Guide to Riyadh’s National Museum

The National Museum, which is part of the King Abdul Aziz Historical center in Riyadh, is one of the largest in the Middle East and undoubtedly the most famous and most visited museum in Saudi Arabia. An impressive collection of artifacts, scriptures and antiquities are inside this two story building covering 28,000 square feet.  The Museum is distinguished for its comprehensive exhibits presenting eras and topics in a successive manner, starting from the creation of the universe until the Modern Age, with a main emphasis on the history of the Arabian Peninsula.

national museum collage

For those not able to visit the  National Museum in person, you can do a virtual tour here and download a guide here. Some key artifacts of the National Museum are currently “on the road” in North America in a touring exhibition called Roads of Arabia, Unearthing The Ancient Past.

“Roads of Arabia features objects excavated from several sites throughout the Arabian Peninsula, tracing the impact of ancient trade routes and pilgrimage roads stretching from Yemen in the south to Iraq, Syria and Mediterranean cultures in the north. An eye-opening look at the largely unknown cultural history of the Arabian Peninsula, this exhibition draws on recently discovered archaeological material never before seen in North America.”

The museum is open everyday but do check the opening hours and which days are designated for families, singles and school visits. The entrance fee is 10sr. Make sure you reserve at least 2 hours to go through everything the museum has to offer, but if you like to stop and read the exhibits and watch the movie then you would need closer to 4 hours to thoroughly enjoy it. All the information provided in the exhibitions is in both Arabic and English, there are also interactive displays, audio tours and video clips, all bilingual. You don’t necessarily need a tour guide, but in preparation it’s recommended to read and Download the National Museum Guide here. You can see the exact location on the Google maps by clicking here.

national museum opening hours

The eight Exhibition Halls are:

Man and the Universe

Did you know that oil was formed from remains of billions of marine animals and plants or that Saudi Arabia was actually the bottom of the ocean some 50 million years ago?

Arab Kingdoms  

The fascinating history of Midian, Kindah, Tayma, Al-Ukhdood, Nabatean, Himyar and many others. Did you know that horse were actually domesticated 9000 years ago in the Arabian Peninsula according to a very recent finding from the Al Majar excavation site?  The oldest signs of human civilizations in the Arab peninsula date back over 100,000 years.

Pre-Islamic Era

Time of “Jahiliya”, Makkah as the Peninsula’s religious, cultural, intellectual capital.

Hall of the Prophet’s Mission

Remarkable, touching and inspirational lifetime story of Prophet Mohammed which every visitor should take the time to read.

Hall of Islam and the Arabian Peninsula 

Science discoveries, the golden age of Islam. Did you know that Arabs were the first to count the sun’s movements and confirm the earth was in fact round?

Hall of the First and Second Saudi State

The First Saudi state was established in Diriyah in the 18th century.

Unification of the Kingdom Hall

King Abdul Aziz Al Saud mission to unify the Arabian peninsula tribes and declaration of the United Saudi Arabia in 1351 AH (1932 AD). This is where you get t go to the movies! Only public movie theatre in Riyadh. Watch out for the real canons which blow smoke into the theatre.

Hall of Hajj and Two Holy Mosques History of Mecca and Madina

If you aren’t Muslim, this is probably the closest you’ll come to going to these two Holy sites. Very impressive ending to the National Museum tour!

kaaba cover

The cover of Kaaba door in the Hajj and Holy sites section. More images in the gallery below.


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complete guide to riyadh national museum l

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Hello there, I'm Laura, the author of Blue Abaya, the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia established in 2010. I've been traveling around and exploring Saudi Arabia since 2008. Connect with me on social media with the links below!
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  • […] Visit King Abdulaziz Historical Center & surroundings Visit the National Museum, Murabba Palace, the historical buildings, Public Library, King Abdulaziz mosque and Memorial Hall and browse the surrounding beautiful parks complete with fountains and picnic areas. Nearby also the water tower with a viewing platform and a small amusement park located next to it. Check out Blue Abaya’s Guide to the National Museum here. […]ReplyCancel

  • manuelSeptember 21, 2014 - 7:04 am
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  • […] National Museum Park right has lovely fountains, streams and light shows and is the perfect place for a family picnic! Nearby is the King Abdulaziz Historical Center folklore tent where traditional music, dances, poetry recital are performed.  The King Fahad Cultural Center is set on a beautiful location on its own, situated on the edge of Wadi Hanifa. The center offers various activities aimed mainly at children and women only. What would Eid celebrations be without some traditional Ardha dances? The Eid festival at Historical Diriyah has traditional Saudi Arabian sword dances called “ardha’! Dance groups come from all over the Saudi Kingdom; Eastern Province, Jizan, Makkah and of course, the Najd Ardha dances! The dance performances are shown on the first three days of Eid and start up around 5:30 pm continuing until after midnight. The folklore tents also has poetry recital and it’s a great chance to listen to old Bedouin love songs played with the ‘Desert Violin’, the Rababah. For a bird’s eye view of the festival area, and the best place to view the Eid fireworks show from, go up the water tower located inside the amusement park next to the National Museum! […]ReplyCancel

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    I am looking for Postcards , something cultural & Heritage from Saudi Arabia , do you know where to find it?

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    […] library each, an art gallery and a large internal garden. Nearby and definitely worth a visit, Riyadh National Museum will take you a good three hours to walk through. The whole area is surrounded by parks, […]ReplyCancel

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