In Your Neighbourhood: Exploring Salwa Palace And Celebrating National Day With Daria In Diriyah, Saudi Arabia

Discovering the iconic destinations in the old capital of Saudi Arabia.

by Deeplata Garde
In Your Neighbourhood: Exploring Salwa Palace And Celebrating National Day With Daria In Diriyah, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has been the talk of the town in recent years for multiple reasons. Be it the latest win in the bid to host the 2030 World Expo Fair or the much-loved Saudi Hospitality, it’s always in the news! So today let’s crawl back in the past and explore the origin of Saudi’s first state, Diriyah and everything about it. Come join us and our Founder and Editor in Chief, Kamiya Jani in our journey to explore it. Because if you visit Saudi Arabia and skip visiting Diriyah, your trip won’t be complete.

Meeting Daria And Learning About Diriyah, Riyadh

Pic Creds: Internal

Kamiya Jani was accompanied by Daria who guided us through the Saudi neighbourhood. Daria is an expat living in Saudi Arabia for the past 6 years. She flew down to Saudi Arabia from Ukraine in 2017 and since then has been enjoying her life in the kingdom. We were quite curious to know the changes she observed in these 6 years in Saudi Arabia. Daria explained to us how she felt that Saudi was quite a conservative country in the initial years when she shifted. The small talk was followed by Daria unveiling the plan for the day. The first place on her list was Salwa Palace, the house of the first Saudi family.

Kamiya & Daria Start Their Journey With Saudi Coffee & Dates At Hodej Coffee Shop

Pic Creds: Internal

Our host for the day made us well-versed about the palace while they took a walk towards the palace. She told us how the foundation of Saudi Arabia was laid in Diriyah. She further added that Salwa Palace was the first house of the first ruling family of the Kingdom. But before reaching the palace, they took a refreshing coffee break, because you don’t start the day in Saudi without sipping on Saudi coffee and relishing the dates. Offering coffee is a major part of Saudi hospitality. Talking about Saudi coffee, the roasted beans are quite different from the normal brew and you get a hint of cardamom as well in it. The green beans are roasted and you can expect the taste to be a little bitter. Hence it is served with the dates to add sweetness.

Also, we learned a custom that locals in Saudi follow. According to Daria, everybody in the kingdom picks everything from their right hand and we quickly got a hang of it.

Celebrating Saudi National Day With The Kids

Pic Creds: Internal

Kamiya and Daria spotted some kids joyously celebrating Saudi National Day while they were on their way to the palace. As they took a halt to see the celebrations with kids waving the Saudi flag, Kamiya spotted a younger self in a little girl with curly hair. Our founder was mesmerised by her and couldn’t let go. So bidding the hardest goodbye they left for the Salwa Palace. While taking a walk through the Bujairi Terrace in Riyadh towards the palace Kamiya expressed how she imagined the kingdom to be just full of deserts. She was taken aback by looking at the greenery she was surrounded by. Daria agreed with her and said how she had the same perception of Saudi before she shifted here. She described how this was one park and one of the biggest parks is expected to open in 2030 as part of Vision 2030.

Visiting The Magnificent Salwa Palace

Pic Creds: Internal

The beautiful palace looked straight out of the Arabian tales that we have heard in our childhood. Daria said that Salva Palace is the historical residence of the ruling family and the birthplace of the nation. It is now turned into a museum for people to learn about the history and heritage of Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. As per Daria, anybody can visit this palace and get a tour. Upon entering they first took a look at the family tree of the royal family and the reigning period of each king was mentioned alongside their name. They caught a glimpse of the miniature model of the palace with an Eagle view with small old houses and also some shops. After getting a tour of the Museum, the duo headed to have some traditional lunch.

Also Read: In Your Neighbourhood: From Lonely Palace To AlJadidah District, Exploring AlUla, Saudi Arabia With Blue Abaya

Traditional Saudi Dinner At Maiz Restaurant

Pic Creds: Internal

Daria treated Kamiya to an authentic Saudi dinner. She spoke about the difference between the two traditional dishes Kabsa and Mandi. She explained how there’s a slight difference between these two dishes. Mandi is prepared underground and kabsa is prepared in the oven. Daria’s personal favourite is Kabsa. As the dish arrived, she immediately started shredding the meat for them to eat. Kamiya relished the dish and loved everything about it. Kamiya asked Daria what’s her other favourite Saudi food to which she replied Jarish. Jarish is a porridge-like dish that consists of boiled, cracked, or coarsely ground cracked wheat or bulgur. It’s mixed with meat and seasoned with spices.

She also shared some of her favourite restaurants in Riyadh to add to our must-visit list. Daria suggested that Kamiya visit the Nash Village restaurant. She gave us the details about its ambience and food as well. Well, they called it a night with the Saudi Coffee. After that Kamiya made Daria play a quick game called ‘This’ or ‘That’. The questions included her favourite food, whether she preferred the mountains or desert, and so more. Daria also said she prefers traditional souks over malls and Saudi’s Authentic food over Ukrainian food. And with the end of the game, Kamiya and Daria concluded the journey in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

Cover Image Courtesy: Internal

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