Located in the Middle East is a country that is known to be very rich because of its oil reserves. This country is called Saudi Arabia and it is one of the most influential countries in the world. The country may be surrounded by desert, but its cities are filled with high-rise buildings and commercial towers.
The history, culture, and laws of Saudi Arabia are unique because it is shaped by the King’s decisions. Because it is under an absolute monarchy, Saudi Arabia follows the will of its King Salman, the oldest son of Ibn Saud. Compared to other countries, Saudi Arabia is one of the few nations to still have an absolute monarchy.
Another part of Saudi Arabia is its importance in Islam. The Quran’s teachings are also followed as part of the country’s laws. As a result, the country has strict laws as well as serious punishments.
Saudi Arabia Facts
1. Successful and rich families help shape the economy
One major factor as to why there are plenty of high-rise buildings in Saudi Arabia is because of the rich families that live in the country. The rich businesspeople help fund construction projects and build international trade with other large companies around the world. It’s no wonder that Saudi Arabia has some of the best highways and seaports in the world.
2. The tallest building is almost one kilometer high
The Jeddah Tower, also called the Kingdom tower, is Saudi Arabia’s attempt to have the tallest building in the world, a fun fact about Saudi Arabia. The tower that is being built is planned to be 72 meters taller than the tallest tower called Burj Khalifa found in the United Arab Emirates. About $1.4 billion has already been spent for the construction of the Jeddah Tower.
3. Oil reserves can last up to 90 years
Saudi Arabia is considered to be the second largest importer of oil in the world. There are about 268 billion barrels of oil found in Saudi Arabia, which is estimated to be about 18% of the total oil reserves in the world. The total oil reserve collected by the country per day is at 12 million barrels, and at this rate, they are expected to be able to collect oil for up to 90 years, an interesting fact about Saudi Arabia.
4. Non-Muslims are allowed to become citizens
Even if Saudi Arabia is known for being one of the first places where Islam started, the country still allows immigrants to earn citizenship. They’ve even extended citizenship for a robot with artificial intelligence called “Sophia” in 2017. However, non-Muslims have to follow strict rules such as wearing conservative clothing and non-practice of religious activities other than Islam in public. Not following these laws will cause citizens to be arrested, deported, or even tortured.
5. The Saudi Arabian monarchy has lasted over 80 years
The Al Saud family has been in power for at least 80 years without any interruptions. They have established an absolute monarchy after helping the country achieve independence in 1932. The laws that they follow are a combination of royal decrees and Islamic law.
6. Drinking alcoholic beverages and eating pork is not allowed
Strict laws and customs have not allowed drinking alcohol and eating pork in Saudi Arabia. The basis of this practice comes from the interpretation of the Islamic laws. Only Halal-certified foods are accepted in Saudi Arabia as these foods pass tradition for food that can be consumed by Muslims. An interesting fact about Saudi Arabia is that even tourists are not allowed to eat pork and drink alcohol as they are expected to follow Islamic tradition while in the country.
7. Anything about witchcraft is strictly prohibited
All forms of media or practice that is related to magic, sorcery, or witchcraft are strictly prohibited in Saudi Arabia. The rich history of the country with Islam is the main reason why they forbid sorcery. Magic and sorcery were believed to be made by “jinn” or supernatural beings that wish to cause harm. Even Harry Potter books, that focused on western spell casters, were banned because they illustrate the use of magic throughout the story. Those who do not obey this law are punished with the death penalty.
8. Women are required to follow strict laws in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabian women have to follow strict laws based on the interpretation of the Quran. Women are not allowed to have any form of birth control while in the country. They are also required to wear the “abaya” whenever they go out in public. Also, going out with other males that are not their family members is frowned upon. Even going abroad without the approval of their husband is not allowed. An interesting fact about Saudi Arabia is that women also used to be not allowed to drive in cities or work outside of their homes, but now, they are allowed.
9. Blood money payments are accepted
According to Islamic laws, blood money payments are acceptable when someone kills another person with or without any ill intention. The accused has the option of either paying the blood money to the dead person’s family or to accept an “equal punishment” which means the death penalty. However, Muslim women are considered to be less important than Muslim men because the life of a woman requires only half of the payment to be made if the killed person was a man.
10. Death penalty is a common punishment
There has been an average of about 150 executions in Saudi Arabia from 2015 to 2018. Death penalty is accepted as the right punishment for most of the crimes committed in Saudi Arabia. Most executions are conducted in public, either through beheading with the sword or a firing squad. Sometimes, the head of these people are also crucified and displayed in public.
Saudi Arabia is a country that is rich in both history and money. However, it isn’t a paradise for everyone. Citizens have to follow strict laws and tradition to avoid severe punishments. Even tourists have to follow Muslim traditions during their stay. And up to this day, Muslim women in Saudi Arabia are expected to have less freedom than men according to their beliefs and traditions.
I hope that this article on Saudi Arabia facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!