AT-TURAIF
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
SINCE 2010

Diriyah’s At-Turaif UNESCO World Heritage site is a symbol of Saudi Arabia’s rich history and a sanctuary for national heritage preserved in open-air museums. Salwa palace is the largest standing structure in the citadel and of significant importance as the home of Kings & Heroes, including Mohammed bin Saud, founder of the first Saudi state.

The city of At-Turaif was built with adobe mud and other natural materials in the 1700s and features courtyards, alleyways and towers that showcase quintessential Najdi

architecture and tell the story of a traditional Saudi way of life. Under UNESCO guidelines, the mud-brick city has been restored to exhibit materials and artefacts from the Kingdom’s Royal, social and cultural past, taking visitors on a comprehensive journey through Saudi history.

Cultural and entertainment experiences have been developed that reflect past traditions, the hospitality of its people and create a gathering place for all.

 
 

Celebrating
Our Heritage

Diriyah is home to hundreds of stories that showcase Saudi history and traditions. The area hosts various hospitality facilities that serve to emulate the lifestyle of Diriyah’s original inhabitants.

Highlights of the
Jewel of the
Kingdom

The history of the people of Arabia and Diriyah is a story of trade and pilgrimage routes and an oasis connecting Asia, Africa and Europe for thousands of years. Today, we continue to allow the stories of our history to write the pages of our future.

 

HISTORICAL
HIGHLIGHTS

Diriyah is located on the north-western edge of Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, in Najd, the geographical central region of Saudi Arabia. Founded in 1446 around agricultural farmlands on the banks of the valley of Wadi Hanifah, Diriyah was a historical oasis on the pilgrimage route to Mecca and Medina for travellers from the East and North of the Arabian Peninsula.

The area quickly grew into a center for knowledge and influence on the Arabian Peninsula.

The Najdi population formed communities that grew over hundreds of years to unite under the House of Al Saud in At-Turaif, the capital of the first Saudi state, between 1744 and 1818. Historians say that the name Diriyah originated from a town in the eastern province of the Arabian Peninsula, which was once inhabited by the forefathers of the Al Saud family before they re-settled in the Najd region.

Diriyah comprises Al Bujairi and At-Turaif districts, both significant landmarks in the establishment of the religiopolitical alliance that founded the first Saudi state in 1744.

Across the valley from Al Bujairi, in the original capital city of At-Turaif, lived Diriyah’s ruling family under the leadership of Imam Mohammad bin Saud, the forefather of Saudi Arabia’s current king, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Wadi Hanifah, the land between the two settlements of At-Turaif and Al Bujairi historically served as a major trade market. The area welcomed scholars and merchants from across the Middle East region and beyond, cultivating education, spirituality and trade over the course of centuries.