Al Masmak Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour


  • Discover the mud-brick fort in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

  • Learn about the role the fortress had throughout history

  • Instagram Hotspots: We find the perfect picture spots

  • Offline Mode: Download tours and listen without WiFi

  • Explore the site in a COVID-19 safe environment


Explore Al Masmak Fortress, a mudbrick fort that played a fundamental role in the unification of Saudi Arabia.

Tour info

1 hour -
Group Size
Pricing (From)
Adult: (0-90 years)
Meeting Point

Riyadh, Riyadh Province, 12634

Dropoff location

6937 Al Thumairi St, Al Thumairi St, Riyadh, Riyadh Province, 12634

Why take this tour?

Discover the secret spots of Al Masmak Fortress, a mudbrick fort that played a fundamental role in the unification of Saudi Arabia, with this private immersive guide! 

Guided by an expert historian, we’ll visit the historic building and discover the secret tales in this key sightseeing spot. Starting at  Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque, we'll make our way to Al Masmak Fortress, or Al Masmak Palace, and learn about Riyadh’s origin as a capital city and the Recapture of Riyadh in 1902. Finally, we’ll hear about Al Masmak’s current role as a place of remembrance in 21st century Saudi Arabia. 

Embark on this epic adventure through time and learn about many of Al Masmak’s galleries, from the Courtyard and Historical Galleries, to the Pioneer’s rooms and Watchtower. 

Start the tour outside Al Masmak Fortress as we learn about the origins of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Royal Family. Wander around Al Safat Square, just outside Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Grand Mosque, a perfect example of just how much Riyadh has changed over the past 100 years.

As we approach Al Masmak’s gate, learn about the story of Abdulaziz’s recapture of Al Masmak Fortress back in 1902 where 63 men were tasked with taking on an entire city! Hear how Abdulaziz reunified the Arabian peninsula into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Enter Al Masmak’s courtyard as we hear what this structure has been used for during the past 100 years, from weapon storage to becoming a prison. Get a closer look at some of the design choices that have gone into the building, like how the second floor was designed as a maze so invaders, or escaping prisoners, wouldn’t be able to work their way around.

Head into the First Gallery to get a closer look at Saudi Arabia’s transformation over the past 300 years. Notice how fiercely contested the Western part of the Arabian Peninsula has been over recent centuries. This is because of its religious importance – it’s where the holy lands of Makkah and Madinah are located.

Look at a painting depicting King Abdulaziz’s 1902 recapture in the Second Gallery, then take a moment to look at the weapons in this room that match the weapons in this painting. When you’re ready, watch a short film inside the museum that depicts the 1902 recapture.

Visit the Pioneers Gallery which shows the names of those 63 men that travelled with King Abdulaziz. 10 are from the Saudi Royal Family and the rest are from different families from around the Arabian Peninsula. This room was opened at the end of a ceremony where the sons of these 63 pioneers were each awarded honoree medals.

Learn about traditional clothes worn across the Arabian Peninsula. For instance, the thoub, a traditional ankle length garment with long sleeves similar to a robe or tunic that’s predominantly worn by men. It’s usually made of cotton but can be woven with heavier materials like sheep’s wool for the winter. You’ve also got the Shumaq, which is the red scarf in the head, and the Taqiyyah, which is the hat underneath the Shumaq. Then there’s the Eqal, which is the back circular object on top of the Shumaq to hold it.

Venture into one of Al Masmak’s Watchtowers to get a closer look at Arabian architecture. Learn how separate regions around Saudi Arabia have very distinct architectural design due to their climates, taking a close look at the Hijaz region, Najd region, Asir region and the Eastern province.

Dive into the history of Riyadh at the Photographer’s Gallery and find a selection of photography from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. The city has grown from an area of one square kilometer and a population of 14,000 people in 1902 to an area of 1,500 square kilometers and a population of over 7,000,000 people in 2020. 

Head into the most important yard in the fortress because of a water well. This well helped with the fortress’ strategy by providing water for over 6 months in case of enemy surroundings. Next to the well sits an Ottoman canon, which once let the people of Riyadh know when to break or begin their fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

Finish the tour in the Final Gallery and have look at a model of Al Masmak Fortress. Learn how the crown is passed in the Saud Royal family, often handed to whoever is best placed to rule, not just according to direct bloodlines. Make sure to ask a representative of the museum about the temporary galleries and if there are any events in the area.

The Vidi Guides experience is enriched with on-screen photos and videos. We also point out where to take the perfect Instagram photos during the tour, and include recommendations for food, drinks, and local attractions. Don't worry, none of our recommendations are sponsored - they are simply favourites of the locals who helped craft the experience.

Vidi Guides creates immersive audio experiences that are like podcasts. This is a self-guided audio tour that can be started or stopped at your own convenience. Download the Vidi Guides app & your Riyadh tour to explore the area independently and safely! Make sure to download your tour before your visit to streamline your trip!

What’s included?

  • Access to your self-guided audio tour

  • Audio tour provided by a local or historian

  • Offline Mode: Download tours in advance to listen without WiFi

  • Location Aware: GPS map allows you to enjoy sites, without getting lost

  • Instagram Hotspots: We find the spot for your perfect picture

  • Headphones

  • Mobile device

  • Entrance to Al Masmak

Things to know

Before you book

  • This product is suitable for all ages

  • Do it at your own pace. This product is suitable for all fitness levels

  • English speaking Audio guide only

Before you go

  • Wear clothing suitable for the season you are visiting Al Masmak

  • You will need to bring your own mobile phone

  • You will need to bring your own headset/earphones

Covid Policy

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience

This is a covid safe tour. Socially distance from other visitors to Al Masmak with your independent, self guided tour!

Cancellation Policy

    Up to 24 hours before the beginning of the activity: full refund Less than 24 hours before the beginning of the activity or no-show: no refund

Redemption information

    You will receive a separate email from Vidi Guides with an access link to your tour

    Your voucher will be collected or scanned on redemption

About operator:

Too many people visit places without discovering anything about them. And we can’t let that happen.

We believe that the true essence of travelling lies in the joy of discovering the authentic face of cities, neighbourhood and cultural sites, and unlocking the many tales they hold.

With that spirit in our hearts, we started out in search of these stories hidden in the nooks and corners of Paris, London, Cambridge and Oxford's most iconic spots. We then dived into each place’s culture, history, and traditions by collaborating with historians, famous architects, photographers, street artists, and many more. What we ended up finding was a treasure trove of stories that we have meticulously tied together just for you!

But how to deliver this information? We didn’t want to create another Wikipedia, with people looking at their phones instead of the sites. And let’s face it, audioguides and headsets belong to the 20th century.. This is why we’ve created our own storytelling format. Podcast-style tours, enriched with photos and videos, that keep you wanting more.

Our goal is to create a form of travel that will make you truly discover the places you visit.

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