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These Amazing Instagrams Show How Much Saudi Arabia’s Capital Riyadh Has Grown in the Last Decade | | 10.29.13

Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, has undergone dramatic growth and modernization during the last decade – an extraordinary period of economic expansion and population growth. Riyadh’s population now exceeds 5 million with its metropolitan area claiming close to 7 million people.


SUSTG thought it would be interesting to explore just how much change has occurred by sharing photos taken from the Saudi capital’s three tallest buildings – the Kingdom Tower, the Al Faisaliya Center Tower, and the Tamkeen Tower.

They are, themselves, icons of growth in Riyadh.  The oldest, the Al Faisaliya Center Tower was completed in 2000.  The Kingdom Tower was finished in 2002 and the Tamkeen Tower just last year, 2012.  Outside of the stupendous Makkah Royal Clock Tower (second tallest building in the world at 1,972 feet), these three are the tallest skyscrapers in the Kingdom (Tamkeen Tower is tied with the two Abraj Al Bait towers in Jeddah at 869 feet).

These images reflect a particular perspective and portray – as you will see by clicking any of the photos below and viewing them in a slideshow – a sprawling metropolitan city.

With little rain, extreme temperatures, and susceptible to sandstorms, Riyadh’s very existence is improbable. Established as the capital of Saudi Arabia in 1932 by King Abdulaziz, the city continues to grow by leaps and bounds.   Look closely and you will see a fascinating contrast between Riyadh’s old and new, where towering structures are often only a block away from traditional housing.