Residents of the small town of Riyadh at the beginning of the 1900s would be totally bedazzled by today’s city that is the modern capital of Sa’udi Arabia a century on.
A hundred years ago, it consisted of approximately one square kilometre centred around the Mismak fortress, a walled town with nine gates, which even as late as 1917 were still closed during the noonday prayers on Fridays.
The gates and the walls have long since disappeared, the population has increased 450-fold and the city is at least 400 times the size it was when Abdul Aziz captured the fortress in 1902. In fact, between 1977 and 1986, an average of 11,500 building permits were issued in Riyadh each year.
But there is still plenty of history to ‘experience’ and along with the building boom that never stops, there is also a great deal of reconstruction that attempts to preserve some of the Kingdom’s heritage for future generations.