren’t hassled anywhere near as often!
Riyadh isn’t a new city by all means but it’s changing a currently updating much of its infrastructure. The city’s landmark is the Kingdom Centre, an impressive 300metre high, 99 floor skyscraper towering over the rest of the city. It’s uniquely shaped like a bottle opener which is ironic considering alcohol is illegal here.
I went to the observation deck during sunset and I’d have to say it is the only time you should consider going so you can see the city scape change during sunset.
Middle Eastern food is not something I’ve had a lot of out here but I have been recommended Naj village by various people. It’s only 5 minutes drive from the Kingdom Centre and as far as a tourist is concerned it’s authentic enough to be filled with locals.
Back to my hotel with the help of a friendly driver who offered me 10,000 Riyals for an Irish visa.
A great experience in a country which has only just opened its doors to mass tourism and therefore will likely go through considerable change.
The friendliest country in Africa? Click to read.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
- What did you think of Saudi Arabia?
- Would you return?
- Did you like the locals?
Let me know in the comments below . . .