Owing to the numerous tribes that lived in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom has a long, illustrious past. The history and heritage of the kingdom are beautifully documented in the museums of Saudi Arabia. These museums preserve the antiques and relics from Islamic and pre-Islamic times. Further adhering to the government’s plan to increase non-religious tourism, the museums of Saudi Arabia have evolved greatly over the years. With the help of the latest technology, the museums now provide an all-engrossing experience to tourists.
12 popular museums of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is a nation with a rich cultural heritage. The kingdom has numerous museums around the country to showcase its illustrious past. Tourists can explore ancient artifacts, historical weapons, religious texts, and more displayed in these beautifully designed museums. Further, some artifacts date 4000 years back in time, making the visit a one-of-a-kind experience. Here are the top 12 museums of Saudi Arabia:
1. Clock Tower Museum, Makkah
The Clock Tower Museum, housed in the world’s third-highest skyscraper and tallest clock tower, is a must-see tourist destination in Makkah city. The museum has scientific centers, observatories, and observation decks. The clock tower’s first four floors are reserved as the grounds for the museum. The iconic Makkah Clock dubbed the world’s most accurate clock, can be seen on the first level. Observatory is situated on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Massive astronomical models are preserved at the museum on these floors. The fourth story includes large balconies that provide a panoramic view of the Grand Mosque.
Clock Tower Museum’s location: King Abdul Aziz Rd, Makkah
Clock Tower Museum’s timings: 2 pm – 11 pm
Entry fee: Clock Tower Museum ticket price is 150 SAR per person normally and 300 SAR per person for VIPs
2. Makkah Museum, Makkah
The Makkah Museum, formerly known as the Al Zahir Palace, is the ideal site to visit if one wishes to learn about Makkah’s past and present. It is, without a doubt, one of city’s most popular museums. The museum transports visitors back to Saudi Arabia’s creative history. Magnificent Islamic literature, art, and archaeology collection may be found here. Inscriptions that represent the Quran’s teachings are showcased on the walls of the museum. The inscriptions demonstrate the centuries-old Islamic art of calligraphy. Visitors to the Makkah Museum can have a historical and religious sense of great history while wandering around the halls. There are separate prayer rooms for men and women in the museum.
Makkah Museum’s location: Makkah Al Madinah Munawwarah Rd, Az Zahir, Makkah
Makkah Museum’s timings: 8 am – 12:30 pm, & 4 pm – 9 pm.
3. Dar Al Madinah Museum, Madinah
Privately owned by Abdul-Aziz bin Abdul-Rahman bin Ibrahim Kaki, the Dar Al Madinah museum admirably showcases the historical past of the holy city. The museum provides working and still models of the old machines, locations, and more. The museum has exhibits displaying the history of the Prophet’s mosque, Masjid An Nabawi, a model of Haram al-Sharif, with Al Aqsa and Dome of Rock models as well. Additionally, there are around 2000 exhibits in the museum preserving many ancient and historical items, photographs, and relics. One of which is the bow of Saad Ibn Abi-Waqas, a companion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Dar Al Madinah Museum’s location: Safwan Ibn Malik Al Tamimi, Al Mabuth, Madinah
Dar Al Madinah Museum’s timings: Sunday to Thursday, 11 am – 7 pm. Closed on Friday
Entry fee: SR 25
4. National Museum of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh
The National Museum of Saudi Arabia houses one of the most extensive collections on the evolution of life in the Arabian peninsula. The museum boasts four main sections among many, including the Man and Universe Hall, Pre Islamic Era Hall, Prophet’s Mission Hall, and Hall on Saudi Arabia foundation. These halls display amazing exhibits with fossils of animals, antiques of old tribes, relics from the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) era, and weapons and maps of the region.
National Museum of Saudi Arabia’s location: King Faisal Road, King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre, Riyadh
National Museum of Saudi Arabia’s timings: Saturday to Thursday, 8 am – 8 pm, Friday 4 pm – 8 pm
Entry fee: SR 10 for adults
Suggested Read: 7 Museums in Riyadh That Every Tourist Should Visit
5. Royal Saudi Air Force Museum, Riyadh
Also known as the Saqer-Aljazirah Aviation Museum, the Royal Saudi Air Force Museum is one of Riyadh’s most famous museums. It is the ideal site to learn about the country’s aviation heritage. The Saudi Arabian Air Force section is showcased in the Aviation Museum in Riyadh. Old airplane models, fighter jets, and other aircraft used by the air force are on display for visitors. The Airplane Museum Riyadh also has a one-of-a-kind exhibition on Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (the first Saudi to go to space), as well as specific outfits and weaponry used by the Saudi air force throughout history.
Royal Saudi Air Force Museum’s location: Eastern Ring Rd, King Abdullah Dt., Riyadh
Royal Saudi Air Force Museum’s timings: 9 am – 12 pm; 4 pm – 9 pm
Entry fee: 10 SAR for adults and 5 SAR for children
6. Museum of Happiness, Riyadh
Inviting people of all ages, the Museum of Happiness creates a destressing environment with vibrant colors. Unlike other museums, visitors are meant to interact with the exhibits. The museum maintains a fun theme around its 1300 square meters of area. The 10 display halls have a teddy room, gumball machine, retro games, rubber duck, etc. The museum also has an on-site restaurant named the Happiness cafe. Visitors can also purchase souvenirs relating to the museum from the gift shop.
