The city centre of Riyadh is where much of the city’s attractions can be found, ranging from interesting sites to marketplaces and restaurants. As the capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is home to many of the country’s most important historical sites and also offers a wealth of museums and other exciting attractions for cultural lovers. The history of the city stretches back thousands of years, and it has been at the forefront of many important events in history.
One of Riyadh’s finest cultural attractions is the National Museum of Saudi Arabia, a technologically impressive museum that explores much of the country’s most important historical events. This museum offers exhibitions and tours in English and is a part of the King Abdulaziz Historical Centre in the city. Riyadh is also well known for its top quality shopping malls where visitors can browse everything from designer brands to local arts and crafts stores to bring home a memorable keepsake. Eating out is another national pastime which has allowed a diverse array of restaurants to spring up in the city centre.
The main gateway into Riyadh for international visitors is King Khalid International Airport, situated 35 kilometres from the city centre of Riyadh. The airport is comprised of three operational passenger terminals offering flights to various destinations around the world. Getting from the airport into the city centre is simple as licensed airport taxis are available just outside of the airport. Although public transportation is limited in Riyadh, taxis are very popular and can be found easily in the city centre. Riyadh is currently building a metro network which is scheduled to open in 2018, a multi-billion dollar project comprised of 85 stations throughout the city.
Riyadh has an estimated population of eight million people, making it the most populous city in Saudi Arabia. In modern times, Riyadh experienced a significant increase in growth from the 1940s onwards under the leadership of King Saud. A city with a hot desert climate, temperatures in Riyadh peak between May and September, while they are typically at their coolest between December and February.