14 Intriguing Facts about Saudi Arabia

Interesting Facts about Saudi Arabia

For the west, Saudi Arabia has been the land of intrigue for decades. With large oil reserves and revered Islamic holy sites in the kingdom, Saudi Arabia is a fascinating country for many. The Middle Eastern country of Saudi Arabia borders Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, and the UAE. It also touches the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.

There’s plenty to learn about this land.

Keep reading to find out more captivating facts about Saudi Arabia.

1. Saudi Arabia is the place where Islam was born

Home to the holiest sites in the Islamic religion, Saudi Arabia is the place where Islam originated from. Islam was introduced to the world by Prophet Mohmmad. Mecca and Medina are the two of the holiest sites in the country. Muslims must visit these sites during the annual Hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Saudi Arabia does not give citizenship to non-Muslims, nor are they allowed to practice their religion publicly. Any non-Muslims living in the state can practice their religion privately.

2. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy

Saudi Arabia, also known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or KSA, is a monarchy. It is ruled by a long line of kings, with Ibn Saud considered the father of the nation. After he successfully amalgamated four states and declared the country independent, Ibn Saud named the country after himself. The Al Saud family has ever since ruled Saudi Arabia. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the king of the country currently. King Salman is widely known for his riches as he is claimed to be the third wealthiest king in the world.

3. Saudi Arabia has strict gender segregation

Saudi Arabia has the strictest gender segregation laws in the world. Only in 2015 did the Saudi government allow women the right to vote. It was the last nation to do so. The recent years and progressive perspective of the new king allowed laws to be made, giving women a bit more freedom. Women were given permission to drive alone and travel without a male family member or guardian.

two Arab women sharing a laugh

Nevertheless, women in Saudi Arabia rely heavily on their male guardians’ permission for legal and health purposes. Higher education, making a complaint at a police station, and opening a bank account requires women to get male guardians’ permission to further the process. Women also have to adhere to a strict dress code when going out of their house.

4. Saudi Arabia has large oil reserves

Oil reserves were discovered in Saudi Arabia in the early 20th century, which transformed the country’s economy completely. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has the second-largest oil reserves in the world, second to unexplored oil reserves in Venezuela. Most of the country’s gross domestic product comprises income received from the export of oil and oil products. The largest oil field in the world is the Ghawar oil field which has reserves that could fill up more than half a million Olympic swimming pools.

5. Saudi Arabia is a country of deserts

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia mostly comprises deserts as they make about 95% of its geography. Deserts or semi-deserts terrain are the most common type of land found in Saudi Arabia. The southern part of the country has the largest sand desert, which is called Rub Al-Khali. Even though the country is full of sandy deserts, the Saudi sand cannot be used for making glass or for construction purposes. This is the reason why Saudi Arabia surprisingly imports sand from Australia.

6. Saudi Arabia is a country without a river

One of the most mind-boggling facts about Saudi Arabia is how a technologically advanced and rich country could not have a single natural river. This is due to the geography of the country, which comprises almost completely of deserts. Freshwater for drinking and other uses comes from underground water reserves or desalination plants.

7. Saudi Arabia has a large population of migrants

Immigrants moved to Saudi Arabia in large numbers due to the employment opportunities available in the oil and construction industries. These immigrants usually belong to South Asia and Africa. Migrants from other countries make up about 30% of the national population. Saudi Arabian nationals are more likely to opt for jobs in the government sector due to a lack of incentives working for private sectors. Saudi Arabia relies heavily on foreign labor for jobs in the service industry and oil industry.

8. Saudi Arabia is a strictly Islamic country

The Al Saud family, which has ruled Saudi Arabia for decades, is closely associated with the Wahabi or Salafi branch of Sunni Islam. Therefore, when Saudi Arabia was established, Islam of the Wahabi interpretation became the state-sponsored religion of the country. The country welcomes more than 2 million Muslims worldwide for the annual holy pilgrimage of Mecca and Medina.

9. Saudi Arabia is a country of youth teeming with potential

Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state that comprises a large youth population. Almost 47% of the population of the country is under 24. Moreover, only a small percentage of the older generation, 5%, is over 60%. This may pose a problem for the country in the coming times but also holds a promise for the country’s well-being.

10. Saudi Arabia is constructing the world’s tallest tower

The Jeddah Tower, also known as the Kingdom Tower, is being constructed in Saudi Arabia. The country is expected to be as tall as one kilometer. The elevators for the building will be luxurious, and so will be the experience of walking around in the Jeddah Tower. The high-end residents of the Jeddah Tower will be able to call the lift remotely through their phones after stepping out of the vehicles. The elevators for the Jeddah Tower will be highly technologically advanced and energy-conscious to ensure safer and faster travel.

11. Saudi Arabia has a death penalty for criminals

Saudi Arabia has strict Islamic laws in place to safeguard its citizens. But these strict laws sometimes call for a harsh death penalty for the accused criminals. Capital punishment is not very rare in the country. Some of the most common crimes that call for the death penalty are homosexuality, rape, and murder. The country also deals with crimes of adultery, fornication, drug use, insults to Islam or the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and witchcraft very seriously.

12. Around 100 camels are sold in the capital of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a country that is popular for its camel trade. The capital city of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, has a large camel market that sells around 100 camels per day to customers. Camels in Saudi Arabia are surprisingly not that common. Saudi Arabia, along with importing sand, imports camels from Australia for the camel market.

a caravan in a desert

13. The official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic

Nationals and foreigners conduct most of their business in the Arabic language in Saudi Arabia. Nejdi Arabic is a form of dialect that is most commonly spoken in the center of the country. The Hejazi Arabic dialect is spoken in the Western part of Saudi Arabia, while the Gulf Arabic dialect is spoken near the Persian Gulf coast. The foreigners in Saudi Arabia are from South East Asia and Africa and speak many languages such as Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi, and English.

14. Saudi Arabia has a hot climate

The arid nature of deserts and the country’s proximity to the equator make it a hot country to reside in. The days are extremely hot, while the temperature drops significantly at nighttime. There are low chances of rain in the country. Saudi Arabia also faces large sandstorms in the arid regions. The highest temperature ever recorded in the kingdom was 129 Fahrenheit, and the lowest was 12 Fahrenheit.

Pilgrims arrive in Mecca for 2nd socially distanced Hajj

Pilgrims began arriving in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which Muslims are expected to make at least once in their lifetime. It is the second year that the Hajj is being restricted to its own citizens and residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the event limited to a maximum of 60,000 participants. After arriving in the city and receiving IDs, pilgrims began the first stage of the Hajj, the Tawaf, which involves walking around the Kaaba seven times. Before the pandemic, some 2.5 million pilgrims used to visit the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long Hajj.

Summary

Saudi Arabia is a wonderful oil-rich country that focuses on growth and building a better country for its large youth population. The country is one the most revered places for Muslims worldwide and holds significant historical importance for Islam. It has strict laws for women and even capital punishment for some crimes. The geography of the country mostly comprises deserts. The climate of the country is dry, with little to no rainfall in a year. With a long line of monarchs and advanced construction projects, Saudi Arabia is a fascinating country everyone should aim to learn about more.

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