The city of Riyadh or El Riyadh is strategically located at the center of the world’s continents and has been the center of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The city is also situated in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula at latitude of 38.24 degrees north and a longitude of 43.64 degrees to the east. The city is also at a height of approximately 600 meters above the sea level. Riyadh is a beautiful and magnificent city at the heart of the Saudi Arabian desert. Comparable to the surrounding environment the city fits the description of an oasis. Furthermore the city is adorned with a rich and diverse culture, an intriguing history and creative architecture combined with exotic and modernity that is bound to captivate any visitor. In the face of modernity the city still retains most of its cultural heritage and there are numerous touring experiences and sight-seeing opportunities for visitors. The most appropriate time of the year to visit Riyadh between October and April, this is because during this time there is little rainfall and the average temperatures are still warm enough for outdoor activities and events. The city is famous for experiencing evening thunderstorms that have the effect of cooling the atmosphere inviting an interesting evening. Most locals however avoid the scorching temperatures by looking for shades in cooler parts of the city.
The climatic conditions in Riyadh can generally be described as dry and hot. The city does not also receive more than four inches of rainfall annually with most of the rain falling between January and May. During summer hot winds can cause the temperature to rise to levels around 113 Fahrenheit or 45 degrees centigrade. On the other hand winters can be extremely chilly mostly at night and the temperatures can fall way below freezing point. Just as explained previously the best months to visit Riyadh are between October and March. Theoretically the distance between Canada and Riyadh is approximately 11, 761 kilometers or 7308 miles or 6351 nautical miles. However, the distance can be either shorter or longer while flying or when sailing.
There are two cities in Saudi Arabia with direct flights from Canada or the United States. The city of Riyadh is served by King Khalid International Airport whose code is (RUH). The airport is located about 35 kilometers from the city center of Riyadh. The airport is served by terminals that are linked by moving walkways. One can easily get to the city from the airport using prepaid taxis available. Car rental counters are also located in the lobby and they include vehicles from companies like Avis, Budget and Hertz. However a point to note is that women are not allowed to drive on public roads and they may also not drive in the company of men who are not their relatives. The facilities within the airport include restaurants and cafeterias but no bars are available as alcohol is illegal in the country. Banks are available in Terminal 2 and ATMs in Terminal 2 and 3. Additionally there are first aid clinics, a post office and various shopping centers and visitor information desks. There are also facilities for the disabled. The official Saudi currency is the Riyal which is divided into 100 halala and foreign currencies can be changed at banks or exchange bureau. Banking hours in Saudi are generally Saturday to Wednesday from 8am to 12 pm and from 4pm to 8pm. Surprisingly, there are no taxes in Saudi Arabia so shopping rates are pretty good. Entry requirements for Canadians require valid passport and visa. Additionally tourist visas are only granted to specific groups on a limited basis. Everyone who enters the Kingdom is required with a passport that has at least six months in terms of validity in addition to the visa and a return ticket with the necessary documents. For the case of women entering the Kingdom alone, they should be met by a sponsor or a male relative and have confirmed accommodation for the duration. Entry might be declined for persons entering while the Kingdom while intoxicated, men wearing shorts, women in tight clothing or with legs and arms exposed. Special requirements are also imposed upon persons who visit the holy sites.
The name Riyadh originated from the ‘rawdha.’ Rawtha is a place adorned with beautiful gardens and trees. The history of the city can be traced back to the 19th century when its colonization involved the great Mod city. In 1955 under the rule of Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman Al Saud is when the government bureau was established. Historically the region was famous for its Orchards and Dates. Riyadh became the first Saudi state and capital of Diriya at the end of 18th century.
The kingdom center is one of the major tourist attractions and it is located at the center or Riyadh and it is the tallest building in Saudi owned by a Saudi prince. The most amazing aspect about the building is the unusual and elliptical work of art employed that earned the building an award. The building contains modern offices and the Four Seasons Hotel.
Riyadh museum is another place to visit. Its showcases range from local art, religion and culture as well as providing details concerning the diverse history of the kingdom and other Arabian Kingdoms. It also includes artifacts such as weaponry, jewellery and musical instruments.
Al Musmak Castle is also another landmark and a heritage site the city, the Musmak fortress was built around 1865 and the site has a lot to do with the establishment of the Saudi Arabian Kingdom. The Al Murabba’s palace an affiliate of Kind Abdulaziz Darat which is an institute and library devoted to preserving Arabian History. Artifacts that can be bought at souvenirs can also be found at several shops within the city and objects such as jewellery are the most fascinating.
Travel tips to visitors include the ability to observe the laws and culture of the place to avoid arrest or conflicts that can be avoided. Men should avoid wearing short and women should cover themselves completely except their faces. Alcoholic drinks are also illegal and one should not expect to purchase them anywhere. Finally one should avoid travelling during pilgrimage seasons because there may be overcrowding in hotels. The best five star hotel to stay in is the Four Seasons Hotel located in the Kingdom center.
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The first day one can visit the Kingdom center, followed by the Riyadh museum on day two. Day three one can visit the Almusmak castle and day on four the Al Murabba’s palace. The fifth day can be spent shopping for jewelleries. For normal rooms the cost at Four seasons Hotel is 800 Riyals per night while transportation will cost 300 Riyals.