Riyadh (Arabic: الرياض, romanized: ar-Riyāḍ, lit.: ‘The Gardens’ [ar.riˈjaːdˤ] Najdi pronunciation: [er.rɪˈjɑːðˤ]) is the capital of Saudi Arabia and the largest city on the Arabian Peninsula. Located in the center of the an-Nafud desert, on the eastern part of the Najd plateau, the city sits at an average of 600 metres (2,000 ft) above sea level, and receives around 5 million tourists each year, making it the forty-ninth most visited city in the world and the 6th in the Middle East. Riyadh had a population of 7.6 million people in 2019, making it the most populous city in Saudi Arabia, 3rd most populous in the Middle East, and 38th most populous in Asia.
The first mentioning of the city by the name Riyadh was in 1590, by an early Arab chronicler. In 1737, Deham Ibn Dawwas, who was from the neighboring Manfuha, settled in and took control of the city. Deham built a wall around the city, and the best known source of the name Riyadh is from this period, thought to be referring to the earlier oasis towns that predated the wall built by Ibn Dawwas. In 1744, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab formed an alliance with the Emir of Dir’iyah, Muhammad bin Saud, and in 1774, they took Riyadh from Deham. However their state, now known as the First Saudi State, came to a collapse in 1818. Turki ibn Abdullah founded the Second Saudi State in the early 19th century and made Riyadh his capital in 1825. However, his reign over the city was disrupted by a joint Ottoman–Rashidi alliance. Finally, in the early 20th century, ‘Abdulaziz ibn Saud, known in the west simply as Ibn Saud, retrieved his ancestral kingdom of Najd in 1902 and consolidated his rule by 1926 with the final Saudi conquest of Hejaz. After this he named his kingdom Saudi Arabia in September 1932 with Riyadh as the capital.