This country is known for the location of the holy cities of the Muslims, the Mecca and Medina. Despite the fact that these two cities forbid non-Muslims to enter, Saudi Arabia has many spots that is open for everyone to see and experience. The country has a very rich history because of the culture of having royal families. Aside from all of these, it should be forgotten that this country is an oil-based company, which triggers their economic exponential development. Travelling to Saudi Arabia would give you chance to trail and experience one of the largest sand deserts in the world, which is located at the Empty Quarter.
Saudi Arabia – Interesting and Important Facts
- Saudi Arabia has 83,000 square miles (2,149,690 square km) in total area, which makes it the 13th largest country in the world.
- Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East, about the size of Western Europe and one-quarter the size of the U.S
- Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to the religion’s holiest shrines, Mecca and Medina
- The Saudi king’s official title is “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.” King Abdullah Bin Abd el-Aziz Al Saud has been king since 2005
- Saudi Arabia takes witchcraft so seriously that the country has banned the Harry Potter books, and the government has set up an Anti-Witchcraft Action Unit, which is under the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPV), or Saudi Arabia’s religious police. The unit is charged with apprehending sorcerers and reversing the harmful effects of their spells.i
- All public schools in Saudi Arabia are religious, and the state mandates daily study of the Koran beginning in first grade and taking up roughly half the school day. At elementary school level, religious studies average a total of 9 periods a week while math, science, geography, history, and physical education combined average only 12 periods a week.
- Saudi Arabia was rated the best place to do business in the Middle East by the World Bank.
- Saudi Arabia is considering ending beheadings as the national form of execution in favor of firing squads because of a lack of swordsmen to be found in the country
- The Arabian Peninsula is the world’s largest peninsula
- Riyadh’s camel market is one of the largest in the world and sells about 100 camels per day
- Non-Muslims cannot be buried within the borders of Saudi Arabia.
- Over 95% of Saudi Arabia is desert or semi-desert, and the country is home to some of the largest desert areas in the world, including Al Nafud (Nafud Desert) in the north and Rub al-Khali (Empty Quarter) in the south
Saudi Arabia – Cool, Fun and Funny Facts
- Sidewalk skiing is the name for tipping a car onto its side wheels on a public road, driving it on a tilt, and then climbing out and standing on top of the vehicle (though it’s all right if you leave someone in the car to drive). The activity appears to have gathered considerable popularity in Saudi Arabia.
- Kingdom Tower is set to be the first building to reach more than a kilometer (3,280 ft) into the air and will include a hotel, observatory, and office space—as well as some apartments for those seeking a view.
- Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river.
- Arabs call coffee gahwa, a word that later became Arabic for ‘that which prevents sleep.’
- Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is the 8th most powerful person in the world and the world’s most powerful Muslim.
- About eighty percent of the Saudi Arabian labor force is non-national.
- Baby camel is one of the most tender of Saudi meats; it is a specialty of Jeddah and Jejaz
- The King’s Cup, which pits up to 2,000 participants racing across a 19 km track, is an epic camel race which takes place annually during the Al-Jenandriyah National Festival in Saudi Arabia
- In Saudi Arabia, everything closes during salat (prayer time). Strictly enforced, salat can last up to 30 minutes.
- Officially, Saudi women may not travel abroad without the permission of their husbands.
Saudi Arabia – Historical and Cultural Facts
- In October 2013, the United States overtook Saudi Arabia, which had led the world for decades, as the world’s largest exporter of oil, averaging 12.1 million barrels per day that year.
- Construction on Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower began in 2014. The new, tallest building in the world will stand 3,280 feet (1 km) high and will dwarf the Burj Khalifa hotel in Dubai by 600 feet (183 meters)
- The first coffee shops were probably those which opened in Mecca around the mid-15th to -16th century. Curiously, under strict interpretation of Islam, coffee is prohibited as it is a stimulant, and Saudis of rigid orthodoxy will not drink it. However, the majority of the population does drink coffee and may, as an additional vice, even chew coffee beans while at prayer in the mosque.
- Islam, the last of the world’s great religions to get underway, originated in the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century A.D. It is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity
- Saudi Arabia remains an absolute monarchy and has the last significant monarchy in the world. The country has been ruled by the Al Saud family since its inception as a nation on September 23, 1932
- In 2012, Saudi Arabia banned smoking in government offices and most public places, which includes a ban on shishas (water pipes) and prohibits the selling of tobacco to minors.
- Women are officially forbidden to drive within Saudi cities, although this became a formal law only in 1990. Saudi and foreign women are allowed to drive inside the foreign oil compounds.
- In Saudi Arabia, wedding ceremonies are held separately for men and women. However, at some point during the wedding ceremony, or after its conclusion, the bride and groom do actually get together.
- Homosexual activity in Saudi Arabia is a criminal offense that can attract the death penalty or, at the very least, a long stretch in prison with the customary public flogging as an additional punishment.
- Birth control is illegal in Saudi Arabia.
- Instead of an income tax, Saudi Arabia has the zakat. It is a 2.5% impost that is it is levied on assets rather than income and is required of Muslims but not on guest workers.
- Saudi Arabian men typically dress in thobes, a lightweight cotton garment which is almost always white; bischts, a garment equal to an academic graduation gown; and gutras, or the traditional head scarf