Area & Location: Situated in the Southern-Eastern part of the Asian
Continent, The Kingdom occupies about 2,240,000
square kilometers of Arabian peninsula. It has
1700 kilometers of Western Coast along the Red
Sea and 560 kilometers of Eastern Coast along
the Arabian Gulf. Land boundaries in the South
and in the North exceed 2,700 kilometers.
Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia.
It is the language of the Qur’an (the holy
book of Islam). Through its eloquence and the
spread of Islam, Arabic has become one of the
most widely used languages of the world.
English is also used in the Kingdom, most frequently
in conducting business, health care, commerce
and international affairs and the hotel industry.
The Saudi Riyal (SR) is the unit of currency in
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is divided into
a hundred Halalah. The denominations of the Saudi
currency are as follows:
Bills: 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Riyals.
Coins: 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 Halalahs.
The Saudi Riyal
is linked with the US dollar at rate of SR3.75
to U.S. $1.00.
Arabia is the birthplace of Islam. Along with
Judaism and Christianity, Islam is one of the
great monotheistic religions. The Qur’an
is the holy book of Islam. The five pillars of
The declaration of faith called "Shahada."
Shahada is to witness that "There is no god
except God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God."
Muslims pray five times a day, facing towards
Zakat is a form of tithe or charity payable for
those in need. The Zakat is an annual flat rate
of two and a half percent of a Muslim’s
Every year, Muslims fast the month of Ramadan
from first daylight until sunset, abstaining from
food, drink, and conjugal relations.
PILGRIMAGE (HAJJ): Hajj is the annual journey to the holy
cities of Makkah and Madinah. Hajj is an obligation
to be performed at least once in a lifetime for
Muslims who are physically and financially able.
Each year more than two million pilgrims perform
the rites of Hajj, which are of Abrahamic origin.
Judicial System: The judicial
system of the Kingdom is based on Islamic Law
(Shari’ah) and Decree Law. "Shari’ah"
is taken from the interpretations of the Holy
Qur’an and the "Sunna" (tradition
of the Prophet Muhammad). Decree Laws are issued
to regulate industrial and commercial affairs.
Arabia, monarchy in southwestern Asia, occupying
most of the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia is
bounded on the north by Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait;
on the east by the Persian Gulf and Qatar; on
the southeast by the United Arab Emirates and
Oman; on the south by the Republic of Yemen; and
on the west by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba.
The country's borders with Yemen
and the United Arab Emirates are not precisely
defined. Saudi Arabia has an area of about 2,240,000
sq km (about 864,900 sq mi). The capital and largest
city is Riyadh.
climate of the Kingdom varies from region to region,
according to its location. Since the Kingdom lies
in the tropics, the nationwide average temperature
is 18C. However, temperature varies considerably,
increasing as we descend towards the southwest.
The average reaches 24C in the Western Region,
38C in Jeddah and 30C in Jizan. The Central Region
is extremely hot and dry. Saudi Arabia has no
rivers or permanent streams. Although the dry
valleys are often flooded with rain water, actual
utilization of this water is limited due to evaporation
and soil absorption.
Saudi Arabia is a large Middle Eastern nation
that ranks as one of the world's leading producers
of petroleum.Much of the country consists
of vast deserts where few people live and little
or nothing grows. But beneath the sand and rock
of Saudi Arabia lie some of the largest petroleum
deposits in the world.
Administrative Divisions: 13
provinces (mintaqat, singular - mintaqah); Al
Bahah, Al Hudud ash Shamaliyah, Al Jawf, Al Madinah,
Al Qasim, Ar Riyad, Ash Sharqiyah (Eastern Province),
'Asir, Ha'il, Jizan, Makkah, Najran, Tabuk
National Holiday: Unification
of the Kingdom, 23 September (1932)
Constitution: Governed according
to Shari'a (Islamic law); the Basic Law that articulates
the government's rights and responsibilities was
introduced in 1993.
Legal System: based on Islamic
law, several secular codes have been introduced;
commercial disputes handled by special committees;
has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Cabinet: Council of Ministers
is appointed by the monarch and includes many
royal family members
Legislative Branch: a consultative
council (90 members and a chairman appointed by
the monarch for four-year terms) Judicial branch: Supreme Council of Justice.
Flag Description: green with
large white Arabic script (that may be translated
as There is no God but God; Muhammad is the Messenger
of God) above a white horizontal saber (the tip
points to the hoist side); green is the traditional
color of Islam
Head of State:
King and Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (since 23 January, 2015).
Head of Government: King and Prime Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (since 23 January, 2015).
The religion and customs
of Saudi Arabia dictate conservative dress for
both men and women.
Foreigners are given some leeway in the matter
of dress, but they are expected to follow local
customs, particularly in public places. As a general
rule, foreign men should wear long trousers and
shirts that cover the upper torso. Foreign women
should wear loose fitting skirts with hemlines
well below the knee. Sleeves should be at least
elbow length and the neckline modest. The best
fashion guideline is "conceal rather than
reveal". Teenagers are also required to dress
modestly in public places. Jeans should not be
tight fitting and low necks and tank tops are
not recommended. Shorts and bathing suits should
not be worn in public.
