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Posted by motoman 03/25/2009 @ 11:09

Tags : riyadh, saudi arabia, arabian peninsula, world

News headlines
Saudi Arabia: Al Shaba retain King's Cup - ESPN
Al Shabab successfully defended their Saudi King's Cup title with a 4-0 thumping of nine-man Al Ittihad in the final at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh. Al Shabab took control from the opening whistle and should have taken the lead...
Saudi women pioneers brave clerics with ball games - AFP
But Maina and her teammates have found a way in Jeddah, more permissive than the strict capital Riyadh. They practice together in uniforms that include white scarves covering their hair, long-sleeve shirts and full-length pants....
Riyadh meet to discuss domestic violence - Arab News
RIYADH: The second national experts' meeting on abuse against women and children will be held in Riyadh today. The meeting aims to unite the private and public sectors in the fight against domestic abuse. Experts will discuss mechanisms and ways to...
upa's win spells vote for stability, secularism - Arab News
RIYADH/JEDDAH/DAMMAM: Indian expatriates across Saudi Arabia yesterday labeled the victory for India's ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) alliance in the general elections as one for its policy of secularism and economic stability....
Tiny Saudi democracy movement sends king blueprint for reform - Christian Science Monitor
By Caryle Murphy | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - Saudi rights activists have sent King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz a petition asking for an elected parliament, term limits on royal princes appointed to official posts...
GCC leaders choose Riyadh to host regional bank - Forbes
Abdul Rahman Hamad al-Attiyah, the group's secretary-general, said Riyadh was chosen as the location for the region's monetary council, the precursor to the new central bank. He said details of the agreement would be released later....
Two days & two nights in the Kingdom - Ode Magazine
I just got back from my second visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - a two-day business trip to help a Riyadh-based consultancy with its communications initiatives. Getting there, being there and even leaving there created a host of mixed feelings,...
Experts Prepare to Discuss Opportunities in Saudi Insurance Summit - Zawya
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - 16 th May 2009: IIR Middle East, a leading provider of specialist information and services for the academic and scientific, professional and commercial business communities, today announced that additional panellists will be...
The long road ahead to GCC monetary union - The National
Riyadh has been chosen to host the future GCC central bank. But there was a public “reservation” about this from the UAE. This raises a question of whether all GCC member states were on board, or whether global financial uncertainties and the rush to...


Location of Riyadh

Riyadh (Arabic: الرياض‎ ar-Riyāḍ) is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the capital of Riyadh Province, and belongs to the historical regions of Nejd and Al-Yamama. It is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to over 5 million people. The city is divided into 15 municipal districts, managed by Riyadh Municipality headed by the mayor of Riyadh, and the Riyadh Development Authority, chaired by the Governor of Riyadh Province, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. The current mayor of Riyadh is Abdul Aziz ibn Ayyaf Al Migrin, appointed in 1998.

The name Riyadh is derived from the plural of the Arabic word rawdha, which means "garden," particularly those formed in the desert after rains. Riyadh has for more than 1500 years been a fertile area set in the heartland of the Arabian Peninsula. The settlement was historically famous for its Palm Trees and Dates and Orchards. The modern name was first applied to only certain parts of the settlement where orchards predominated. Gradually the name was used for the entire settlement.

During the Pre-Islamic era, the settlement at the site was called Hajr (Arabic: حجر‎), and was reportedly founded by the tribe of Banu Hanifa. Hajr served as the capital of the province of Al Yamamah, whose governors were responsible for most of central and eastern Arabia during the Umayyad and Abbasid eras. Al-Yamamah broke away from the Abbasid Empire in 866 and the area fell under the rule of the Ukhaydhirites, who moved the capital from Hajr to nearby Al Kharj. The city then went into a long period of decline. In the 14th century North African traveller Ibn Battuta wrote of his visit to Hajr, describing it as "the main city of Al-Yamamah, and its name is Hajr". Ibn Battuta goes on to describe it as a city of canals and trees with most of its inhabitants belonging to Bani Hanifa, and reports that he continued on with their leader to Mecca to perform the Hajj.

