Out of the Desert Sands, A Place of Learning and History
Some museums take decades or longer to build. Others, just 26 months. That was the timeframe for The National Museum of Saudi Arabia, part of a development plan to revitalise the Murabba Palace district for Saudi Arabia’s upcoming centennial celebrations.
Opened in 1999, with a design inspired by the “Red Sands” sand dunes in the surrounding area, The National Museum is unique in its approach to communicating history. Rather than row after row of artefacts and placards, it relies on replicas and life-size dioramas as visual representations of the ideas and concepts it’s striving to represent. In other words, it attempts to communicate broader ideas and how they all fit together rather than individual pieces taken out of context.
Don’t worry, it’s easier-to-follow than it sounds. Its eight halls are organised in chronological order, starting with the creation of the universe and continuing through to present-day Riyadh. Topics common to many historical timelines, no matter the country of creed – ancient flora and fauna, stone age tools and the evolution of the written word – are all part of the discussion.
The Saudi National Museum is a 20-minute drive from Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh. You’ll want to visit the outdoor landscaped gardens, particularly after sunset. The combination of the cool evening air and fresh-smelling greenery are refreshing after a long day on your feet. Be sure to check museum hours and any restrictions (families only, women only, etc.) before you head out. As always, our Concierge can help you with any questions.