Whatever their job or social status,
Saudi men wear the traditional dress called a
thobe. Wearing the thobe expresses equality and
is also perfectly suited to the hot Saudi climate.
During warm and hot weather, white thobes are
worn by Saudi men and boys. During the cool weather,
wool thobes in dark colours are not uncommon.
At special times, men often wear a bisht or mishlah
over the thobe. These are long white, brown or
black cloaks trimmed in gold.
A man's headdress consists of
three things: the tagia, a small white cap that
keeps the ghutra from slipping off the head; the
gutra itself, which is a large square of cloth;
and the iqal, a doubled black cord that holds
the ghutra in place. Some men may choose not to
wear the iqal.
The ghutra is usually made of cotton and traditionally
Saudis wear either a white one or a red and white
checked one. The ghutra is worn folded into a
triangle and centred on the head.
When a Saudi woman appears in
public, she normally wears a voluminous black
cloak called an ibayah, a scarf covering her hair
and a full-face veil. There are varying opinions
regarding the wearing of the abayah and the veil;
however, Saudi women cover themselves in public
and in the presence of men who are not close relatives.
Women's fashions do not stop with the ibayah though
if you are a male, that is all you are likely
to see. Beneath the black cloak, Saudi women enjoy
fashionable clothing and take great pride in their
appearance. They enjoy bright colours and lavish
material. Non-Muslim women living in Saudi Arabia
often wear the ibayah as a sign of respect for
SAUDI ARABIA "CULTURE & HERITAGE" Video
A Beautiful Video About the Culture in Saudi Arabia
The preparation, serving and drinking of gahwa "Arabian coffee" are each individual
rituals derived from Bedouin hospitality; traditions
that are still bound today by the same ceremony
and etiquette which have ruled for centuries.
According to legend, coffee-drinking began in
Arabia almost 12 centuries ago when a goat herder
named Khalid noticed that while the afternoon
sun made him drowsy, his flock frolicked and gambolled
after nibbling at the berries of a certain evergreen
bush. The ingenious Khalid ground and boiled the
agreeable berries and so invented a phenomenon
that has worked its way into the marrow of everyday
The gahwa ritual starts when the host places
a set of four coffee pots, called della, next
to an open fire. He pours the coffee beans onto
a mahmasa, a shallow, long-handled iron pan which
he holds just above the flames. He stirs the roasting
beans from time to time with a yad al mahmasa,
which is attached by a chain to the small pan.
When the beans are cooked they are left to cool
before being pulverised with a pestle in a mortar
called mahbash. When pounding the beans it is
necessary to strike the side of the mortar occasionally
with the pestle to free the grounds from sticking
together. This noise is considered music and the
guests should listen carefully and show appreciation
of the host's artistic expression.
The largest della contains the coffee grounds
from previous days, so water is poured into the
second largest pot, to which the freshly ground
coffee is added and then boiled over the fire.
Meanwhile, the host pounds the cardamom seeds,
and sometimes a pinch of saffron, in the mahbash.
These spices go into the third della which is
then filled with the freshly brewed coffee from
the second pot and brought to the boil again.
Finally the gahwa is poured into the fourth and
smallest pot ready to serve.
It is always the host's privilege to serve his
guests, although a servant may assist by holding
the tray of small, china cups without handles.
He may pour himself a small cup first in order
to taste it, but strict rules of etiquette are
observed in the serving order. When only men are
present, the most important person in the room
is served first. Age takes precedence if there
is some doubt as to rank. Until a few years ago
men were always served before women, but today
that custom is often reversed, particularly if
Westerners are among the guests.
The cups are only half filled, but guests may
have several refills. It is polite to accept an
odd number of cups -- one, three or five. When
the guest has finished he should jiggle the empty
cup from side to side, indicating to the host
that he has had sufficient. To refuse the first
round is considered not only bad manners but also
an insult to the host.
Gahwa is never sweetened with sugar. Instead,
fresh dates are offered as the standard accompaniment
to the aromatic brew. The papery-skinned fingers
of fruit contain 55% natural sugar which refresh
and sweeten the palate between each sip of gahwa.
The proportions of coffee and cardamom in recipes
for making gahwa varies considerably from region
to region. The Saudia airline offers its passengers
a blend made from 25 grams of ground Arabic coffee,
35 grams of crushed cardamom and 1 litre of water.
To be served a cup of this unique beverage is
more than just refreshment, it is unfailing proof
that the guest is still revered and honoured in
Saudi Arabia. In offering a cup of gahwa the host
is saying Ahlan Wa Sahlan, Welcome.
SAUDI ARABIA - Yesterday and Today - Video
A Historical Video of Saudi Arabia's Founder, King Abdul Aziz (Video in English)
The video portrays the life of the Founder of Saudi Arabia & the Past & Present Day of Saudi Arabia .. this is a documentary taken from the King Faisal AV Library.
The Arabian peninsula has a poetic tradition
that goes back to pre-Islamic times. Poetry and
storytelling are common folk traditions.
