The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula and Located in the southwest corner of Asia, the Kingdom is at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. It is surrounded by the Red Sea on the West, by Yemen and Oman on the South, the Arabian Gulf and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar on the East, and Jordan,Iraq and Kuwait on the North. Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastline stretches about 1,760 kilometers (1,100 miles) while its Arabian Gulf coastline roughly 560 kilometers (350 miles).
Climate Almost the entire Kingdom is arid, although there is rainfall in the north and along the mountain range to the west, especially in the far southwest, which receives the monsoon rains in summer. Sporadic rain can also occur elsewhere, sometimes very heavily, causing serious flooding, including in Riyadh, where the air and prevailing winds tend usually to be very dry.
Currency: Saudi riyal (SAR)
Official Languages: Arabic
Population: 35,841,000 million
Total Area (Sq Km): 2,149,690
AgricultureAt its founding, the kingdom inherited the simple, tribal economy of Arabia. Many of the people were nomads, engaged in raising camels, sheep, and goats. Agricultural production was localized and subsistent. The kingdom's development plans have given domestic food production special attention, and the government has made subsidies and generous incentives available to the agriculture sector.
Resources and power
PetroleumThe economy of Saudi Arabia is dominated by petroleum and its associated industries. In terms of oil reserves, Saudi Arabia ranks first internationally, with about one-fifth of the world's known reserves. Oil deposits are located in the east.
Other resourcesOther mineral resources are known to exist, and the government has pursued a policy of exploration and production in order to diversify the economic base. Geologic reconnaissance mapping of the Precambrian shield in the west has revealed deposits of gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, iron, titanium, pyrite, magnesite, platinum, and cadmium. There are also nonmetallic resources such as limestone, silica, gypsum, and phosphorite.
FinanceThe Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) was established in 1952 as the kingdom's central money and banking authority. It regulates commercial and development banks and other financial institutions. Its functions include issuing, regulating, and stabilizing the value of the national currency, the riyal; acting as banker for the government; and managing foreign reserves and investments.
Transportation and TelecommunicationsThe country's roads are all paved, and the automobile is a common form of transport. Taxis are found in cities and most large towns. Seaport capacity has been greatly expanded. Major cargo ports are Jeddah, Yanbuʿ, Ḍibā, and Jīzān on the Red Sea and Al-Dammām and Al-Jubayl on the gulf. The country has many small airports and airfields. The national airline, Saudi Arabian Airlines (formerly Saudia; founded 1945), provides both domestic and international service. The chief international airports are at Dhahran, Riyadh, and Jeddah.
Radio broadcasts began in the kingdom in 1948, and the first television station was established in 1965. All broadcasts are operated by the state, and programming focuses on religious and cultural affairs, news, and other topics that are viewed as edifying by the government. Radio and television services are widely accessible, as is telephone service. The government has invested significant resources in updating and expanding the country's telecommunications infrastructure, and large portions of the telephone grid have been digitized. Cellular telephone service is widespread, and access to the Internet is available in all major population centres.
Health and welfareA great deal of attention has been given to health care, and the numbers of hospital beds, physicians, and nurses have increased greatly. In addition to numerous health institutes, hospitals, and health centres, a network of dispensaries serving communities of 10,000 or more people has been set up, complemented by a system of mobile health services reaching small communities and the remaining nomadic populations.
Medical technology is continuously being upgraded in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom has its own facilities to train doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, and Saudi Arabians rarely travel abroad to get specialized medical treatment. These services now extend to the most remote communities in the country. The private sector, which makes a vital contribution to health services, has expanded over the past decade. It operates a number of hospitals and clinics in the country.
Major hospitals provide all sorts of sophisticated treatments including open-heart surgery, kidney transplants and cancer therapy. Saudi Arabia has one of the World's largest and best-equipped eye hospitals, the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, and one of the largest medical facilities in the Middle East, the King Fahd Medical City in Riyadh.
EducationSaudi Arabia's nationwide educational system comprises eight universities, more than 24,000 schools and a large number of colleges and other educational and training institutions.
The system is open to every citizen and provides students with free education, books and health services. The government allocates over 25% of the total budget to education including vocational training, and spends around 13.17 billion U.S. dollars on primary education and research.
The Shoura "Consultative" CouncilThe “al-shoura” council represents one of the ruling methods in the KSA. It acts as a very important decision making body. Despite the system of monarchy, the authorized persons in the council take into consideration the opinions of many other elite groups.
