Photographer's Note

The At-Turaif District in ad-Dir'iyah was the first capital of the Saudi Dynasty, in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, north-west of Riyadh. Founded in the 15th century, it bears witness to the Najdi architectural style, which is specific to the centre of the Arabian Peninsula. In the 18th and the early 19th century, its regional political and religious role increased, and the citadel of at-Turaif became the centre of the temporal power of the House of Saud and the spread of the Islamic reform movement in Arabia, Salafiyya. The property includes the remains of many palaces and an urban ensemble built on the edge of the ad-Dir'iyah oasis.
The citadel of at-Turaif is representative of a diversified and fortified urban ensemble within an oasis. It comprises many palaces and is an outstanding example of the Najdi architectural and decorative style characteristic of the centre of the Arabian Peninsula. It bears witness to a building method that is well adapted to its environment, to the use of adobe in major palatial complexes, along with a remarkable sense of geometrical decoration.

Diriyah is one of the main attraction of Saudi Arabia and UNESCO Heritage Site, so of course, I wanted to see it.
It is no easy to travel in SA as there are no tourists there, difficult transportation and lack of information. Also, few people speak English and I do not speak Arabic :(.
To go to Diriyah I had to take a taxi (24 euro). First, I had problems to explain to the driver where I want to go. I showed on the map on my mobile, I said the Old City - not enough. But finally, he understood and took me to the entrance to the ruins. The taxi left, I wanted to go in when the guard told me that it was CLOSED. What?? Why closed? They prepared the special event the next day, a spectacle, kind of promotion Diriyah to the world. I complained that I came specially from Poland to see it. I was desperate, almost crying. The engineer working with the project there passed nearby and heard me. He had a small electric car. He had pity of me, so he took me with this car around, showed me the most interesting places, also a museum of Arab horses. After the visit, he asked his friend who then asked another friend to take me (free) to the centre. I was lucky in bad luck. It was a blessing in disguise.
In Workshop, you can see one of very few (if any) tourists in Saudi Arabia :).

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11958 W: 126 N: 30397] (142144)
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