Al Tahlia on Thursdays

Al Tahlia is a street in the middle of Riyadh, lined on both sides with restaurants, coffee shops and a few boutiques and specialty shops. Last Thursday, February 11th, I went out to dinner with my sisters and afterwards, we decided to pass by Al Tahlia because we heard it gets crazy every Thursday. Our Thursdays are like Saturdays for the West. It’s the first day of the weekend. So my sister Fatten and I wanted to check it out especially since I had my camera handy and we weren’t disappointed. Keep in my mind that:

1-     Alcohol is illegal and inaccessible to the majority.

2-     These photos were all taken after midnight.

This one is just to show how crowded it really was. And those lighted poles on the left are palm trees with their trunks decorated with tiny yellow lights

And the police were out too. In full force, they had a bus parked onto one side and you can see police cars and police on foot bringing young men to the bus.

Here you can see men being led to the bus.

But that didn’t stop people (men actually) from making a ruckus, pointlessly hanging out of the windows of their cars and playing their music loud.

When they saw me with my camera they started to call out to me to take their picture. This one guy was especially persistent, that even the driver told me to take his photo! When he got the camera pointed at him he went back down into the car to get a sign on which he had painted his cell phone number. I blacked out his eyes and his number.

All over the street, they wanted to get their picture taken and posed for the camera. At one stop light a car full of kids actually ignored the red light so that they could get into the camera’s field of view. Some would even drive up to our windows to get a picture taken.

And it wasn’t only cars. motorcycles were aplenty. These guys didn’t mind having their photo taken as long as I gave them time to cover their faces with bandannas and scarves.

Restaurants too were packed. These photos were taken at 12:30 am.

The police blocked the crossroads in the middle of al Tahlia street so that the cars would have to disperse left and right.

Some say that the police were right to do so. This is an area in the middle of the city and by behaving this way, these men are causing traffic issues. There is an area just outside Riyadh, Al Mounisiya, next to King Fahad stadium where there is a cluster of sheesha (hookah) shops and restaurants. Also that area is famous for its  isterhas (weekend houses) which are available for nightly rent. So you can’t say that they have no place to go.


Filed under Culture, Fun

36 responses to “Al Tahlia on Thursdays

  1. Nice coverage. It gets crazy and I avoid passing by because this place becomes full of idiots.

  2. Usman

    And why exactly people are interested for their photos to be taken?

  3. Wooow
    Your sister and you such brave ladies
    When I pass by Altahlyah St. In Riyadh or Jeddah during the weekend I could see the good example of pressure that accelerate explosion.
    Lots of young ages driving their fancy cars for nothing, trying to be special in front of possible a passing by girl!!
    Such energy if just used for building up a real civilization, I am sure we would be the greatest nation among all world.

    • Usman

      seems like you spend your life in constant fear in KSA.

      • Usman,
        are u replying me comment? or Eman!

        I am not afraid of myself for sure, I am man with 42 years old.. but my fear comes out of my kids future!
        if you have a kid, can you allow him to go by himself/herself to the Mini market that near by your house alone! I doubt!!

  4. Hala

    This is hilarious…

  5. Superb coverage of the events there.Good to see life goes on in full swing there.

    Lexus in 11th picture has been so well shot.. 🙂

  6. Nice. We used to live on Tahliyya Street, so it’s nice for me to see all these pictures. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. Pretty interesting coverage and I really admire you for doing it, but I did not like how you ended it (does it really matter what I think? it doesn’t)

    Yes there are no other places to go that are constructive to society and one’s self. Do I have to fill my lungs with unhealthy smoke by going to these “Shisha Gahawi”? Why can’t I contribute to the country’s economy by spending money in shopping malls for instance?

    Anyways, great job 🙂

  8. ali

    mind you last thursday was the night where a major football (soccer) match took place in Riyadh and what you see was football fans expressing their happiness for their team’s win. in this situation, police, bus, road-block is normal to avoid mass chaos

  9. I believe that the lack of entertainment culture in our country has developed a deformed sense toward the concept of ‘having fun’!

    I have never quite understood how spending hours on a congested street can be considered as ‘having fun’!

  10. Najeeb

    Crazy Kids !
    I love Tahiliah Street , but only in Friday mornings lol !

  11. I am fom Chicago Il USA. This is aso typical of how the youth hangout. On the lakefront, In White Castles parking lot. A Wendy’s got closed down because so many people were getting killed there. All the restaurants have bullet proof windows that you pick up your order from. I’m saying this to say, that at least the Saudi youth know how to have fun without killing each other. It was a given when I grew up that the party was over once the guns got slinging and no doubt they did.

