DISCOVER SAUDI'S DEEPER HISTORY
The Makkah region’s historic significance began long before Islamic times, of course; for a deep dive into this astonishingly rich past, visit the imposing Makkah Museum, housed within the beautiful jewel-toned interiors of the Qasr al-Zahir palace, built by King Abdul Aziz. The archaeological exhibits on the ground floor chronicle various regions of the kingdom from the rock-art era to the early Islamic era, and the upper level has displays on Islamic currency from the Byzantine, Abbasid, and Umayyad periods; traditional crafts and fabrics; and rare Korans and other Islamic texts. Each room has impeccable signage in English. You won’t be so lucky at Gallery and Museum Assalaamu Aleyka Ayyuhan Nabiyyu, an interactive museum dedicated to the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. High-tech exhibits include 3-D renderings of the Prophet’s house, a depiction of his family tree, and tools that would have been used during his time. It’s a wonderful exhibit, but the 45-minute tours (leaving at set times between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., and between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.) are conducted in Arabic—and all displays and captions are in Arabic as well. If you’re not fluent, consider asking the Conrad concierge to book a translator to assist.
The Makkah Museum is 15 minutes north of the Conrad, and Assalaamu Aleyka Ayyuhan Nabiyyu Museum is 15 minutes southeast. If you don’t speak Arabic, ask Conrad to send a translator with you for the latter.
MAKKAH MUSEUM: Madinah Rd., next to King Abdul Aziz Hospital, al-Zahir
GALLERY AND MUSEUM ASSALAAMU ALEYKA AYYUHAN NABIYYU: An-Nasim