Later on, Hajr broke up into several separate settlements and estates. The most notable of these were Migrin (or Muqrin) and Mi'kal, though the name Hajr continued to appear in local folk poetry. The earliest known reference to the area by the name Riyadh comes from a 17th-century chronicler reporting on an event from the year 1590. In 1737, Deham ibn Dawwas, a refugee from neighboring Manfuha, took control of Riyadh. Ibn Dawwas built a single wall to encircle the various quarters of Riyadh, making them effectively a single town.

In 1744, Muhammad ibn Abdel Wahhab formed an alliance with Muhammad ibn Saud, the ruler of the nearby town of Diriyah. Ibn Saud then set out to conquer the surrounding region with the goal of bringing it under the rule of a single Islamic state. Ibn Dawwas of Riyadh led the most determined resistance, allied with forces from Al Kharj, Al Ahsa, And the Banu Yam clan of Najran.

However, Ibn Dawwas fled and Riyadh capitulated to the Saudis in 1774, ending long years of wars, and leading to the declaration of the First Saudi State.

The First Saudi State was destroyed by forces sent by Muhammad Ali of Egypt, acting on behalf of the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman forces razed the Saudi capital Diriyah in 1818. In 1823, Turki ibn Abdallah, the founder of the Second Saudi State, revived the state and chose Riyadh as the new capital. Internecine struggles between Turki's grandsons led to the fall of the Second Saudi State in 1891 at the hand of the rival Al Rashid clan, who ruled from the northern city of Ha'il. Riyadh itself fell under the rule of Al Rashid in 1865. The al-Masmak fort dates from this period.

The city was recaptured in 1902 from the Al Rashid family by King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud. He went on to establish the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, with Riyadh the capital of the nation.

The city has experienced very high rates of population growth, from 150,000 inhabitants in the 1960s to over 5 million, according to the most recent sources.

Summer temperatures are very hot, and can reach up to 130 ℉ (54.4 ℃). The average temperature in July is 52°C. Winters are mild with cold nights. Although the city is located in a highly arid area, it receives some rainfall. Hail often falls in Riyadh during winters. It is also known to have many instantanious dust storms. The dust is so thick sometimes, that you can't see ten meters away from you.

Riyadh is divided into 15 municipalities, in addition to the Diplomatic Quarter, while the ruins of the former Saudi capital of Diriyah are on its northwest outskirts.

Olaya District is the commercial heart of the city, with accommodation, entertainment, dining and shopping options. The Kingdom Center, Al Faisalyah and Al-Tahlya Street are the area's most prominent landmarks.

The Diplomatic Quarter, or DQ as it is popularly known, is home to foreign embassies and international organizations as well as residential structures and malls. With lush gardens and numerous sports facilities, it is also one of the city's greenest areas. It is especially known for its fine architecture, and is considered a model for other Islamic cities around the world. Despite its name, the Diplomatic Quarter offers no special privileges. All Saudi laws must be obeyed and there are occasional patrols by the Mutaween, or Saudi religious police.

The centre of the city, Al-Bathaa and Al-Dirah, is also its oldest part. At its heart lies the 19th-century Al Masmak fort, which is one of the city's major attractions; to the west lies the Riyadh Museum of History and Archeology and the Murabba' Palace, an old residence of first Saudi king, Ibn Saud, now a museum. The Qasr Al-Hukm, or Palace of Justice, is nearby. It is here that the Governor of Riyadh Province meets citizens, listens to their grievances and problems, and stays abreast of all aspects of the region's life. The Al-Dira area also contains commercial markets and traditional buildings, such as the Al-Mu'eiqilia market and the city's Grand Mosque.