Museum of Happiness’s location: Front, Riyadh
Museum of Happiness’s timings: 4 pm – 12 am, every day
Entry fee: SR 160 for adults and SR 60 for children below 12 years of age.
7. Tayebat Museum, Jeddah
Tayebat Museum is an outstanding display of Hijazi architecture. The museum houses old manuscripts, items on Arabian heritage, and Arab historical recreations. It is elegantly furnished and spans 10,000 sq m, with 12 structures and approximately 300 chambers. It is also a Saudi Arabia art museum with numerous artworks from renowned artists adorning the walls of the museum. Further, it has items entailing the noteworthy history of Saudi Arabia.
Tayebat Museum’s location: Rayhanat Al Jazirah, Al Faisaliyah District, Jeddah
Tayebat Museum’s timings: Saturday to Thursday, 8 am – 12 pm & 5 pm – 9 pm, closed on Friday
8. Historical Khuzam Palace, Jeddah
The museum is located in Jeddah’s Al-Nuzlah al-Yamaniyah area, within the confinements of the famous Khuzam Palace. Artefacts from the Neolithic period attributed to the Acheulean era unearthed in nearby Wadi Fatimah, items from several pre-Islamic civilisations, items reflecting the rise of Islam, and remnants from the imperial family’s time at the castle are among the collection’s highlights. A separate collection comprises anthropological artefacts that illustrate modern culture in the region.
Historical Khuzam Palace’s location: Al-Nazlah Al-Yamaniyah, Jeddah
9. Nassif House Museum, Jeddah
Nassif House is both a historical site and a museum. Following the city’s conquest in 1925, the 106-room mansion, which was built for the governor of Jeddah in the late 19th century, became a headquarters for King Abdulaziz ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia. The mansion was turned into a library in 1975. However, the 16,000 books are now kept at King Abdulaziz University in the city. The architecture of the seven-story Nassif House Museum is worth seeing merely for the architecture. It is Ottoman Turkish in style, with various chambers organized around labyrinthine halls. The enormous windows feature a wood lattice and Islamic calligraphy on the tiles.
Nassif House Museum’s location: Al Balad area, Jeddah
Nassif House Museum’s timings: Monday to Saturday 8 am – 11:55 pm; Sunday 8 am – 12 pm, & 6 pm – 12 am
10. Scitech Technology Center, Al Khobar
Sultan bin Abdulaziz Scientific & Technology Center (SciTech), one of Saudi Arabia’s most well-known science museums, is the best to enjoy a day exploring interactive scientific and technological displays. Visitors can experience the best of the ocean life in the depths of the sea, along with the astronomical observatory that rises high up in the sky. Further, one can understand about natural occurrences like the moon’s waning and waxing phases, as well as many other fascinating scientific processes. Tourists can attend technology exhibitions for a more insightful visit.
Scitech Technology Center’s location: Corniche, Alkurnaish, Al Khobar
Scitech Technology Center’s timings: Sunday to Thursday, 8 am – 3 pm, 4 pm to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday – From 4 pm to 10 pm
11. King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Dhahran
The King Abdulaziz Center for world culture, or Ithra, is well-known for its extensive collection of Arabic art. The museum is an 18-story masterpiece of a progressive design that includes exhibition halls and a reading room with a massive collection of literature. Further, the unique architecture of the museum and cultural center has made it a landmark in the region. Tourists can attend scientific workshops and discussion programs to learn more about Saudi Arabian culture. The place is ideal for youngsters since it allows them to learn while having fun.
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture’s location: Ring Rd, Gharb Al Dhahran, Dhahran
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture’s timings: Saturday to Thursday, 9 am – 9 pm, on Friday, 4 pm – 10 pm
12. Tabuk Castle And Museum, Tabuk
Tabuk Castle, which dates back to 35 BC, is another tourist attraction in Saudi Arabia. It is an iconic landmark that depicts the life and the times when it was built. The castle’s name is taken directly from the Holy Quran. In the category of finest museums in Saudi Arabia, the castle was named the best for its amazing design and architecture. The complex comprises two mosques, an open square, watchtowers, and a freshwater cistern. The fortress has been transformed into a museum housing a vast collection of historic papers dating back to the days of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Tabuk Castle And Museum’s location: Uthman Ibn Affan Road, Tabuk
Tabuk Castle And Museum’s timings: Saturday to Thursday, 7 am – 1: 45 pm, & 4 pm – 8 pm, closed on Friday
Saudi Arabia has a diverse culture, influenced by its Islamic background, historical significance as an old trading hub, and Bedouin customs. Over the last several centuries, Saudi society has advanced dramatically, still preserving the heritage in its extensive museums. The museums of Saudi Arabia are a must-visit to learn about the historic past of the Arabian Peninsula and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Museums of Saudi Arabia FAQs
Why is Dar Al Madinah Museum popular?
The museum has extensive picture galleries and city models portraying the history of the Prophet Mosque highlighting Madinah interesting legacy.
What is the cost of a ticket to the National Museum of Saudi Arabia?
The National Museum of Saudi Arabia ticket is SR 10 for adults.
What is the other name for King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture?
King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture is also known as Ithra.
Are there working models in the Scitech Technology Center?
Yes, the museum has interactive displays for visitors.
Why is Museum of Happiness famous?
Museum of Happiness offers some of the best interactive displays with game centers for kids.
How many museums are there in Saudi Arabia?
As per the online site of Statista, there were 210 museums in Saudi Arabia during 2019.