Top tourist attractions in Saudi Arabia
Here is a list of top tourist attractions in Saudi Arabia. Only the topmost tourist destinations are presented here. To see other destinations, please check the images from Saudi Arabia section.
Curious if any of these place from Saudi Arabia made it our best tourist attractions in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.
You can also view all tourist attractions in Saudi Arabia and other countries on our tourist attractions map.
Place of worship
The Kaaba, also known as the Sacred House and the Ancient House, is a cuboid building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the most sacred site in Islam. Al-Masjid al-Haram, the most sacred mosque in Islam, is built around the Kaaba. Muslims are expected to face the Kaaba during prayers, no matter where they are. From any given point in the world, the direction facing the Kaaba is called the Qibla. One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim to perform the Hajj pilgrimage at least once in his or her lifetime if able to do so. Multiple parts of the Hajj require pilgrims to make Tawaf, the circumambulation seven times around the Kaaba in a counter-clockwise direction. This circumambulation is also performed by pilgrims during the Umrah. However, the most dramatic times are during the Hajj, when millions of pilgrims gather to circle the building on the same day. In 2013, the number of pilgrims coming from outside the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj was officially reported as 1,100,544.
Al-Masjid Al-Haram is in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds one of Islam's holiest places, the Kaaba. Muslims face in the direction of the Kaaba while performing formal worship, salat. One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim to perform the Hajj pilgrimage at least once in his or her lifetime if able to do so, includes circumambulation of the Kaaba. The current structure covers an area of 356,800 square metres including the outdoor and indoor praying spaces and can accommodate up to two million worshipers during the Hajj period, one of the largest annual gatherings of people in the world. Unlike many other mosques which are segregated, men and women can worship at Al-Masjid Al-Haram together.
Al-Masjid al-Nabawī, often called the Prophet's Mosque, is a mosque built by the Islamic Prophet Muhammad situated in the city of Medina. It is the second holiest site in Islam. It was the second mosque built in history and is now one of the largest mosques in the world. After an expansion during the reign of al-Walid I, it also now incorporates the site of the final resting place of Muhammad and early Muslim leaders Abu Bakr and Umar. The site was originally adjacent to Muhammad's house; he settled there after his Hijra to Medina in 622. He shared in the heavy work of construction. The original mosque was an open-air building. The basic plan of the building has been adopted in the building of other mosques throughout the world. The mosque also served as a community center, a court, and a religious school. There was a raised platform for the people who taught the Quran. Subsequent Islamic rulers greatly expanded and decorated it. In 1909, it became the first place in the Arabian Peninsula to be provided with electrical lights. The mosque is under the control of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
Mount Arafat or Mount Arafah is a granite hill east of Mecca. It is also known as the Mount of Mercy. According to Islamic tradition, the hill is the place where the Islamic prophet Muhammad stood and delivered the Farewell Sermon to the Muslims who had accompanied him for the Hajj towards the end of his life. It reaches about 70 m in height. The pilgrims spend the whole day on Arafah supplicating to Allah to forgive their sins and praying for personal strength in the future. They also collect stones for the stoning of Satan.
Jabal al-Nour,which can be translated from Arabic,"The Mountain of Light", or "Hill of Illumination",is a mountain near Mecca in Saudi Arabia's Hejaz region. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Mecca. The mountain houses the famed Ghar-E-Hira or Hira cave. The cave is quite small, four arm's length long by 1.75 arm's length wide. The mountain is barely six hundred and forty meters tall. It does however, take two hours to make it to the cave and is extremely strenuous on the individual. However, the mount and the cave hold tremendous significance from Muslims throughout the world. The Prophet Muhammad is said to have spent a great deal of time in the cave meditating and it is believed that he had received his first revelation from the archangel Gabriel, inside this cave from God.
Islamic Place of Worship
Masjid al-Qiblatain is a mosque in Medina that is historically important for Muslims as the place where the Islamic prophet Muhammad, leading the prayer, is said to have been commanded to change the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca. Thus it uniquely contained two prayer niches. Recently the mosque was renovated; the old prayer niche facing Jerusalem was removed, and the one facing Mecca was left. The Qiblatain Mosque is among the three earliest mosques in Islam's history, along with Quba Mosque and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi.
Jabal al-Lawz is a mountain located in northwest Saudi Arabia, near the Jordan border, above the Gulf of Aqaba at 2580 metres above sea level. The name means mountain of almonds. Claims have been made by some writers such as Bob Cornuke, Ron Wyatt and Lennart Moller that this is the real biblical Mount Sinai. Archeological evidence of this includes the remains of an altar, 12 pillars with Hebrew inscriptions and several wells at the site of an encampment at the base of the mountain. These have been rejected by scholars such as James Karl Hoffmeier who details what he calls Cornuke's "monumental blunders" and others. Gordon Franz has studied this topic in depth and has published a refutation of this hypothesis.
National Museum of Saudi Arabia
The National Museum of Saudi Arabia is a major national museum in Saudi Arabia. Established in 1999, it is part of the King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre in Riyadh.
Place of worship
Jawatha Mosque is located in the village of Al-Kilabiyah, about 12km northeast of Hofuf, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia. It was the earliest mosque built in east Arabia and most of the original structure is in ruins. The site is still used for prayer. It was built the in seventh year of hijra at the hands of the Bani Abdul Qais tribe which lived there before and early in the Islamic period. This mosque is believed to be the first mosque built in Eastern Province and is where the second Friday congregation prayer in Islam was offered, the first being held at the Prophet's Mosque in Medina. According to legend, when the Hajr Al Aswad, was stolen from Mecca by the Qarmatians, it was kept in this mosque for nearly 22 years. Most of the mosque's original structure has been lost and it remains in danger of collapse. Only five small mud-brick arches remain. The visible ruins probably date from around the 9th century AD. It has been called the third holiest site in Islam by the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals.
Jeddah Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography
The Jeddah Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography is a major museum in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Shadda Palace was the main ruling palace in Abha, Saudi Arabia. It was established around 1820. It has now been converted to a museum.