A Walk Down A Museum’s Memory Lane

They say that museums are places where time is transformed into space… and I AGREE! 

The National Museum of Saudi Arabia
I revisited the National Museum of Saudi Arabia weeks ago… four years after Eyecandy and I first went there. I was curious to see the changes in the museum and I was quite surprised… because nothing has changed! It’s still the same. No new features, no new effects, no new nothing. Unless I missed them but when it’s just me and two of my friends in the museum (it’s literally ours for the night), it’s hard to miss anything that’s out of the ordinary.

The lobby, bow!

The two-story National Museum of Saudi Arabia is a huuuge (like 17,000 sqm) part of the King Abdulaziz Historical Centre. One of the reasons I like it, despite of its somewhat not awe-inducing components, is because it’s wide and so spacious! It has 8 major halls which are designed slightly different from one another. (Lonely Panet published in their site that the museum has eight floors! Whew! It has 8 halls! Not floors, haha!) If you can still remember, I didn’t explain the halls on our first two entries. Allow me to do so now. 😉

The King Abdulaziz Historical Centre

Here are the highlights of my walk down memory lane

The first thing to greet you is still this piece of a meteorite found in the Empty Quarter.


This is our boss’ favorite piece because he’s been to the area of the Empty Quarter where this meteor landed (the Wabar Meteorite Impact Site) and he said that it turned sand into glass (black melted slag)! Wow! We should totally visit that area one day. This display is also the welcoming committee of the Man and Universe hall.

The Man and Universe Hall is all about the geological ages where the prehistoric man and the way of life during the very early days are featured. A favorite display is this model of a Mastodon, an extinct specie that is related to today’s elephants.

The Mastodon
The side back view?!

They roamed the Arabian Peninsula 12-17 million years ago. Okay, seriously, this is probably the most photographed display in the museum. Some visitors even climb the rock and pose underneath it. Walang pinapalampas talaga basta camwhoring! 😉

My favorite would have to be this desert rose. A crystal cluster of gypsum or baryte which forms a rosette tinged with a pale pink color that’s so lovely to look at.

Amazing art of nature

I spent minutes staring at this sand rose because four years after, it’s unchanged.

Yep, they’re waving at yah!

This rock, found in Najran with handprints carved into it, bids you farewell from the Man and Universe Hall and welcomes you into the next hall…

Please follow the yellow dots on the floor. This way please!

The Arab Kingdoms Hall is where the history of the Arab world spanning from the fourth millenium BC to the fourth century AD comes into light. It highlights the ancient civilizations in the Arabian peninsula.

A dwelling place
The Tayma Wall built with stones

How they wrote those days.

These slabs of rocks, which date back to the fourth millennium BC, were found at the Khobba site in the Tabuk region. The ancient scripts are also featured in this hall and being a fan of anything “handwriting”, I took time in examining the slabs of rock where these scripts were displayed. Thank goodness the ink, pen, and paper were discovered and invented. Imagine reading a book during those times! Whew!

The Pre-Islamic (Jahiliyya) Era Hall shows the trade route before the advent of Islam.

Go on, have your photo here!

Another favorite photo op area is this archway. I hope they just painted a scenery, or something (any thing!), on the wall behind it. Unless there’s a significant reason why it’s just painted solid dark blue.

Located in the second floor (the first hall to greet you upstairs), the Prophet’s Mission Hall is the most colorful. It depicts the lineage, family, marriage, and major events in the life of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). There’s the showcase of the artistically painted holy Quran and the road map of the prophet’s journey to Madinah.

Read the walls
The story telling of the prophet’s journey

Part of the prophet’s hall

The Islam and Arabian Peninsula Hall has six sections that highlights the era of Islam. It begins with the Umayyad Caliphate to the Abbasid period to the Ottoman.

Scale this?

You can’t leave the museum without having a picture on this wall. Just because.

What lies behind the facade?

The old Riyadh appears in the Saudi First and Second State Hall. As you know, the old town of Riyadh still stands today… known as Diriyyah. The exhibit hall has a street from a the mud house neighborhood and a miniature version underneath a glass floor that people can walk in.

A street in Diriyyah

There’s also a diorama. Riyadh has truly progressed.

You won’t see the Kingdom Tower there just yet.

The most interesting hall would have to the Unification of the Kingdom Hall which has a mini theater. Since my friends and I were the only ones in the museum that night (or okay, in that section because who knows? Maybe other followed after we went in…), we thought they wouldn’t be playing the movie but the custodian said we can watch it and so we did. It was a nice experience seeing an educational and entertaining “movie” in Riyadh, complete with canons hissing smoke on the side. Hehe.

The theater and the movie

You’ll also see the displays of old houses in this section.

Remember this Vigan-esque houses?

Up to the discovery of oil…

The truck’s still here!

The last hall, the Hajj and the Two Holy Mosques Hall, is the most beautiful. As you go down the stairs, huge portraits hanging in the ceiling welcomes visitors. Below it is a map that shows the aerial view of Makkah. Everything related to the holy pilgrimage of Muslims are on display like a sample of the Kaaba curtain and the Kaaba door.

The last hall

You shouldn’t miss the miniature version of the Kaaba and the Grand Mosque (Masjid-al-Haram). The details are gorgeous!

Part of the grand mosque in Makkah

And also the miniature version of the Al Masjid-an-Nabawi, often called the Prophet’s Mosque, in Madinah. I like the overall design of this mosque better. For non-Muslims like us, this is probably the closest thing we’d ever come to seeing the two holiest sites in Islam up close. It’s an awesome feeling… to be able to connect to what we usually view as something so different from us. It usually turns out the other way isn’t it? We’re so alike in so many ways. 🙂

More displays

The National Museum of Saudi Arabia is simple as compared to the other museums in other countries but it speaks loudly about Saudi Arabia and its history as the strongest, biggest Kingdom in the Arab peninsula. Museums are generally boring but not for me, a history nut. So if you’re like me and just want to do something new, discover something new… then visit the National Museum of Saudi Arabia. A stone’s throw away is a modern exhibition hall featuring a car collection and a Memorial Hall. A few steps further is the Al Watan Park and the Riyadh Water Tower.

The hallway leading to the entrance

It’s best to visit at night time. Ticket price is SR 10 per adult; children and students are free. Check the schedule here. To those who can’t visit for various reasons (like maybe you live far far away from Riyadh), then check out this virtual tour.

A night in the museum

We received requests for The Pink Tarha to create a tour of the museum (and other interesting sites) for ladies in Riyadh. It’s quite funny because we’re not even locals to do a kind of trip that shows Saudi Arabia’s history and discusses their culture but we’re extremely flattered that people trust us to be able to share this information to them. What do you think? Should we or shouldn’t we? 😉

Well, who knows? Maybe a plan of a “Riyadh tour” is in the works. You know us Pink Tarha ladies… we’re full of surprises! 😉 ~ Sundrenched

National Museum of Saudi Arabia
King Abdulaziz Historical Centre
Murabba, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
T: +966-11-4029500

Yellow marks the spot.

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  1. Love this post!Now I can't wait to go there!!I will let you know!!so many things to do here and no time!!!

  2. naima14 Reply

    What time is this place opening and closing? Is it opened everyday?

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