Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is one of the most closed and at the same time the most visited states in the world. It is located on the Arabian Peninsula, where it is washed by the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Until recently, the kingdom developed mainly religious pilgrimage, but in recent years, active work has been carried out to introduce tourist visas.

General information about Saudi Arabia

This country surprisingly combines highly developed technologies and Islamic traditions. It is Islam that is the official religion of Saudi Arabia and has a direct impact on all aspects of its life. Even the constitution of the country was written in strict accordance with the sunnahs of the scripture. By the way, the constitution also states that the official language of Saudi Arabia is Arabic.

The area of ​​Saudi Arabia is more than 2 million square meters. km. Thanks to this, it is included in the top 20 largest countries in the world. Despite such territory, its population density is relatively low. So, as of 2017, the population of Saudi Arabia is just over 33 million people. Of these, 55.2% are men and 44.8% are women.

The official currency of Saudi Arabia is the Saudi riyal, or riyal. The current king is depicted on the banknotes.

The ISO code for Saudi Arabia is SA. This means that the country is a member of the UN organization and its specialized agencies.


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest state on the Arabian Peninsula, occupying 80% of its territory. The rest are Oman, Yemen, Iraq and Syria.

Due to the fact that the country occupies a border position between Africa and Eurasia, many still have difficulty determining its location. Some tourists find it difficult to answer the question of where Saudi Arabia is located on the world map. Turning the globe, you can see that the kingdom is located neatly between two continents. For those who do not know which continent Saudi Arabia is located on, it will be interesting to know that this is Eurasia. The country occupies a border position between Africa and continental Asia.

Saudi Arabia on the map

Climate and nature of Saudi Arabia

The country is located about 2000 km from the equator, but, nevertheless, its influence is very noticeable here. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is characterized by both tropical, subtropical and sharply continental climate. The average air temperature in July is +38°C, and in January — +22°C.

The boundary geographic position of Saudi Arabia and proximity to the equator have led to the fact that there are many deserts on its territory, which are united in one name — the Great Deserts. Seasonal winds (simum, khamsin, shemal) and sandstorms dominate here. The average annual rainfall is 70-100 mm.

Many travelers are interested in how many rivers there are in Saudi Arabia. There are no permanent sources in the country. Rivers form after heavy rains and dry up after a while.

Desert Saudi Arabia

State system and symbols of Saudi Arabia

The main law of the country is the Basic Law of the Government. It is in it that it is indicated that the state system of Saudi Arabia is an absolute theocratic monarchy. Currently, the state is ruled by kings from the Al Saud dynasty.

In addition, the form of government of Saudi Arabia is defined as an Islamic state. The basic law of the country, its structure and even the actions of the monarch are based on Islamic law and Sharia.

Saudi Arabia is a unitary state. It has a single legal act (constitution, charter, basic lower classes), a single citizenship and currency, as well as three branches of government — legislative, executive and judicial.

The flag of Saudi Arabia is a green rectangular canvas. It depicts the Islamic shahada and a sword in silver script. The coat of arms of Saudi Arabia is decorated with a palm tree (the main tree of the country) and two crossed swords.

Flag of Saudi ArabiaCoat of arms of Saudi Arabia

Major cities in Saudi Arabia

The country is characterized by high rates of urbanization. Approximately 88% of Saudi Arabia’s population lives in cities. It is divided into 13 districts, also known as emirates and mintaks. The capital of Saudi Arabia is the city of Riyadh. It simultaneously performs the functions of the political, cultural and scientific center of the country. Its population is 6.5 million people and is growing every year.

Other major cities in the country include:

Jeddah is the economic capital of Saudi Arabia. Now almost 5 million people live here, half of which are foreign workers.

Mecca is the center of Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. It is strictly forbidden to visit representatives of other religious denominations. But during the Hajj, several million Muslims come here at the same time. The second holy Islamic city, Medina, is also located in Saudi Arabia.

Landmarks of Saudi Arabia

Despite the inaccessibility of the country, recently more and more tourists come here for educational purposes. This is primarily due to the fact that there are many interesting sights in Saudi Arabia. Here you can take care of yourself:

  • climbing Al-Hijaz mountain;
  • diving in the Red Sea;
  • a visit to the Buraida Museum or the Dammam Public Library;
  • studying the culture of the country in ethnic villages;
  • acquaintance with the exhibits of the Dhahran Exhibition Center.

In the capital of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom Center Tower is the most popular tower. It is a 99-story skyscraper with numerous shops, offices and apartments. You should not leave Saudi Arabia without seeing its main Muslim shrines. It is for them that tens of millions of tourists come here every year. The main shrine of Saudi Arabia and the entire Muslim world is the Kaaba. It is a large cubic building installed in the courtyard of the Masjid al-Haram mosque. Its height is more than 13 m. Al-Haram Mosque in Saudi Arabia, in which the Kaaba is installed, is the main and largest mosque in the world.