The old town includes Diriyah, King Abdulaziz district, Wadi Laban and many other historical villages which became part of the city. Many traditional multistory buildings have made way for modern development and large business projects. However, the city's recent generations have come to appreciate its traditions more and have persevered in having many of the older buildings carefully preserved. Some of these structures are Al Masmak Castle and Qasr Al Hokom.

The 311 m (1000 ft) high Kingdom Tower (Arabic: برج المملكة‎) is the tallest skyscraper in Saudi Arabia and the 36th tallest building in the world. The tower is built on 94,230 square meters of land. The Kingdom Center is owned by Al-Waleed bin Talal, a prince of the Saudi royal family, and is the headquarters of his holding company: Kingdom Holding Company. The project cost 2 billion Saudi Arabian Riyals and the contract was taken by Saudi Arabian El Saif and the Italian Impregilo Kingdom Center is situated in Al-Urubah Road between King Fahd Road and Olaya Street in the growing business district of Al-Olaya in Riyadh. Kingdom Center was the winner of the 2002 Emporis Skyscraper Award, selected as the "best new skyscraper of the year for design and functionality". A three-level shopping center, which also won a major design award, fills the east wing. The large opening is illuminated at night in continuously changing colors.

Al Faisaliyah Center (Arabic: برج الفيصلية‎) was the first skyscraper constructed in Saudi Arabia, and is the second tallest building in the country after the Kingdom Center. The golden ball that lies atop the tower is said to be inspired by a ballpoint pen, and contains a restaurant; immediately below this is an outside viewing deck. There is a shopping center with major world brands at ground level.

Al Anoud tower is 145 meters high. It is a major commercial building on King Fahd road. The tower is owned by Princess Al-Anoud and moderated by several Saudi Arabian companies.

The Riyadh TV Tower (170m high) has an observation deck and was built in 1970s.

Ministry of Interior Building The headquarters for the country's Interior Ministry is widely considered one of the city's most beautiful landmarks with its unique design.

This castle was built around 1865 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 Ibn Saud, who was at the time living in exile in Kuwait succeeded in capturing the Masmak fortress from its Rashid garrison. The event, which restored Al Saud control over Riyadh, has acquired almost mythical status in the history of Saudi Arabia and has been retold many times, but has as its central theme the heroism and bravery of the future King Abd Abdulaziz Ibn Saud.

Riyadh hosts 50 embassies; 22 belong to the states of the Arab League, and in addition there are the embassies of Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, The Republic of Kazakhstan,China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Once a small walled city, Riyadh has developed into a dynamic metropolis over the years. Along with the urban areas of Dhahran, Dammam and Khobar, Riyadh has become a focal point for both travel and trade.

In addition to being the center of power, the city is also a commercial hub. Numerous educational, financial, agricultural, cultural, technical, and social organizations have set up base here. The architecture is mostly modern, including contemporary high-rise towers, but the Al-Dira district, the nucleus of the city, has been rebuilt in a style meant to evoke the old mud-brick buildings of pre-20th century Nejd.

From the beginning of oil exploration in Saudi Arabia to the present day, the government has promoted growth in the private sector by privatizing industries such as power and telecommunications. Saudi Arabia announced plans for privatizing the electricity companies. A lot of these new private conglomerates and companies headquarters are located in Riyadh, along with National Banks headquarters. Because of that, Riyadh can be considered as one of biggest business cities in the Middle East.

King Khalid International Airport, has a major impact on the commercial movement in Riyadh, Providing Air-Transportation for millions of people across a year. And shipping goods to the city from all continents.

King Fahd road is the wealthiest business place in Riyadh, Headquarters of major companies and organizations are located on the road's both sides. Huge malls, business towers and skyscrapers are widely distributed on this road.

The northern end reaches the Airport over another highway. According to many opinions, King Fahd Road is the most beautiful street in Saudi Arabia, making the road a popular tourist attraction. Famous landmarks such as Kingdom Centre, Al Faisaliyah Center, Al Anoud Tower and the Ministry of Interior building are also located in King Fahd Road. However it is fast becoming second to King Abdullah Street which has seen major building projects and is currently under construction for a train track and tunnel system.