The council, situated in Riyadh, consists of 150 members appointed by the King who sit for a four year term of office. The members of the council must be of Saudi nationality and aged no less than 30 years. Most importantly, each member must be a highly-skilled individual to be able to handle their responsibilities.
The council makes decisions and provides opinions on general political issues, which are given to the prime minister. On specific issues, it gives the general plan for economic and social growth. It also studies the systems, lists, contracts, and agreements with other countries, and then gives suitable suggestions.
In addition, the council examines the reports given by ministers and government sectors, which represent all parties that investors deal with, and provides feedback on these reports.
As for the connection between the Royal Court and the council, the system states that the King, or his substitute, must give an annual speech in front of the council telling them the country’s internal and external policies. The council also gives its decisions to the King, who, in turn, decides which are to be given to the prime minister. If the prime minister agrees with the decisions of the council, the work starts to bring these decisions to life. Otherwise, the decisions are handed back to the council for further review.
Generally, the work of the “al-shoura” council represents an insurance regarding the work of the ministers. This also keeps the policies (including economic policies) continuously valid, abiding by the rules and practical enough to suit the demands of all different types of people.
National DayNational day is always celebrated on September 23rd. it marks September 23rd 1932, when King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al Saud announced the unification of the country as a kingdom.
Founding DayFounding Day is an official public holiday in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on February 22nd each year.
A royal order was issued in 2022 to commemorate the foundation of the First Saudi State by Imam Mohammad Bin Saud in the middle of 1139H (early 1727), lasting until 1233H (1818), with Diriyah as its capital and the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as its constitution.
The National Coat of Arms of Saudi ArabiaThe National Coat of Arms of Saudi Arabia was adopted in 1950. It is composed of two crossed swords, placed below a palm tree. The two crossed swords represents justice. The palm tree symbolizes prosperity and represents the assets of the Kingdom.
Main CitiesRiyadh is the capital city of Saudi Arabia.
Makkah and Madinah, Islam’s two holiest cities, are located in Saudi Arabia. Makkah is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the focal point of Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage in which almost two million Muslims from all parts of the world participate every year. Madinah is the city where Prophet Muhammad emigrated and lived.
Riyadh, located in the central province, is the capital city of Saudi Arabia. It is also the high-tech center of modern Saudi Arabia and houses the headquarters of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Jeddah, located along the eastern coast of the Red Sea, is the commercial capital of Saudi Arabia, and serves as an entrance to the rest of the peninsula. Jeddah’s ports hence become the main thoroughfares for trade.
The twin cities of Jubail and Yanbu are a symbol of the government’s vision of Saudi Arabia’s future development. Jubail lies on the Arabian Gulf in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom. It is located 80 kilometers north of Dammam, and is an ancient center and caravan junction famous for pearling.
It has the world’s largest petrochemical complex. Yanbu is located on the East Coast of the Red Sea about 350 kilometers north-west of Jeddah. It houses the Directorate General of the Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu. It is a typical industrial fortress and a work of art in architectural engineering.
Saudi by RegionsSearching for investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia is easy due to the geographical diversity across the 13 districts - each has specific investment characteristics related to its economic and development needs.
By getting an understanding of the geographic and natural resource features of each area, investors can easily explore thier investment plan for the Kingdom. Moreover, the large size of the country helps to attract further investment by paving the way for investors to easily choose a place relevant to thier investment plan.
Al-Baha RegionThe Al-Baha region is located in the southwest of the Kingdom, sandwiched between the Makkah and Assir regions.
The region boasts fine scenery, including mountains, valleys and forests. Combined with its agreeable climate, Baha has, in recent years, taken its place among the resorts where Saudi citizens can holiday in summer, rather than going abroad.
Other cities in this region are Baljarashi, Mandaq, Qilwa and Al-Aqeeq. These, too, have moderate climates.
Al-Jouf RegionLocated in the north of Saudi Arabia, this region is famous for its agriculture.
The city of Jouf is the administrative capital of the region. It is famous for its dates and olives, having hundreds of thousands of trees.
Guraiyaat is at the extreme on the north-west of Saudi Arabia and is famous for its salt deposits.
Duma Al-Jandal is another historic city from pre-Islamic times. It is famous for its ancient forts, the Omar Bin al-Khattab Mosque and an ancient tunnel.
Tabarjal and Suwair are also famous for agriculture, with large quantities of sweet water. The government distributed land to the farmers, which resulted in an agricultural boom in the area.
Al-Medinah RegionLocated on the northwest of the Kingdom, with Tabuk to the north, Makkah to the south, and Hail and Qasim to its east, the region of Al-Medinah includes the cities of Al-Medinah Al-Munawwara, Yanbu, Hanakia, Badr, Khyber and AlMahd.
