Forts built to last.
Saudi Arabia is in a rediscovery of its history phase, with many of its once deteriorated historic structures being restored to their former glory. Many forts that were once inaccessible for tourists have been thrown open for the masses.
We have cherry-picked some of the best forts that the country has to offer that will transport you to a bygone era – an era before oil. And even if you are not into history, then a visit to one of these places can probably make you fall in love with it.
King Abdulaziz Fort
The King Abdulaziz fort is one of the many signs that things are changing in the kingdom. Sitting in the quaint seaside town of Duba, the fort overlooks a creek. Its mud-brick walls and a few basic rooms that remain cool in the mid-afternoon heat serve as a reminder of the simple life lived by its inhabitants.
While the Farasan Islands are famous for its sandy beaches and diving spots an often overlooked part is its history. Built by the Ottomans, the fort is more of a garrison. Located atop elevated ground the view of the surrounding for miles can be seen from here. Though small in size and a bit off the regular tourist circuit a small detour to this fort requiring less than half an hour of your time will surely be worth it.
Built of mud, and clay the mid-nineteenth century vintage sits in the midst of modern Riyadh. It kind of looks out of place but that is, in fact, one of the reasons why tourists love it. The fort signifies the rise of King Abdulaziz as the capture of the fort implies the liberation of Riyadh.
Smack in the middle of the ancient oasis town of Dumat Al-Jandal, this is one of the oldest surviving forts in the country. The oval-shaped castle is located atop a rocky hill. An Arab queen called Zenobia is believed to have called this castle impenetrable after multiple attempts to conquer it.
Like most of Saudi Arabia’s famous forts, this one too was built by the sea. After all, the coasts needed to be protected from foreign invasion and there was not much trouble arising from the scarcely populated hinterland for the most part. Though not open for tourists at the moment, one can get an amazing view of the fort from the beach nearby.