Saudi Arabia extends to approximately 2,250,000 square kilometers 868,730 square miles between the Red Sea on the west, and the Arabian Gulf on the east. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab country in the Middle East. It is bordered by Iraq and Jordan on the North, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on the East, Oman on the Southeast, and Yemen on the south. The Arab Gulf lies to the northeast and the Red Sea to its west. The first Saudi State was established in 1157 AH / 1744 AD. Saudi Arabia has played a huge role in the international trades as it has a very strategic location which has facilitated the trade between China, India and Europe. Today, travelers and workers to Saudi Arabia can experience both old and new civilizations side by side. The formation of the current Kingdom of Saudi Arabia began in 1902, when king Abdul Aziz bin Saud captured the Al Saud’s ancestral home of Riyadh the capital city of Saudi Arabia, and culminated in 1932 with recognition and the proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Oil was first discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1933, and by 1950 the country had become a major oil producer in the world. Saudi Arabia has almost 20% of the world’s oil reserves, and it is the undisputed leader of the international oil industry. Its oil revenues have been used to diversify its economy, reclaiming land from the desert and establishing the infrastructure. Saudi Arabia became the 149th member of the World Trade Organization in 2005, beginning the process of opening up its economy to the international world. Where Saudi Arabia has become number 27th out of 30 countries in exports. Saudi Arabia holds a prominent place among the nations of the world as a whole, being the birthplace of Islam, and the country that hosts the Two Holy Mosques, Mecca, and Madinah.
The climate of Saudi Arabia differs from one region to another due to its different terrain. In general, the climate is mostly hot in summer, cold & rainfall season in winter. The climate moderates on the western and south-western highlands. As for the central areas of the Kingdom, it has hot and dry summer and very cold and dry in winter. The temperature and humidity rises more in the coast, and it rains mostly in winter and spring. The rainfall is scarce for most regions except the south-western highlands, seasonal rainfall occurs in summer and is way heavier than other areas. The relative humidity rises on the coast and the western of the Kingdom highlands in most time of the year and decreases as we head into the interior.
Saudi Arabia’s population is composed of villagers, city people and nomads. Pervading this triad, however, is the patrilineal kinship principle. Cities are not tribally organized, and the importance of kinship affiliation endures. Social stratification is more developed in the cities than elsewhere. Before the effects of oil were felt on the economy of the Kingdom, status was a matter of lineage and occupation rather than of wealth, and with the development of the oil industry, wealth and material position have acquired an additional social values.
The Kingdom’s currency is the Saudi Riyal, which equals to 100 Halalah. The Saudi Riyal comes in different categories 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Riyals. The metal coins, however, come in five categories 50 Halalah, 25 Halalah, 10 Halalah and 5 Halalah. The Kingdom’s financial laws permit foreign currency exchanges.
Government sectors work from Sunday to Thursday. Friday and Saturday are the weekend holiday, and many of private companies operate over day and evening shifts during the weekdays. Markets and shopping malls are open for business throughout the whole week.
All offices and schools are closed on Eid Al Fitr, from the evening of the twenty-fifth day of Ramadan unill the fifth day of Shawwal; Eid Al Adha, the culmination of the Pilgrimage, from the fifth until the fifteenth day of the month of Dhu Al Hajjah; and the Saudi National Day on September 23rd.
Saudi Arabia acquires a geographical divers landscapes. There are mountains, plains, hills and beaches along with the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf. There are also oases in the desert, and springs in the mountains, and atolls in the sea, and rural areas that scatter off on sides of cities and farms with palm trees. The huge Red Sea coastline of largely undisturbed coral reefs and islands; the rock-hewn tombs of the ancient Nabataean Kingdom of Madain Saleh. Moreover, there are southern foggy mountain in cities such as Abha. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has declared a huge plan to make a tourism hotspot nearly twice the size of Wales on its unspoilt Red Sea coastline. In addition, Saudi Entertainment Authority promotes several events such as comedy shows and Comic Con science. Tourists can also find plenty of museums such as The National Heritage and History Museum in Riyadh, Dammam Historical Museum, and Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography in Jeddah.
Everyone who enters the Saudi Arabia should have at least 6 months of passport validity, and an appropriate visa. Except GCC nationals and those who will be in transit, all nationalities require a pre-issued visa to enter Saudi Arabia. Visas can be for residency, tourist, business, Hajj (Pilgrimage), transit, family, or conference attendance. Visas can be obtained from the visa department at the Saudi Embassy of the visitor’s home country or from any Saudi Consulates in the main cities around the world.