The Al Masmak is a clay and mud-brick fort that has four watch towers and thick walls. “It was built in 1865 by the late Prince of Riyadh Abdulrahman ibn Sulaiman ibn Dabaan under the reign of Mohammed ibn Abdullah ibn Rasheed (1289–1315 AH), the ruler of Ha’il to the north, who had wrested control of the city from the rival clan of Al Saud. In January 1902 the young Amir Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman bin Faisal Al Saud, who was at the time living in exile in Kuwait succeeded in capturing the Masmak fortress from its Rashid garrison” (Riyadh Museums).
The building underwent a major renovation in 1980 and eventually became a museum in 1995.
The central theme of this restored clay and mud-brick fort turned museum is the heroism and bravery of King Abdulaziz in the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage’s efforts in preserving the kingdom’s culture, heritage, and history.
The display halls of the museum will acquaint visitors with various Saudi historical treasures, pieces of ancient armament, and agricultural artifacts.
A section of the museum is allotted for documentary movies about Riyadh restoration and a comprehensive presentation of the museum’s photos and maps back to its glorious and darkest days.
Some of the most notable visits that took place at this very fort were from Prime Ministers Sri Narendra Modi (of India) in April 2016, Stephan Loven (of Sweden) in February 2013, and the Chinese Delegation’s headed by Minister Wuu Yuiliang in December 2012.
That series is not really complete without, of course, The Wandering Feet & Mind, Ace Galleta (of alas_biscuit traveler), Alvin Ramos, and Marwin Gatchalian’s rowdy visit last 02 January 2016.
Today, the fort, which is located in Al Murabba (a few kilometers away from Batha), comprise one of buildings that form the King Abd al-Aziz Historical Centre, dubbed as the birthplace of modern Saudi nation, and is found right beside what is being considered England’s Big Ben counterpart in Saudi Arabia’s capital city: Riyadh Clock Tower—another important landmark in the Kingdom.
Masmak Fort is open for visits in the morning from 8:00 AM to 2:30 AM and in the evening from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM daily.
Note that the grand mosque (“Street Photography in Dirah“), Dirah Souks (“The Very Colorful And Nitid Land Of Golden Souqs in Dirah“) and Chop Chop Square, which are equally famous tourist spots in the Kingdom, are all lying close to this fort.
The blogger behind Stories of the Wandering Feet and Mind considers History as his second favorite subject and this is being reinforced each time he visits a museum or any place that holds historical significance.
This explains why he came back to this museum after just three months, with different travel buddies (thechinitowander of onel tuscano’s travel blog and charliedelta) or on 05 March 2016.