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Masmak Fortress

altThe heart of old Riyadh, this was the fortress stormed by King Abdul Aziz and his men in their daring conquest of Riyadh in 1902. It was completely renovated in 2008 and the historic mud brick structure now appears brand new, but the museum inside recreates the story of the raid and has some excellent photos of old Riyadh. It was originally built in the late 19th century and, as the Al-Musmak Fortress, was the main prize captured by King Abdul Aziz in 1902. It thus represents the birthplace of the modern day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Now that it is completely restored, the fort is a stunning example of traditional mud and brick desert architecture, with its crenellated towers, triangular windows, and traditionally decorated doors and ceilings. It has been restored as a museum that focuses on the history of the country with exhibits in Arabic and English, and includes a sitting room complete with an open courtyard and a functional well.

Timings: (8 AM-noon and 4-9 PM on Sat, Mon, Wed for men, Sun, Tue, Thu for families).
 

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