Riyadh is the capital city of the oil-rich nation, Saudi Arabia. These 13 quick facts about Riyadh will help you uncover more about this beautiful city.
1. Although Riyadh is the capital city of an Islamic country, it does not mean it lacks diversity. More than a third of the population are expatriates, who are followers of diverse religions and contribute greatly towards the growth of the city.
2. Do not worry if you can't speak Arabic. 40% of the city population is expats, so you can very well get away by using English. However, it would do you wonders if you could speak a few basic Arabic sentences.
3. Riyadh has a typical climate of hot deserts. It can reach as high as 43.6°C in August. The winters tend to be cool and windy. Rainfall usually occurs during the month of March and April.
4. If you wish to shop, enjoy gourmet foods, or want to get some entertainment, you need to visit the Olaya District. This is the commercial district of Riyadh which also offers good accommodation to tourists.
5. It is quite common to encounter dust storms in Riyadh. The visibility is greatly reduced to just 10 meters during a thick dust storm.
6. About 35% of the population is of non-Saudi people. The remaining 65% consists of Saudi families.
7. Right in the centre of Riyadh, lies the Masmak fortress. This fortress is made up of clay and mud. It has played an important part in the history of Saudi Arabia.
8. The Murabba Palace or Qasr al Murabba is the palace built by King Abdulaziz. It was built as the residence and the royal court of the king.
9. There are over 4,000 mosques in and around Riyadh.
10. The Markaz Al-Mamlakah or “Kingdom Centre” is a 99-story skyscraper in Riyadh. It is the 5th tallest building in the Kingdom and the 3rd tallest building in the world with a hole.
11. Riyadh is the largest city in the Arabian Peninsula. In fact, Riyadh is the third-largest city after Cairo and Bagdad in the Arab world.
12. Riyadh was called as Hajr during pre-Islamic era. It was home to sedentary farmers and the capital of the Al-Yamamah province.
13. About 40 km from Riyadh City Center is the Ain Al Heet Cave. Located in a small village Heet near Riyadh, the cave has a beautiful underground lake and natural beauty for exploration.
These 13 facts about Riyadh will show that this is a city of modernity and skyscrapers. Its foundation had a humble beginning, but today it serves as a political and financial hub of Saudi Arabia.