Interesting facts about Saudi Arabia

saudi arabia flag

Saudi Arabia is a desert country encompassing most of the Arabian Peninsula, with Red Sea and Persian (Arabian) Gulf coastlines.

The official name of the country is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast, and Yemen to the south. It is separated from Israel and Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba.

The official language is Arabic.

As of 1 January 2017, the population of Saudi Arabia was estimated to be 32,674,731 people.

With a land area of approximately 2,150,000 square kilometers (830,000 square miles) it is the 13th largest country in the world and also fifth-largest state in Asia and second-largest state in the Arab world after Algeria.

Riyadh is the capital and most populous city of Saudi Arabia. The city is situated in the center of the Arabian Peninsula on a large plateau, and is home to more than 8 million people.

riyadh-1

Saudi Arabia is, for the most part, an uninhabited desert land which includes the world’s largest contiguous sand desert, the Rub Al-Khali, or Empty Quarter.

There are virtually no rivers or lakes in the country, but wadis are numerous. The few fertile areas are to be found in the alluvial deposits in wadis, basins, and oases.

The land (desert) rises into hills and mountains in the west and southwest, along the edges of the Red Sea.

With an elevation of around 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) above sea level, Jabal Sawda is the highest peak in Saudi Arabia.

jabal sawda

The total length of the Saudi Arabian coastline is 2,640 kilometers (1,640 miles) with two coastlines: a long west coast on the Red Sea and a shorter east coast on the Persian Gulf.

Beaches are stretched along the coast. Although there are deposits of gravel and coral broken pieces on the beaches, there are beach stretches, covered with fine sand transported to land by the wind, including the shores of the Haqel, Sharmah, Yanbu, Al-Shuaibah, Beesh, and Farasan beaches.

saudi arabia beach

Saudi Arabia has 4 UNESCO world heritage sites.

Mada’in Saleh also called “Al-Hijr” or “Hegra“, is an archaeological site. A majority of the vestiges date from the Nabatean kingdom (1st century AD). The site constitutes the kingdom’s southernmost and largest settlement after Petra, its capital. In 2008 UNESCO proclaimed Mada’in Saleh as a site of patrimony, becoming Saudi Arabia’s first World Heritage Site.

Mada'in saleh

Known as the birthplace of Islam, it’s home to the religion’s 2 most sacred mosques: Masjid al-Haram, in Mecca, destination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, and Medina’s Masjid an-Nabawi, burial site of the  prophet Muhammad.

The Great Mosque of Mecca (Masjid al-Haram) also called the Grand Mosque, is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds Islam’s holiest place, the Kaaba, in the city of Mecca. Muslims face in the Qibla (direction of the Kaaba) while performing Salat (obligatory daily prayers). One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, one of the largest annual gatherings of people in the world, at least once in his or her lifetime if able to do so, including Tawaf (circumambulation) of the Kaaba.

great mosque of mecca

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi is a mosque established and originally built by the Islamic prophet Muhammad, situated in the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia. Al-Masjid an-Nabawi was the third mosque built in the history of Islam and is now one of the largest mosques in the world. It is the second-holiest site in Islam, after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. It is always open, regardless of date or time.

al masjid al nabawi

The King of Saudi Arabia is Saudi Arabia’s head of state and absolute monarch.

The Saudi king’s official title is “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.” King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has been king since January 2015.

king salman bin abdulaziz al saud

The country has been ruled by the Al Saud family since its inception as a nation on September 23, 1932.

Below the arid landscape, oil has made this desert kingdom one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

Petroleum was discovered on 3 March 1938 and followed up by several other finds in the Eastern Province.

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil producer and exporter, controlling the world’s second largest oil reserves, and the sixth largest gas reserves.

oil rigs

Construction on Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower previously known as Kingdom Tower began in 2014. The new, tallest building in the world will stand 1 kilometer (3,280 feet) high.

In 1985, Prince Sultan bin Salman became the first Saudi, first Arab, and first Muslim to travel in space
when he rode aboard the U.S. space shuttle Discover.

About 100 camels are sold in the capital of Saudi Arabia every day. The capital, Riyadh, has a large camel market.

riyadh camel market

The death penalty can be imposed for a wide range of offences including murder, rape, armed robbery, repeated drug use, apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery and can be carried out by beheading with a sword, stoning or firing squad, followed by crucifixion.

Saudi Arabia takes witchcraft so seriously that the country has banned the Harry Potter books, and the
government has set up an Anti-Witchcraft Action Unit, which is under the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPV), or Saudi Arabia’s religious police. The unit is charged with
apprehending sorcerers and reversing the harmful effects of their spells.

Sidewalk Skiing is the name for tipping a car onto its side wheels on a public road, driving it on a tilt,
and then climbing out and standing on top of the vehicle (though it’s all right if you leave someone in the
car to drive). Saudis got a lot of popularity for consistently performing this act.

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