    Add intermingling of the genders and I can give you more stories to make you grateful that the Saudis are not THAT far gone.

    However, The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Whoever imitates a certain people becomes one of them.” [Abu Daawood]

    So the youth should beware of this, as our Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam foretold the following: “You will follow the ways of those who were before you span by span and cubit by cubit, to the extent that even if they enter a lizard’s hole, you would follow them.”

    In this case, it’s not so much as those who were before them, but just imitating the ways of the disbelievers in general.

    • Nate

      I’m also in the US: It should be said that there are thousands places where youth congregate in this manner with little or no violence aside from the occasional scuffle. It’s not all drugs and violence. Most of the country is surprisingly dull, by Western standards.

  12. I was there last year during my time in Riyadh. As a westerner I have to say …I was amused 😉

  13. sameer

    nice pics—but i would still prefer sharia-free, alcohol-full dubai any time over dry dead bored riyadh.

  14. I don’t blame them .. they’ve nothing to do … that is the only way they can express themselves…

    but I don’t agree with some behaviours ..

  15. Tiffany

    Yeah I heard about this place, it’s kinda understandable I guess, when you’re young you want to mingle with the oppisite sex.

    I heard that the guys go to Bahrain a lot for the clubbing and the bunnyhouses as well, can’t fight nature I guess… Kinda funny, kinda sad.

  16. Abu Rumaisa

    Those who are saying that these kids are this way coz they are bored & they no avenue to have fun. I seriously don’t get it!

    We have more options than our previous generations had when it comes to fun & entertainment, yet they were not behaving the way our generations does. I play football with my friends almost every day, in empty lots most of the time but there are proper grounds too. I agree that this can’t be done after maghrib as it’s dark & these grounds don’t have lights. I go out with my friends to eat out, play pool, bowl, smoke shisha… some time we just stay home and play video games or watch a movie. On weekends, we would do bbq at the beach or local parks or sometimes go out into the desert for camping. Yes, there are days which are boring but even in the west where every halaal & haraam form of entertainment is available, ppl still get bored. Getting bored is not an excuse for inappropriate behaviour.

    I went to USA for my degree, what most Muslims do there for entertainment is no different than Saudi Arabia. Infact, they ate out less as it was costly. I think the only difference was that I did attend lectures at local masjids on Friday nights which gave me a chance to know other Muslims in the area. Yet, they are not complaining that they lack avenues for entertainment. They are having good time with what they have.

    The non-muslims mite seem to be having a better time as they go hit clubs & bars on weekends but we all know the harms that come from it.

  17. That’s why i prefer living in Jeddah, Jeddah is the best 🙂

    Traffic in Riyadh is too much as compared to Jeddah, recently experience three weaks ago.

    Jeddah also possess tahliya street but the situation which you have depicted in above pictures only happens when Soccer match win occured.

  18. Personally I don’t go out on weekends in Saudi. When in Bahrain anything I do on a weekend has to be done early before the Saudis arrive. And it isn’t just about young guys (in the EP they hang out at the corniche) but it is families as well.

    Personally I don’t get why everyone is out so late doing nothing. But if this is their excitement as long as no one is getting hurt I don’t take much of an issue. I honestly don’t see any difference in them driving back and forth down a street vs going to another area to do the same. Traffic jams would just occur when large numbers go to one place, be it this street or the sheesha shops you think are an option (personally I don’t cause I’m not for smoking at all) or this down town street

  19. Hello, I’m new here, but I dont understand why police bring men to the bus…Are they criminal?
    Anyway your blog is really interesting…I’ll try to read you…ciao

  20. Quite interesting. Just another night in Riyadh, eh?

  21. Max

    Today the street was close to traffic by police … just a coincidence !?

  22. Nice pics! Thanks for sharing!:) Kinda reminds me of Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, and Georgetown here in DC on the weekends! 🙂 It can get pretty congested at times!

  23. I have very much enjoyed your post Mrs. Al Nafjan. I personally have never been to this street in Riyadh, in fact I dislike the entire city because of its humongous population and the lack of public “proper behavior” of a minority of its young men that unfortunately I had encountered when once we passed through Riyadh a long time ago! I also don’t understand how much “fun” there is in hanging out on the side of a crowded street and disturbing others, which I think is a big problem.

  24. Pingback: 12 Things You Miss About Riyadh Once You Leave It | Destination Riyadh

  25. Pingback: 12 Things You Miss About Riyadh Once You Leave It | Destination KSA

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