The Industrial areas are located on the East and the North-East of the city, Including some of world largest factories of oil-related industry, high-tech, low-tech and agriculture. Aramco has large operations in the area which includes oil refineries. Electricity and water-treatments plants supply the city with the needed energy and water, which also reach the nearby towns.

As a capital of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh has received millions of visitors of different backgrounds from all over the world. The population of Riyadh is 60% Saudi and 40% of the population is made up of foreigners from Africa, South Asia, Europe and the Middle East, many of whom remained and became residents of the city.

Riyadh is home to several universities and colleges.

Riyadh also houses the main campus of the Government's Institute of Public Administration and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency's Institute of Banking.

The vast majority of Riyadh residents are Sunni Muslims from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Burma, Maldives, Indonesia, Malaysia, East Asia, Turkey, Albania, Bosnia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia several West African countries,]. Shiites are also abundant from the Saudi Eastern Province and from countries like Iran & Syria. Riyadh has a diverse Muslim population, with Muslims coming all over the world to settle in the city. There are also a large minority of Asian and Westerner Christians. The City also has a minority Judaism population from countries such as other Arab countries, Europe & from the Western World. The city has over 4300 Mosques. Hindus in the city are virtually all Indian & so are the Sikhs. Even though freedom of religion is very rare in Riyadh, Non-Muslims have the permission to practice their religion privately in their homes & start prayer timings & rituals, religious book studies such as Bible & Torah,& also have a large gathering of their own religion to gather in households & have a large prayer. The cultural environment of today's Riyadh has been influenced by a religious movement that began in central Arabia in the mid-18th century. This movement is commonly known as the Wahhabi movement.

Like other Saudi cities, the Nejdi Kabsa is the most traditional lunch in Riyadh. The Yemeni Mandi is also popular as a lunch meal. Fast food is also popular in the city. McDonald's, Burger King, Domino's Pizza, KFC, Pizza Hut, Pizza Inn, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Starbuck's, & Subway are widely distributed in Riyadh. There are also many North American based restaurants, such as Fuddruckers, Chili's, Applebees, Tony Roma's, T.G.I. Fridays, and Planet Hollywood.

In 1999 a new central Museum was built in Riyadh at the eastern side of the King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre. This National Museum of Saudi Arabia combined several collections and pieces that had up till then been scattered over several Institutions and places in Riyadh and the Kingdom. For example the meteorite fragment known as the "Camel's Hump" that was on display at the King Saud University in Riyadh became the new entry piece of the National Museum of Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh is served by four major Arabic-language newspapers, Asharq Al-Awsat (which is owned by the city governor), Al-Riyadh, Al-Jazeera and Al-Watan. Television stations serving the city area include Saudi TV1, Saudi TV2, Saudi TV Sports, Al-Ekhbariya, ART channels network and hundreds of cable, satellite and other specialty television providers. The Riyadh TV Tower is a 170 m (558 ft) high television tower with an observation deck at Riyadh. The tower started construction in 1978 and finished in 1981 and is a part of the Ministry of Information.

Football is the most popular sport in Riyadh. The city hosts four major football clubs, such as Al Shabab, which was established in 1947, holding a great record in the Saudi Premier League. Al-Nasr club is another famous squad in the league, was named six times as a champion of the Saudi League, and was established in 1955. The well-known club Al-Hilal, Which was established in 1957 conquers the league as the winner of ten championships, is the most popular team in Riyadh. Also, there is Al-Riyadh club, which was established in 1954 along with many other minor clubs.

The city also hosts several giant stadiums, such as King Fahd International Stadium with capacity of 70,000 seats. The stadium hosted the FIFA Confederations Cup three times in 1992, 1995 and 1997. And also the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1989.

