A View into Arabic Culture and Life
Saudi Arabia gives visitors a fascinating introduction into Arabic and Islamic culture. One of the must-see cities is Medina, also known as the City of the Prophet. It is in Medina that the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s burial site can be seen.
1. Visit the Mosques in Medina and Mecca
The Masjid Al-Nabawi, where the prophet is buried, is also home to magnificent architecture as well. The mosque is only second in importance to Masjid al-Haram or the Grand Mosque, which surrounds the Kaaba (a large shrine used as a prayer room) in Mecca. The Grand Mosque, as its name suggests, is the biggest mosque in the world. So, if you visit Saudi Arabia, you’ll want to make a pilgrimage to both the holy cities of Medina and Mecca (also called Makkah).
2. Enjoy the Local Cuisine
While in Saudi Arabia too, you’ll want to sample the local cuisine. Some of the specialties include the following:
- Fatir (a type of flat bread which is made with barley flour that has been toasted).
- Hawayij, which can also be obtained through spice markets in the country. The spice mix is made up of caraway and cardamom seeds, saffron, turmeric and black peppercorns.
- Kapsa, or rice and chicken.
- Laban (a yogurt-type drink).
Arabic coffee goes by the name of Qahwa, and is usually mixed with saffron and cardamom.
3. Visit the Kingdom Tower
Riyadh is a conservative and religious city that is mainly reserved for business travelers. Therefore, most vacation travelers generally direct their activities toward visiting the museums or some of the city attractions. For example, you’ll want to see the Kingdom Centre, which was named Skyscraper of the Year in 2002.
The tall, imposing structure is home to a retail mall that makes up three floors, with one of the floors designated for women. Most visitors, however, take the elevator to the 99th floor, where a Skybridge gives you an amazing view of Riyadh and the surrounding area.
4. Play a Round of Golf or Spend the Day Participating or Watching Area
If you enjoy golf, then you’ll want to visit the Dirab Golf and Country Club, which is a short drive due west of the capital. You can also spend the day swimming, horseback riding, or playing tennis at the facility too. Or, if you’re a fan of football, you won’t want to miss watching a game at the King Fahad Stadium. However, be advised, the stadium does not allow women entry into the complex.
5. Bargain Shop at a Souq or Open-air Market
That being said, women can find a number of malls and traditional marketplaces in which to bargain shop. Souqs, in particular, offer bargains for such goods as carpets, jewelry, and decorating accessories. Naturally, you’ll have to haggle if you want to get the best price.
6. Relax or Get Away at a Resort
Located in the eastern province, Jeddah is home to Durat Al-Arous, a village for tourists north of the Red Sea City. Resort travelers stay in Durat Al-Arous and enjoy such activities as snorkeling, diving, fishing, horseback riding, and biking at the village’s resorts.