Diriyah, the land of kings and the jewel of the future
Diriyah is the historical site of the establishment of the first Saudi state and is considered the Jewel of the Kingdom. It embodies the soul of the nation’s history, and the promise of its future. For hundreds of years, its cool mud-brick buildings have been a refuge for those seeking respite from the heat of the desert and a hub where communities can gather, share and grow together.
Located just minutes from Riyadh, Diriyah was founded in 1446 CE on the banks of the Wadi Hanifah, surrounded by lush agricultural lands. As communities grew in Wadi Hanifah, Diriyah developed into a central gathering point in the Najd Region because of the unifying efforts led by Mohammad bin Saud and Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdul Wahab. Between 1744 and 1818 CE, Ad Diriyah became the site for the first Saudi capital, known as At-Turaif.
Diriyah is home to At-Turaif, a UNESCO World Heritage site that stands as a symbol of Saudi’s rich history. The authority has placed great priority in preservation and restoration of the citadel under international UNESCO guidelines to offer visitors a chance to walk in the footsteps of Kings and Heroes and explore Saudi history and culture in an authentic environment.
The city of At-Turaif, built in 1744 and recognized as one of the world’s largest mud-brick cities, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. It is one of five UNESCO sites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Visitors Reception Center
Orientation center where you will be introduced to At-Turaif. The site comprises palaces, museums, galleries, mosques, public gathering spaces and other places of historic and cultural significance.
A chance to walk through the ruins of At-Turaif and learn about the significance of specific elements of Salwa Palace. This museum offers an interpretation of the history and development of the first Saudi state through artifacts, graphics, models and documentaries.
The largest structure in At-Turaif, dating back to the early 1700s, is sprawled across 10,000 sqm. The palace has significant historical importance as it was the home to the first Saudi Imams under the first Saudi state.
Imam Mohammed bin Saud Mosque (At-Turaif Grand Mosque)
The mosque adjacent to Salwa palace was once one of the largest on the Arabian Peninsula, built as a symbol of the strength and unity of the first Saudi state. Visitors can walk through the remains of the mosque overlooking the Minaret and wander within a more contemplative area of the Mosque site.
Across the valley from At-Turaif lies Al Bujairi, an area that continues to serve as the cultural capital of the Kingdom since the establishment of the first Saudi state. Today, Al Bujairi is the perfect afternoon getaway from the city and a place where visitors can experience authentic Saudi cuisine and hospitality surrounded by lush greenery.