Medinah is the second holiest city in Muslim world. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers migrated to this city in 622 AD.
It was in Medinah that the Islamic era began. It is the city of the Prophet. As the place where the Holy Quran was compiled, and where the Prophet's companions administered the affairs of the Muslim community, it was the seat of the first Islamic state. The Prophet (PBUH) is buried here.
Other cities in this region are Yanbu, which has a seaport on the Red Sea, and serves as the arrival point for pilgrims coming from Africa. It is also an industrial city.
Badr and Khaybar are other famous Islamic cities. Al-Mahd is famous for its gold mines.
Assir RegionAssir is a relatively fertile region in the extreme southwest (near Yemen) made up of coastal mountains. Mountain peaks rise to 3,000 meters and there is ample rainfall to support the natural vegetation and cultivation.
With juniper trees, wild olive trees, and even some larger trees, Assir is the only part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to support a forest.
The Assir Region has always been densely populated. With the implementation of government irrigation schemes, the agricultural potential of the region has been increased.
Abha is located in the southwest of the Kingdom. Its position, some 7,200 feet (2,200 meters) above sea-level, gives it a relatively moderate climate. Temperatures remain within a narrower band than in many other parts of the Kingdom. It also enjoys the highest level of rainfall in all of Saudi Arabia. The natural beauty of the region and its fertility have encouraged the Saudi Arabian Government to establish a number of national parks, enabling Saudi citizens to holiday in an outstanding location of natural beauty to rival anywhere abroad.
Some other cities in the region are Khamis Mushayt, Bisha and Al-Namas.
Eastern RegionLocated in the east and southeast of the Kingdom, the Eastern Region contains the Kingdom's massive petroleum reserves. The headquarters of the Saudi oil industry is located in Dhahran, a few miles from the administrative capital and port of Dammam. Ras Tanura, the world's largest petroleum port, is located to the north of Dhahran.
Dhahran previously served as the headquarters of Aramco, and is now the site of the King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals. It is served by an international airport of outstanding architectural beauty -combining traditional Islamic design with the most modern building technology.
Jubail and Yanbu constitute a unique experiment in development which has proved outstandingly successful. These two cities were planned to provide a purpose-built and highly efficient environment for modern industrial production.
Al-Ahsa is one of the oldest regions of the Arabian Peninsula. It is famous for its outstanding agriculture, and produces the best quality dates. It also has several tourism centers.
The fertile oasis-cities of Qatif and Hofuf are also located here.
Hail RegionHail is surrounded by Al-Jouf in the north, Al-Qasim in the south, Riyadh in the east, and Tabuk in the west.
For centuries, Hail was seen as the “key to the desert” because it was the main transit point for pilgrims heading for the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, and for traders traveling north or south in the Arabian Peninsula.
Towards the end of the Abbasid Caliphate, when the purity of the Arab language was threatened with dilution by foreign influences, the Muslim scholars of Hail took on the responsibility for protecting and promulgating Arabic in its purest form. As a result, the city became an important center for research and knowledge.
Kuthair, Qais bin Jerwah, Al-Trimmah bin Adie, and Antarah bin Shaddad all belong to this region. The last of these was named after a poet who wrote one of the most famous of all Arab poems, “Mu'allaqat”.
The other cities of the region, Buqaa, Jubah, Hait, Al-Khitta, Rowda and Sameera, are famous for an abundance of sweet water. Wheat, dates, vegetables, and other items are cultivated here.
Jizan RegionJizan was known in ancient times as Almikhlaf Alsulimani. It lies on the Red Sea, in the southwest of the Kingdom.
The Jizan area consists of fertile plains, forests, and mountains. The alluvial deposits brought down from the mountains by rivers and floods have created the fertile plains, which extend behind the coastal swampland. The forest region (the Alhazoun district), which is subject to flooding, consists of forests interspaced with areas of rich pasture. The mountain region is part of the Alsarawat mountain range, which makes up the jagged backbone of the Arabian Peninsula. The highest peak in Jizan is the Fifa Mountain, which rises to 11,000 feet.
The Jizan region runs along the Red Sea coast for almost 200 miles (300 km) and includes some 100 islands.
Makkah RegionThis region is located in the western part of the Kingdom, with Al-Madinah to the north, Riyadh to the east and Al-Baha and Assir to the south. Cities in this region include Makkah, Jeddah, Taif, Rabigh and Qunfuzah.
The Holy City of Makkah is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the place where God's message was first revealed to him, and where he returned after the migration to Medinah in 622 AD.
