"The Central Region" Mintaqat ar Riyad by TomorrowsAngel
Mintaqat ar Riyad Travel Guide: 573 reviews and 1,144 photos
The Central Region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia includes the royal capital, Riyadh, and a number of other important towns, north and west of the capital, such as Buraidah, Unaizah and Ha'il.
This is the heartland of the country, and in Arabic is known as Najd. It is also the most traditional and, in general, the most religiously conservative region of the country.
Outside Riyadh, in the towns and villages of the Najd, westerners are not as common as they are in the east or in Jeddah and are therefore objects of interest. Also in the Najd is the town of Buraidah which is the only place in Saudi Arabia where even foreign women are required to be veiled.
Though Riyadh is the capital of the country, it has only in the past few years that it has become the real centre of the Kingdom's government. Technically Riyadh was always the capital but until the early 1980s, the ministries, embassies and virtually everything else were in Jeddah. They have now been moved to Riyadh and the embassies are all located in an area known as the Diplomatic Quarter.
Riyadh has predictably undergone a major transformation since the discovery of oil. In 1932 the city was only 8.5 square kilometres in area, but by 1994 it had expanded to over 1600 square kilometres. As a matter of fact, very little of what you see in Riyadh today is older than 50 years and a great deal is less than 20.
The climate of the region is hot and dry in summer and cold in winter. Summer temperatures sometimes exceed 45 degC, while in winter the temperature falls to 5 degC or lower.
It is important to note that permits for visits to all archaeological sites and forts in the country, except for those located in the Eastern province, are obtained at the Riyadh Museum. The exceptions to this rule are Dir'aiyah Permits are issued at no charge upon production of your passport or residence permit (igama).
The Central Region, considered the heartland of Saudi Arabia both physically and culturally, is a vast eroded plateau, consisting of areas of uplands, broad valleys and dry rivers. The area also contains a number of marshes. These are thought to be the remnants of inland seas which existed in ancient geological times. Most of the Central Region is arid, with some oases in the north around Qasim
The area around Kharj which lies south of Riyadh has now become a major source of wheat, part of the Kingdom's burgeoning agricultural industry; while 300 miles to the north of Riyadh lies the Qasim region, an even larger farming area which has contributed on a massive scale to the Kingdom's self-sufficiency in wheat and poultry.
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