Explore Saudi Arabia in Asia

Saudi Arabia
Country Guide

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Travel warning information is updated daily: The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advisory service suggests to reconsider your need to travel to this country. Take this advice seriously - check with your local authorities whether your exact destination is safe.

Saudi Arabia with its capital Riyadh is located in Asia (Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea). It covers some 1,960,583 square kilometres (slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US) with 28,161,000 citizens. Arabic is the language commonly used by the people in Saudi Arabia. Qatar, Oman, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are bordering countries.

Saudi Arabia is a Middle Eastern country that occupies most of the Arabian peninsula and has coastlines on the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Red Sea. Saudi Arabia is one of three countries named for their royal families, along with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and also Liechtenstein. Entertainment in Saudi Arabia is very family-oriented. There are few activities for just couples or singles. Single men are not allowed in family areas: family beaches are partitioned from the bachelor beaches, for example. Women are expected to be accompanied by a male relative in public, although single women may be admitted into family areas.

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Pictures from the Saudi or Saudi Arabian capital

Have a look at our dedicated photo collection to get a view of what Riyadh is like. We have selected more pictures from Riyadh on our dedicated gallery page.

Awesome photos provided by Panoramio are under the copyright of their owners.

Landscape, climate and basic hints for travelling

National Tourism Office

Website: Saudi Arabia Tourism

Kindi Center, D.Q.
PO Box 66680
Riyadh 11586
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Phone: +966 480 8855
Phone: +966 480 8844

The landscape features mostly uninhabited, sandy desert. The average density of population is about 14 per km². The climate in Saudi Arabia can be described as harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes. Potential threats by nature are frequent sand and dust storms.

To reach someone in Saudi Arabia dial +966 prior to a number. There are 4,171,000 installed telephones. And there are 44,864,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks operate on frequencies of 900 MHz and 3G. Websites typically end with the top level domain ".sa". If you want to bring electric appliances (e.g. battery charger), keep in mind the local 127/220V - 60Hz.

Learn more on our Saudi or Saudi Arabian Facts page.

Description of the flag of Saudi Arabia

Green, a traditional color in Islamic flags, with the Shahada or Muslim creed in large white Arabic script (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); design dates to the early twentieth century and is closely associated with the Al Saud family which established the kingdom in 1932; the flag is manufactured with differing obverse and reverse sides so that the Shahada reads - and the sword points - correctly from right to left on both sides
note: one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides - the others are Moldova and Paraguay.

National administrative regions of Saudi Arabia

Historical background information

Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to Islam's two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. The king's official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. The modern Saudi state was founded in 1932 by ABD AL-AZIZ bin Abd al-Rahman Al SAUD (Ibn Saud) after a 30-year campaign to unify most of the Arabian Peninsula. One of his male descendants rules the country today, as required by the country's 1992 Basic Law. King ABDALLAH bin Abd al-Aziz ascended to the throne in 2005. Following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saudi Arabia accepted the Kuwaiti royal family and 400,000 refugees while allowing Western and Arab troops to deploy on its soil for the liberation of Kuwait the following year. The continuing presence of foreign troops on Saudi soil after the liberation of Kuwait became a source of tension between the royal family and the public until all operational US troops left the country in 2003. Major terrorist attacks in May and November 2003 spurred a strong on-going campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism. King ABDALLAH has continued the cautious reform program begun when he was crown prince. The king instituted an interfaith dialogue initiative in 2008 to encourage religious tolerance on a global level; in 2009, he reshuffled the cabinet, which led to more moderates holding ministerial and judicial positions, and appointed the first female to the cabinet. The 2010-12 uprisings across Middle Eastern and North African countries sparked modest incidents in Saudi cities, predominantly by Shia demonstrators calling for the release of detainees and the withdrawal from Bahrain of the Gulf Cooperation Council's Peninsula Shield Force. Protests in general were met by a strong police presence, with some arrests, but not the level of bloodshed seen in protests elsewhere in the region. In response to the unrest, King ABDALLAH in February and March 2011 announced a series of benefits to Saudi citizens including funds to build affordable housing, salary increases for government workers, and unemployment entitlements. To promote increased political participation, the government held elections nationwide in September 2011 for half the members of 285 municipal councils. Also in September, the king announced that women will be allowed to run for and vote in future municipal elections - first held in 2005 - and serve as full members of the advisory Consultative Council. During 2012, Shia protests increased in violence, while peaceful Sunni protests expanded. The country remains a leading producer of oil and natural gas and holds about 17% of the world's proven oil reserves. The government continues to pursue economic reform and diversification, particularly since Saudi Arabia's accession to the WTO in December 2005, and promotes foreign investment in the kingdom. A burgeoning population, aquifer depletion, and an economy largely dependent on petroleum output and prices are ongoing governmental concerns.

Learn more on our Saudi or Saudi Arabian Facts page.

Based on the content from wikitravel.org. The original article can be found here based on the work of these users. Geography information is based on the data provided by geonames.org, CIA world facts book Edition 2010 and 2013, Unesco, DBpedia, wikipedia and others.