Makkah is Islam’s holiest city. Five times a day, the world's one billion Muslims, wherever they may be, turn to the Holy City of Makkah to pray. And at least once in their lives, all Muslims who can, perform the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah. Thus each year the Holy City of Makkah is host to more than two million hajjis (pilgrims) from all over the world.
The Holy Mosque in Makkah houses the Ka’aba.
Jeddah is the commercial hub of the Kingdom, served by a seaport and an international airport. It has a huge pilgrimage city, a tent-shaped structure of outstanding architectural beauty in traditional Islamic design. Jeddah is more than 3000 years old and was known as a resting place for fishermen. It is the gateway to Makkah and is famous for its wide, beautiful corniche.
Najran RegionNajran lies in the southwest of the Kingdom. It is bounded by Yemen to the south; Al-Silayel and Wadi Al-Dawasir to the north; Dhahran Al-Janoub and the Asir region to the west; and Oman to the east.
Although Najran has a desert climate, the heavy monsoon rains that fall in the spring, combined with its underground water reserves, produce fertile agricultural land.
Originally, Najran was a small trading town known as Abul Saud. The large scale tree-planting program has created parks in Najran itself and in the surrounding villages. Najran also boasts the largest water dam in the Kingdom, the Najran Valley Dam, with a storage capacity of 85 million cubic meters (3,000 million cubic feet).
The other famous city in this region is Sharura.
Northern Border RegionLocated in the northeast of Saudi Arabia, this region is famous for its livestock breeding and raw phosphate.
Arar is the administrative capital of the region. It lies at the cross-roads of international routes to Syria, Iraq and Europe, and serves as a transit point for pilgrims heading to the Holy cities of Makkah and Medinah during Hajj.
Rafha is another famous city in the region. It is named after a woman who used to sell pottery near a mountain in the city. It is a city full of ponds and ancient wells since the time of Prophet Sulaiman.
The other main cities in the region are Turaif, which connects to the GCC countries, and Awaiqliya.
Qasim RegionQasim is located in the center of the Kingdom, with Hail to the north, Al-Medinah to the west and Riyadh to the south. Some of the cities located here are Buraidah, Unaiza, Bakariya and Darya.
Buraidah, the twin city of Unaizah, lies equidistant from the Red Sea to the west and the Arabian Gulf to the east. It is the regional capital of Qasim and is located on the edge of the Wadi Al-Rummah. The Wadi Al-Rummah is the longest wadi (river) in the Kingdom, stretching some 370 miles (600 kms) from near Medinah to the Al-Thuwairat sands.
Buraidah has a typical desert climate with hot summers, cold winters and low humidity.
As part of the Kingdom's agricultural development program, the region of Buraidah has made an outstanding contribution to the Kingdom's wheat and poultry production. It has played a crucial role in enabling the Kingdom to become not only self-sufficient in wheat, but also a major exporter of the cereal.
Riyadh RegionThe central region is considered the heartland of Saudi Arabia both physically and culturally. It is essentially a vast plateau area, but contains uplands, broad valleys, dry rivers and a number of marshes - thought to be the remnants of inland seas which existed in ancient geological times. Most of the central region is arid, with some oases in the north around Qasim.
Riyadh is the capital city of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and now rivals any modern city in the world with the splendor of its architecture. Broad highways sweep through the city, passing over and under each other in an impressive and still-growing network. Trees line the broad streets and avenues, giving pleasure and shade to all those who linger beneath them.
The name Riyadh is derived from the Arabic word rawdah, meaning “a place of gardens and trees.” With many wadis (a river run dry) in the vicinity, Riyadh has always been a fertile area set in the heartland of the Arabian Peninsula.
Of all the Kingdom's developmental achievements, Riyadh is perhaps the most accessible to the foreign visitor. It is served by the King Khalid International Airport, itself a marvel of design that combines traditional Arab styles with the best of modern architecture. Other cities in this region include Al-Kharj, famous for its agriculture; Darraiya, an ancient city; Dawadmi, Zulfi, Majma and Shargra, among others.
Tabuk RegionLocated in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, this region is rich in raw materials such as silica sand, limestone, and clay.
For more than 4,000 years, the city of Teema served as the summer capital for the Babel kings.
Al-Wajh is famous for its moderate climate all year round.
UmmLujj is situated on the coast of the Red Sea. It has long been famous for pearls and, more recently, for fishing, agriculture, and manufacturing gypsum.
Haql is situated on the borders of Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine, and is famous for tourism. Duba is also famous for fishing and agriculture.