A Stroll Through Diriyiah

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By Johara Al Mogbel

The city’s latest hotspot.

This year Riyadh’s “it” place to be is without a doubt Albujairy. A new area built by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage in Diriyah, a historical town that has now become a neighbourhood within the ever expanding Riyadh, Albujairy managed to mix traditional and modern in a bright new shiny well planned space.

And where there is a cool place to be visited, we shall soon follow. The awesomeness starts out in the parking lot, it seems, as we parked a few spots away from a gorgeous vintage Mercedes. Up we went and there was Albujairy in all its glory. First thing we saw was a little dukkan (convenience store) set up to mimic the traditional baqalas. Then we turned a little, and we noticed that the entire place was filled with food.

Various restaurants dotted the area, from Cone Zone and Zeit wu Zaatar, to Dr. Café and Najdi Village. The thing we liked about them is that they all had alfresco dining for families as well, which is going to be so useful during the cooler seasons. A number of restaurants, such as Bab Alyemen, were still in construction. It was kind of a let down to see so many non-Khaleeji food spots, to be quite frank, as we would much rather have preferred Albujairy be a one-stop place for the region’s cuisine.

Other notable shops in the area: Dukkan Turathiat, a shop selling traditional Saudi tchik-tchok, as well as Alharan, a store that sells bishts and other male necessities.

Our absolute favorite, though, has to be Ama Art Gallery. Beside the huge Najdi Village, Ama’s design is spot on. They’ve strung vintage lanterns from wood color pallets and it was the cutest thing we’ve ever seen. Their recent events have been impressive, too, and it bodes well that a specialized art space was included in the touristy area.

It was nearing night time, and it was well past due calling it a day, but we decided to explore a little more, walking up a series of pretty ramps up till we reached the top. And boy were we glad we did, because we found the true gem of Albujairy: the view. An elevated area that allowed you a near bird’s eye of the beautiful lands of Diriyah, it made us so very happy to find.

Bottom line? Take a hike. IN Albujairy, of course, we’re not asking you to walk away from the magazine, of course. Hey, where you goin’?! We’re sorry, we won’t try to be funny again, we promise!

Tips: Avoid weekend nights as the crowds will be overwhelming. Most restaurants start business at 2 p.m., so until they change their timings look elsewhere for your morning breakfast jaunt.


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