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The city has grown to become home to over 5 million people, up from just less than 20,000 only a century ago. Its rapid growth has led to great diversity, and a Riyadh city guide will include modern business districts like Suleimaniyah along with the traditional buildings of al-Murabba. When you first visit Riyadh, you can admire massive buildings and upscale shopping malls such as Riyadh Gallery, before pondering the traditional culture still visible in the gleaming souks. The Olaya business district is home to many gourmet restaurants in Riyadh, including fine dining establishments as well as international chains. There are also a number of inexpensive Indian and Bangladeshi restaurants in the colourful al-Bathaa district.
Much of Riyadh is extremely modern, but you can find some remnants of the city's past as well. Masmak Fortress is one of the top things to do in Riyadh, dating back to 1865. You can even still see the head of a spear stuck in the doorway from a daring 1902 raid. Contrast this with the uber-modern Al-Faisaliah Tower, built in 2000 using a design by British architect Norman Foster Kingdom Tower is another landmark piece of modern architecture, rising 302 metres above the city with its multi-coloured light display illuminating the city at night. There are many modern shopping malls in Riyadh, but you might enjoy a more traditional experience at the Souk al-Thumairi.The Dirab Golf and Country Club is located 30 minutes to the west of Riyadh, with a lush 18-hole course and a swimming pool. Both genders can soak in the sights of the city lights with a trip to the Sky Bridge Observation Deck, one of the most memorable things to see in Riyadh. You can also examine ancient rock carvings and reconstructed tombs at the impressive National Museum. You can celebrate all things related to the auto industry at the Riyadh Motor Show in November.
Many airlines serve Riyadh's King Khaled Airport, which is located 35km to the north of the city. There's also a central train station, which offers trains to cities like Dammam. The Central Bus Terminal is located in the Aziziyah district in the south of Riyadh, with daily buses to Dammam, Jeddah, and Mecca. You can also drive into Riyadh on clean and modern Highway 40, which travels right through the city. Due to its sprawling size, it's helpful to have a car to get around the city. Another Riyadh transport option is to take one of the local white taxis.