• Bangladesh!

    Bangladesh: Traditional houses. Go Now!

    This low-lying country has historic ties to India and Pakistan, but today maintains a wholly unique culture. Explore Bangladesh!

  • Indonesia!

    Indonesia: Lombok. Go Now!

    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

  • Jordan!

    Jordan: Petra. Go Now!

    Tucked away in this Middle Eastern country, the famed city of Petra (pictured) links the past to the present culture. Explore Jordan!

  • Mongolia!

    Mongolia: Desert. Go Now!

    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

  • Kyrgyzstan!

    Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Mountains. Go Now!

    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Architecture of Saudi Arabia

WARNING: Terrorist threats linger in Saudi Arabia, please read this travel warning before going!

Saudi architecture has few early standing pieces, but much was constructed prior to the 600s. During this time most structures were houses built with local materials, including limestone, clay, and coral, depending on the region. None of these early buildings have lasted though.

After the introduction of Islam in the 600s this began to change. As the home to Islam some of the world's most impressive and meaningful mosques have been built in the country, most particularly in Mecca and Medina.

The growth of Islamic architecture in today's Saudi Arabia began in substantial numbers in the early 700s under the Umayyad rulers and the buildings of a mosque in Medina. Although this mosque is no longer standing, it greatly influenced later mosques as it was made in the "hypostyle," which consists of numerous columns holding up a large roof. It was also one of the first mosques to have a mihrab, which is now found in every mosque.

From this point until the modern day, Saudi Arabia hasn't had much of a unified architectural movement and oddly the region generally fell under foreign rule, meaning there were few monumental structures built on the land.

From the 700s until the 1900s architectural variation occurred primarily in the structure being built and the region. Mosques and houses were the most common constructions as mosques were built in the same style they were in the 600s and continue to be today. However the materials used were generally quite varied, as the traditional materials of clay, coral, and limestone were used.

In the 1900s the country was unified and began to gain great wealth with the discovery of oil. This led to modern buildings, which are much easier to build than historic constructions due to the materials and machines created by the Industrial Revolution, including concrete, steel, and cranes. There are numerous modern buildings in the country, most particularly in the capital city of Riyadh. Oddly, one of the most striking and impressive buildings in the country today is Riyadh's International Airport.

This page was last updated: July, 2012