The Riyadh city area has a distinctive regional speech pattern called the Najdi dialect. It is often considered to be one of the most recognizable accents within the Arabic language. The Najdi accent is widely spoken in the desert regions of central and eastern Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport (IATA: RUH), located 35 kilometers north, is the city's main airport. It's one of the four international airports in the country serving over 20 million passengers a year.

The city is served by a modern major highway system. The main Eastern Ring Road connects the city's south and north, while Northern Ring Road connects the city's east and west. King Fahd Road runs through the center of the city from north to south, in parallel with the East Ring Road. Makkah Road, which runs east-west across the city's center, connects eastern parts of the city with the city's main business district and the diplomatic quarters.

Saudi Railway Authority operates two separate passenger and cargo lines between Riyadh and Dammam passing through Hofuf, and Haradh. Two future railway projects connecting Riyadh with Jeddah and Mecca in the western region and connecting Riyadh with Buraidah, Ha'il and Northern Saudi Arabia are underway. Developers are the RC corporation, wholly owned by H O’Donovan, W Daly and S Burgoyne, however, are now being built single-handedly by H O'Donovan.

The Saudi Arabian Public Transport Co. (SAPTCO), the national bus system, runs a fleet of buses that provides public transportation inside the city, and also an extending service transporting passengers to several cities across the kingdom and neighboring countries.

An electric sky train system has been approved and the first phase will be installed in King Abdullah Road, King Fahd Road and Al Olaya Road. It will run for 25 km and will include communication services such as phones and internet.

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Girls of Riyadh

Girls of Riyadh, or Banat al-Riyadh, is a novel by Rajaa Alsanea. The book, written in the form of e-mails, recounts the love lives of four young Saudi girls, Lamees, Michelle (half Saudi, half American), Gamrah, and Sadeem. It describes the relationship between men and women in the conservative Saudi-Arabian Islamic culture. Girls of Riyadh tells the story of four college-age friends in Saudi Arabia, girls looking for love but stymied by a system that allows them only limited freedoms and has very specific expectations and demands. There's little contact between men and women -- especially single teens and adults -- but modern technology has changed that a bit (leading to young men trying everything to get women to take down their cellphone numbers). The Internet is also a new medium that can't contain women and their thoughts like the old system could, and the anonymous narrator of the novel takes advantage of that: she presents her stories in the form of e-mails that she sends out weekly to any Saudi address she can find.

Originally released in Arabic in 2005, Girls of Riyadh was immediately banned in Saudi Arabia due to (experienced) controversial and inflammatory content. Black-market copies of the novel circulated and Girls of Riyadh has been a bestseller across much of the Middle East. As of January 2008, English copies of Girls of Riyadh are openly available at major bookstores in Saudi Arabia. The book, published by Penguin Books, is available in the English translation, but has some changes due to difficulties of re-creating the effect of using different dialects of Arabic.

The book is widely distributed, being sold in stores from U.S. to Europe.

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International Indian School, Riyadh

The International Indian School, Riyadh (formerly Embassy of India School, Riyadh) is a school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for students from India. The language of instruction is English. It was founded on 9th October 1982. Programs for boys and girls are run separately because of the requirements of the government of Saudi Arabia.

The School is affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (C.B.S.E), New Delhi, India and is licensed by the Ministry of Education, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The School's patron is H.E. Momunapillai Othuman Hasankuthoos Farook, Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia.

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International Indian School Riyadh

The International Indian School, Riyadh (formerly Embassy of India School, Riyadh) is a school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for students from India. The language of instruction is English. It was founded on 9th October 1982. Programs for boys and girls are run separately because of the requirements of the government of Saudi Arabia.

The School is affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (C.B.S.E), New Delhi, India and is licensed by the Ministry of Education, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The School's patron is H.E. Momunapillai Othuman Hasankuthoos Farook, Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia.

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Source : Wikipedia