Masmak Fort is a bit of an oddity. There is nothing wrong with its appearance, but it seems to be a particularly odd building to have preserved in a country that seems to have willfully abandoned its architectural heritage for much of its history. Masmak Fort is found in the centre of Riyadh and, while it technically does form part of the King Abdulaziz Historical Complex, it is separated from the rest of the complex and forms a more natural whole with Deira Souq, Justice Square and the Governor’s Castle. The Fort was built in 1865 by the Dabaan clan, allies of the ruler of Ha’il and enemies of the Al Saud clan. In 1902, during Abdulaziz Al-Saud’s drive from Kuwait to capture the Nejd, the Fort was taken by Al-Saud and marked the passage of the city of Riyadh – then only a small village – into the hands of the Al-Sauds. It was a watershed for the establishment of Saudi power over Saudi Arabia, even though King Abdulaziz’s reign over the whole of the country would not be established until 1932. The reason I call its preservation odd is because it is essentially a reminder of the rule of non-Saud clans over a part of the country where the earlier architectural remains of Saud rule have largely been ignored. The Fort is built in traditional Nejdi style, with round conical towers and thick, red-brick walls showing sparse, geometric designs. It is open to the public.
The Masmak Fortress is a 19th century mud fortress at the heart of Al-Bathaa, Riyadh's old quarter.
It houses collections of traditional dress and crafts, a traditional diwan or sitting room with an open courtyard and a working water well. It was extensively renovated in the 1980's and is now dedicated to Abdulaziz and his unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Saturday - Wednesday 0800-1200 & 1600-2100; Thu 0900-1200
Families only Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday
In the nineteenth century it was the residence and stronghold of the ruling Al Saud family of Saudi Arabia until a result of vicissitudes in the family fortunes it fell to the Al Rashid family, a rival dynasty that ruled the area of Ha'il to the north. In January 1902 the young Amir Abd al-Aziz ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Faisal Al Saud, who was at the time living in exile in Kuwait succeeded in capturing the Masmak fortress from its Rashid garrison. The event, which restored Al Saud control over Riyadh, has acquired almost mythical status in the history of Saudi Arabia and has been retold many times, but has as its central theme the heroism and bravery of the future King Abd al-Aziz
The building receive some important renovation in the 1980s, and became a museum in 1995. The museum includes a display on many antique guns, costumes and agriculture artifacts.
Masmak Fort played a very vital role in Saudi's history. This is where the AL Saud started to recapture Riyadh.
The Fort is made up of thick clay and mud brick. It has 4 watch towers with very thick walls.
Today, the place is visited both by locals and expats. A nice place to trace history and to get to know more about Riyadh.
For Families only
Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday ( 9am to 12noon only during thursday)
Closed during Friday.
The rest of the week, its open from 8am to 12noon and 4pm to 9pm.
Outside the Fort you can find a huge open complex where you can just sit down and do people watching :-) Mostly flocked by locals during weekend.
It is a mud and clay building with thick walls and high watch towers. It was built during the period of Mohammad bin Abdullah bin Rasheed (1872-1898). It has important place in history of Saudi Arabia as the foundations of Saudi Arabia were laid here when King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rehman AlSaud captured it on 5th of shawal, 1319 H (15th Jan, 1902).
The main entrance to the palace is located at its western side. It has a big wooden gate with a small entrance door. The spearhead of the lancer of King Abdul Aziz can still be seen pierced in the door.
There is a courtyard in the middle with different purpose-built rooms all around. There is also a water-well in the courtyard. On all the four corners, circular watch towers are present, which are about 18 m high.
Location: Riyadh City center, Deerah-Besides Qasr AlHakam
Visiting hours: Morning-9:00-12:00 Evening-4:00-9:00. Thursday morning only- closed on Friday. (Families only- Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday).
Special Note: Family definition-(Male only plus kids makes no family….an accompanying female is must).
Once the citadel in the heart of Old Riyadh, the Masmak Fortress was built around 1865 and extensively renovated in the 1980s. Inside the mud fortress there's a nicely reconstructed traditional diwan (sitting room) with an open courtyard and a working well. The fortress is now a museum devoted to Abdul Aziz and his unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Masmak Fortress is a 19th-century mud fortress at the heart of Al-Bathaa, Riyadh's old quarter.
It houses collections of traditional dress and crafts, a traditional diwan or sitting room with an open courtyard and a working well. It was extensively renovated in the 1980's and is now devoted to Abdul Aziz and his unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Opening Hours Sat-Wed 8am-12pm & 4pm-9pm; Thu 9am-12pm;
FAMILY only Sun, Tue & Thu
Masmak fortress is the main monument to see in Riyadh so go and have a look. Try to find the spearpoint embedded in the door. This was left by one of the henchmen of Abdul Aziz who was slightly over-enthusiastic when they stormed the fortress in 1902. He threw his spear so violently at the door that the point broke and stayed embedded.
The Al Masmak fort was the stronghold taken by Abdul Aziz when he snuck into Riyad with only about 40 men, and took the city, thus effectively birthing Saudi Arabia.
Masmak Palace or Qasr Almasmak is a well kept castle because from there king Abdulaziz start building his country. it is within walking distance from Souq Azal