The Quran limits public performances of music
and dance and prohibits the making of graven images
by artists. Hand-lettered Qur'ans are produced
with complex geometric and floral designs.
In May 1998, Saudi Arabia's telecommunications
services were privatized. The new company, known
as the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC),
had a capital of more than SR10 billion during
the first phase. STC will become one of the Kingdom's
largest employers, providing jobs for more than
70,000 Saudis. There are plans to add 1.7 million
new telephone lines across the country in the
next three to four years.
In May 2003, the Ministry of Post, Telegraph
and Telephones was renamed Ministry of Telecommunications
and Information Technology.
Telephones : In January 1996,
the Global System for Mobiles (GSM) was launched
in the Kingdom, with the aim of installing 500,000
GSM mobile telephones. By late September 1996,
more than half were in operation. By the end of
the project, 45 Saudi cities and towns and all
major highways were covered. In 2001, there were
2,528,640 AMT and GSM mobile telephones in operation.
In 1999, the Internet service became available
in the Kingdom, with all the connections routed
through a state server (Internet Service Provider),
sited at the King Abdul Aziz City for Science
and Technology. The Ministry of Post, Telegraph
and Telephones, as it was then, provided the external
means to access the Internet, making the service
available for research establishments, academics
and both public and private companies. By April,
2003, there were 21 operational Internet Service
Providers (ISPs), providing internet access to
some 1.6 million users.
In July, 2001, Saudi Telecom Company introduced
ADSL (Assymetric Digital Subscriber Line) service
for the Kingdom. ADSL significantly reduced the
cost of the Internet service. STC is also extending
ADSL services to Jiddah, the Holy City of Makkah,
Taif and Dammam.
Service: The development of the
Kingdom's economy has generated a massive increase
in the volume of mail which the postal services
have had to handle. In a continuing process of
expansion, the Fourth Development Plan provided
for five new central post offices (in the Holy
City of Madinah, Abha, Buraidah, Jizan and Sakaka)
to complement the three main postal complexes
in Riyadh, Jiddah and Dammam. An efficient postal
network now covers all the cities and villages
of the Kingdom, with 477 main and 185 branch post
Telex: The development
of telex services in the Kingdom has kept pace
with every innovation in telex technology. From
the early days of electro-mechanical devices,
through the installation of electronic machines
in 1978 (1398/99 AH), to the introduction in the
1980s (1400s AH) of the most sophisticated equipment,
capable of handling Arabic and Latin text simultaneously,
the Ministry of Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones,
as it was then, ensured that the Kingdom's ever-growing
need for efficient telex communication services
Satellite Communications: The
King Fahd Satellite Communications City in Jiddah
is the largest such complex in the Middle East.
It comprises four ground stations, two dealing
with INTELSAT, one with ARABSAT and the other
with ANMASAT for maritime communications to provide
services to all ships, planes and vehicles. These
stations provide telephone, telex, TV and cable
Press: Arab News,
an English language daily newspaper with local
and foreign news coverage
Main Dailies: Al-Bilad (Arabic)
Al-Madinah al-Munawara (Arabic)
Okaz (Arabic) Al-Riyadh (Arabic) Saudi Gazette,
an English language daily newspaper with local
and foreign news coverage Riyadh Daily Al Watan
Main Weeklies: Al Daiwa (Riyadh)
Al Yam'ama (Riyadh)
Stations: The Saudi Radio Broadcasting
Service emerged from these relatively modest beginnings.
In 1964 (1384 AH), the Riyadh broadcasting station
and the Nidaa Al-Islam station in Makkah began
In the discharge of its duty as the guardian
of the Holy Places and its role as the center
of the Islamic world, the Kingdom has employed
radio to strengthen Islam within and outside Saudi
The programming policy governing the General
Service is based on the following principles:
The essential emphasis must be on religious,
social and cultural programs. Particular attention
should be given to news and political programs
Outstanding thinkers should be encouraged
to give talks on important topics
Provision should be made for educational programs
for the enlightenment of the listeners
There should be special programs catering
for the family, for childcare and for health
Eminent men of letters should be encouraged
to write religious, cultural and social dramas
for broadcast as serials.
In addition to the General Service, there are
now a number of other radio channels:
The Second Program Service, which broadcasts
folkloric, dramatic, recreational, literary
and scientific programs
Foreign Language Broadcasting which places
the emphasis on Islamic solidarity and which
also has a proselytizing function
The Nidaa Al-Islam Broadcasting Station, which
promulgates the message of Islam and defends
the Islamic faith against the assaults of hostile
The Holy Quran Broadcasting Service
The European Languages Station, which broadcasts
religious and informational programs in English
are currently two television channels: one in
Arabic, the other in English. Programming is a
balanced blend of religious and cultural programs,
entertainment and music, Arabic drama programs,
non-Arabic films and soup operas, children's programs,
and news and current affairs programs. Special
programming is produced for all the major events
in the Islamic calendar, especially for Ramadan
and for the period of the annual pilgrimage to
the Holy Places.