Located on Al Imam Turky Ibn Abdullah Ibn Muhammed street in Ad-Dira, Riyadh, the Masmak Fort is one of the main attractions for visitors and students alike. Not only does the Fort represent the recent culture in the area but also is a focal point in history of Riyadh and that of the nation.
The word ‘masmak’ means strong, thick and fortified which is a perfect description of this fort. The castle was constructed during Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Rasheed’s reign and came under King Abdulaziz’s rule, when Riyadh was conquered. This represents the turning point in King Abdulaziz’s efforts to unify the country. Today, it’s open to the public, as the Al Riyadh Development Authority has converted it into a museum. It is a very interesting place to visit as one quickly observes the ways of previous generations.
Al Masmak Fort with towers, Riyadh Saudi Arabia
The four 18-meter high cylindrical Watch Towers which are located on each corner have rifles placed around them. Viewing the cool Diwan (sitting room of the King), the old Mosque with the (modern) clock tower or the Fort’s Main Gate where supposedly during the battle in which Al Saud captured the fort, Ibn Jalawi threw his spear and its tip broke off in the gate and can still be seen today, is a trip into tradition and history. The Diwan is a large rectangular room with a marvelous traditional Arabic seating. The Castle Gate is one of the most prominent structures of this palace standing at 3.6 meters high and 2.65 meters wide. The gate is made from the trunks of the palm and the tamarisk trees. There is small gate in the center, which allows only one person at a time to enter the castle premises.
The architecture is a wonderful display of culture and function. The mud buildings were made in such a way that the adobe (clay mixed with hay or grasses) acted as a natural insulation from the heat during the summer and the cold during the winter. The tall ceilings allowed the hot air flow to rise up to the ceilings where the small windows pulled the air out.