Al Musmak Castle is considered one of the more important landmarks in the Kingdom and occupies a prominent place in the history of Riyadh city. It represents the blessed march that led to the foundation and unification of the Kingdom. This castle is associated with the heroic battle of the conquering of Riyadh under the leadership of King Abdulaziz on the dawn of the fifth of Sha’aban 1319H.
Musmak means thick, high, and fortified and was built during the reign of Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Rasheed in 1289 -1315H. It was captured by King Abdulaziz in 1319H, corresponding to 1902H. Later, it was used as a depot until it was decided to convert the castle into a heritage landmark that represents a stage in the history of Saudi Arabia.
Things to See at Al Musmak Castle
Gate of the Palace
The Palace Gate lies on the Western side of the Palace. The Gate is 3.6 meters high and 2.65 meters wide. It is made of palm and tamarisk trunks with a thickness of 10 cm. There are three beams and each of beams has 25cm thickness. There is an opening at the center, called the skylight that is used as a small door that permits the entry of only one person while bending down. This gate has witnessed the fierce battle between King Abdulaziz and his opponents and it is easy to see the bayonet which was broken at the gate.
The Mosque – It is located right on the left of the palace’s gate. It is a wide room with many pillars and shelves for the Holy Quran, Mihrab and ventilation openings at the walls and roof.
Sitting Place (Saloon) – It lies opposite to the gate. It is a rectangular room with a traditional Najdi burrow. There are ventilation and light openings on the Western side as well as the southern side overlooking the main yard.
The Well – Located on the north-eastern side where water is drawn by a scaffold mounted on the mouth of the well.
There is a cylindrical watch tower at each of the four corners of the Castle. Each watch tower is 18 meters high. The lower is ascended by stairs and a wood ladder. In each watch tower there is a place for riffles around the premises of the tower. The thickness of the wall of the watch tower is about 1.25 meters and there is a square watch tower in the center of the palace. This tower is called Al Muraba‘a that means ‘the square’ overlooking the palace through the upper balcony. There is a main yard surrounded by rooms with connected pillars and the stairs on the Eastern side leading to the first floor and the roofs. There are also three residential units where the first was used as a residence for the ruler, the second was used as a treasury and the third was specified for the guests.
The castle is open to the public to explore its impressive rooms, pillared mosque, gate, watchtowers and well.