Duriah/Diriyah Ruins - Mar. 1961

    As with many place names in Saudi Arabia, the English phonetic spellings vary.  The city in the wadi west of Riyadh, which is now mostly ancient ruins, was also called Ad-Dir'iyah or Ad-Dar'iyah.  It was the ancestral home of the Al-Saud family or "House of Saud." It was the capital for early Saudi states.  In the mid 1700's the religious reformer, Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhaab, relocated to Duriah.  Duriah therefore has historical relevance to the important Saudi Wahhabi religious and political power of the country.  Ongoing conflict with the Ottoman empire eventually led to Duriah's downfall.  At the direction of the Ottomans, an Egyptian force conquered Duriah in 1818.  The current Saudi leader, as well as local Wahhabi leaders, were executed.  The city was razed.  (For more on the "Struggle with the Ottomans")

    On more than one occasion we would venture out to the ruins on day trips.  Presented here are 39 photos taken on one of those outings in May of '61.  We had no guides, no maps and only some vague notions of the history of the place.  We just wandered about, exploring, taking photos and wondering what life would have been like here many years ago.  Recent Internet searches indicate that much of this site has been restored by the Kingdom's archaeologists.

Coming upon the wadi with the road down to Duriah.

A damaged slide, but shows view looking down in to the part surrounded by vegetation.

Not much vegetation seen here at the higher parts of the razed city.

This ancient fortress turret commands a prominent position. 

Hugh Wyland looks down from the turret.

Some of the date palms here also seem to be entering a state of ruin.

As we descend into the old city we get this view back up at the turret.

Closer to the distressed palms and the lower level.

We wonder if these holes were caused by military action or ravages of time...

Rubble strewn passageways. 

Another view from the higher level.

Not knowing for sure where we are going, we keep exploring.

We were surprised to find that parts of the old city were still inhabited.

There were obviously many multistoried building in this old city.

Evidence of wells and water systems were apparent.

The ornate doors on some of the inhabited dwellings were intriguing. 

Sgt Simko checks out doorways along this narrow street.

A very photogenic fellow willingly pauses & poses.

Down in the bottom of the wadi or dry riverbed, we find more lush vegetation & active agricultural activity.

Here Simko stands by our trusty VW crew cab.

At this lower level there is obvious signs of recent activity.

But sign of old ruins are still present.

A pleasant walled roadway.

Some of the old wells.

and more ruined buildings.

We were amazed that some of these old walls could still be standing.

Checking out more streets & passageways. 

It was always enjoyable to see green in these open places.

Hugh checks out a covered well or cistern. 

Well, I guess Hugh did find us some capable guides!

These friendly young residents were very willing to show us around their area.

Here they show us the irrigated plots beneath the palm trees.

This exposes water line gave hints of modern times.

Another old well.

We guessed this might be an old mosque.

This vineyard or ? did not look to be in good shape.

Hugh poses by the Mission's Jeep which he often drove.

And Keith had to get his picture taken with our Jeep before we left the wadi & Duriah.

A lost shot.. but taken earlier somewhere in the ruins. It must be the remains of a column. 

Return to Old Military Photo Album Index

Hit Counter