Kingdom Center Tower, Riyadh

The kingdom is known not only for Muslim shrines. Until 1928, there was a tomb of Eve in Saudi Arabia — a tomb in which the first woman on Earth was supposedly buried. Religious authorities destroyed and concreted the burial. In 2015, the Ark of Gabriel was found in Saudi Arabia. When trying to dig it, 4,000 people died. Some blame this on plasma emission, others on crush.

Kaaba, Mecca

Saudi Arabia Hotels

Until recently, the entire tourism industry of the country was aimed at serving religious pilgrims. All hotels and resorts in Saudi Arabia were focused on them. Despite the narrow target audience, the country has a wide variety of options for living. The most famous hotels are:

  • Radisson Blu in Riyadh;
  • Raffles Makkah Palace in Mecca;
  • Crowne Plaza in Jeddah;
  • Mövenpick Hotel in Medina.

More or less secular conditions can be expected in Jeddah. This city of Saudi Arabia has excellent conditions for a holiday on the Red Sea. The level of service here meets all European standards.

In order to develop the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia, the world’s tallest hotel, The Abraj Kudai, will soon open. It will consist of twelve 45-story towers with 10,000 rooms, 70 restaurants and 5 helipads.

The world's tallest hotel The Abraj Kudai, Mecca

Restaurants and Cuisine of Saudi Arabia

The culinary traditions of the kingdom developed under the influence of natural and climatic conditions and the customs of Islam. For the most part, the cuisine of Saudi Arabia is similar to the cuisines of other countries in the Middle East. Her recipes are based on the use of lamb and chicken, rice and a huge amount of seasonings. Pork is not eaten in the country, and all other types of meat are prepared in strict accordance with Halal. A big role in local feasts is given to tea, coffee and various sweets.

You can appreciate the color and variety of Saudi cuisine in the best restaurants:

  • The Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh;
  • Pullman Zamzam in Mecca;
  • Le Méridien in the Medina;
  • Belajio in Jeddah.

In accordance with the laws of Saudi Arabia, drinking alcohol is prohibited here.

Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh

Public life

The Kingdom has 25% of the world’s oil reserves, therefore it is one of the largest exporters of raw materials on the world stage. This significantly affects the standard of living in Saudi Arabia. VAT here is only 5%, and any local resident can take an absolutely interest-free loan. But the market system is deprived of a large part of the working population — women. In general, the rights of the fairer sex, or rather their absence, still excites the inhabitants of the Western world. The head of state of Saudi Arabia determines how the inhabitants of the country should look. For a long time they had to wear a black abaya, covering from the eyes of unfamiliar men, and only in March 2018 this requirement was left in the past.

The country has a low crime rate. According to the customs of Saudi Arabia, public order is maintained by representatives of the Sharia police. However, since 2016, her rights have been significantly curtailed.

Saudi women

The culture of Saudi Arabia has developed and continues to develop in accordance with the traditions of Islam. It is forbidden to build Christian churches, Jewish synagogues and Buddhist temples. Five times a day, a devout Muslim is obliged to perform the prayer to which the muezzin calls.

Saudi Arabia Police

Transport Saudi Arabia

The country is one of the world’s largest oil suppliers, which has affected all sectors of its industry. Saudi Arabia is characterized by a high level of development of road transport. The total length of all its roads is almost 222,000 km.

In total, there are 208 airports in Saudi Arabia. Six of them have international status. These are the airports:

  • King Fahd in Em Dammam;
  • King Abdulaziz in Jeddah;
  • King Khalid in Riyadh;
  • Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz in Medina;
  • Al Asa in Al Hofuf;
  • Prince Abdul Mohsin bin Abdulaziz in Yanbu.

The length of the railways of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is several hundred kilometers. A 440 km branch line is currently under construction, which will connect Mecca and Medina. Public transport in the country is underdeveloped. Inside the cities of Saudi Arabia, it is easier to travel by taxi.

How to get to Saudi Arabia?

Until now, the country’s air gates have been open only for charter flights with pilgrims. They are carried out by Royal Jordanian and Qatar Airways, whose planes fly three times a week. In addition, many airlines in the world (Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Alitalia, KLM, Air Canada) send regular flights here, and from 2018 it will be possible to fly to Saudi Arabia from Russia.

From Egypt, Sudan, Iran and Eritrea, you can get to the economic capital of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, by ferry. They depart from Suez, Port Sudan, Em Dammam and Massawa.

With all neighboring states, except Iraq, Saudi Arabia is connected by regular bus service. Approximately 5-7 buses a day come from the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. Minibuses from Oman and Jordan also travel through the UAE.

Citizens of Russia and the CIS countries need a visa to enter Saudi Arabia. You can enter the country on a guest, transit, student, work, business and tourist visa. There are also such types of visas as pilgrimage (for Hajj or Omra) and for permanent residence.

Riyadh Airport, Saudi Arabia