Dir'iyyah is the old ruined capital of the Al-Saud. Many years of meticulous restoration, begun in 1986, have recreated the outer walls and some of the major buildings, all of which are signposted. Arriving past the majestic new Dir’iyyah mosque, you turn left at the roundabout where a stunning view of the walled city’s commanding position becomes apparent. Continue down this street and turn right through the main gate. The caretaker’s office and visitors’ centre is on the left. Stroll around the ruins of the one, two and three storey palaces and simple homes and it is not difficult to imagine the streets thronging with people. All the buildings are normally locked up so ask the caretaker if it possible to take a look at one or two of them such as the hammam or the Saad Al-Saud Palace, which contains a dates store and has colourfully decorated wooden doors showing circles and flowers in red, blue and black. A long walk around the wall gives a super view of the Diplomatic Quarter opposite and from the corner turrets one can see most of Riyadh.
As too often happens in Gulf, Dir'iyyah has been sanitized - to the point of having been coated with a transparent plastic resin to preserve the adobe!