Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Destinations Travel Guide

Flag of Saudi Arabia

Language: Arabic

Currency: Saudi Riyal (SAR)

Calling Code: 966


Saudi Arabia or Saudi Arabia, officially called the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a sovereign country of Western Asia located in the Arabian peninsula, whose form of government is the absolute monarchy. It borders Jordan to the northwest, to Iraq to the northeast, to Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the Persian Gulf to the east, to the Red Sea to the west, and to Oman and Yemen to the south, as well as being connected with Bahrain, through the road of King Fahd. The country has a surface area of ​​2 149 690 km2, and had a population of more than 29 million inhabitants in 2012. Its leadership in the global export of oil has made it one of the twenty largest economies on the planet. It is also called "the land of the sacred mosques" in reference to the Great Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, the two most sacred places in Islam, which are strictly forbidden access to non-Muslims .

The House of Saud saw the first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah, which collapsed in the Ottoman-wahhabi war between 1811 and 1818 and the second Saudi state, the Emirate of Nechd, which lasted between 1824 and 1891. The modern monarchy It was founded by Abdelaziz bin Saud, who initiated his conquests that began the unification in 1902 with the taking of Riyadh, current capital of the country. The modern Saudi state began in 1932 and the government has been an absolute monarchy and a theocracy since its inception, based on an extremist application of the principles of Islam. Today it represents one of the last six absolute monarchies in the world. The Wahhabism religious movement has been called, within Sunnism, "the predominant feature of Saudi culture." The kingdom and its official line adhere fully to Islamic precepts, with one of the most rigorous interpretations of the sharia of the planet.


Travel Destination in Saudi Arabia

Mecca is situated in Saudi Arabia and it is the holiest city for the Muslims. In fact pilgrimage here or hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam.



After the unification of Nede, Hijaz, El Has and Catifa to a single state under the guidance of the charismatic leader of Abdul-Aziza by the royal decree of September 23, 1932, the new state was given the name al-Mamlyakya al -'arabia as-Su'iyiy (ٱلail.Ru ٱللbed ). In other languages, the name is usually translated as "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", although it literally means "Saudi Arab Kingdom" or "Arab Kingdom of Saudi Arabia".

The word "Saudi" in the name of the country comes from the element As-Saudiya, which is nisboi, formed from the surname of the ruling dynasty of Saudi Arabia - Al Saud, Saudis (arab. آل سعود‎). The inclusion of this element in the name of the country demonstrates that the country is the personal domain of the royal family.

Al Saud is an Arabic name formed by adding the component "Al", which means "family" or "house", to the personal name of an ancestor. In relation to the Saudis, this is the founder and first ruler of the first Saudi state, the Diri emirate, Muhammad ibn Saud (c. 1710-1765).



Saudi Arabia occupies about 80% of the territory of the Arabian Peninsula. Due to the fact that the national borders of the state are not clearly defined, the exact area of ​​​​Saudi Arabia is unknown. According to official data, it is 2,217,949 km², according to others - from 1,960,582 km² to 2,240,000 km². One way or another, Saudi Arabia is the 13th largest state in the world.

In the west of the country, along the coast of the Red Sea, the Al-Hijaz mountain range stretches. In the southwest, the height of the mountains reaches 2500 meters. The highest peak in Saudi Arabia is Jabal al-Lawz. The Asir resort area is also located there, attracting tourists with its greenery and mild climate. The east is occupied mainly by deserts. The south and southeast of Saudi Arabia is almost completely occupied by the Rub al-Khali desert, through which the border with Yemen and Oman passes.

Most of the territory of Saudi Arabia is occupied by deserts and semi-deserts, which are inhabited by nomadic Bedouin tribes. The population is concentrated around a few large cities, usually in the west or east near the coast.



According to the structure of the surface, most of the country is a vast desert plateau (height from 300-600 m in the east to 1520 m in the west), slightly dissected by dry riverbeds (wadis). In the west, parallel to the coast of the Red Sea, the Hijaz (Arab. "barrier") and Asir (Arab. "difficult") mountains stretch 2500-3000 m high (with the highest point - Mount An-Nabi-Shuaib, 3353 m), passing into coastal lowland Tihama (5 to 70 km wide). In the mountains of Asir, the relief varies from mountain peaks to large valleys. There are few passes through the Hijaz mountains; communication between the hinterland of Saudi Arabia and the shores of the Red Sea is limited. In the north, along the borders of Jordan, the rocky desert of El Hamad stretches. The largest sandy deserts are located in the northern and central part of the country: Big Nefud and Small Nefud (Dehna), known for their red sands; in the south and southeast - Rub al-Khali (Arabic "empty quarter") with dunes and ridges in the northern part up to 200 m. Undefined borders with Yemen, Oman and the United Arab Emirates run through the deserts. The total area of ​​​​deserts reaches approximately 1 million km², including Rub al-Khali - 777 thousand km². Along the coast of the Persian Gulf stretches in places swampy or saline lowland El-Khasa (up to 150 km wide). Seashores are predominantly low, sandy, and slightly indented.



The climate in Saudi Arabia is extremely dry. The Arabian Peninsula is one of the few places on Earth where temperatures consistently exceed 50°C in summer. Snow falls only in the Jizan mountains in the west of the country, and not every year. The average temperature in January is between 8°C and 20°C in desert towns and between 20°C and 30°C along the Red Sea coast. In summer, temperatures in the shade range from 35°C to 43°C. At night in the desert, you can sometimes encounter temperatures close to 0 ° C, as the sand quickly gives off the heat accumulated during the day.

The average annual rainfall is 100 mm. In the center and east of Saudi Arabia, it rains exclusively in late winter and spring, while in the west it rains only in winter.


Inland waters

Saudi Arabia is a virtually drainless region, temporary streams are formed after intense rains. The largest wadis are Er-Rumma, Es-Sirkhan, Ed-Dawasir, Bisha, Najran. After rare showers, wadis sometimes turn into powerful mud flows. Oases are confined to the wadi.


Vegetable world

White saxaul, camel thorn grow in places on the sands, lichens grow on hamads, wormwood, astragalus grow on lava fields, solitary poplars, acacias grow along the wadi channels, and tamarisk in more saline places; along the coasts and solonchaks - halophytic shrubs. A significant part of the sandy and rocky deserts is almost completely devoid of vegetation. In spring and in wet years, the role of ephemera in the composition of vegetation increases. In the mountains of Asir - areas of savannas, where acacias, wild olives, almonds grow. In the oases there are groves of date palms, citrus fruits, bananas, cereals and horticultural crops.


Animal world

The animal world is quite diverse: antelope, gazelle, hyrax, wolf, jackal, hyena, fennec fox, caracal, onager, hare. There are many rodents (gerbils, ground squirrels, jerboas, etc.) and reptiles (snakes, lizards, turtles). Among the birds - eagles, kites, vultures, peregrine falcons, bustards, larks, sandgrouse, quail, doves. Coastal lowlands serve as breeding grounds for locusts. There are more than 2,000 species of corals in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf (black coral is especially valued). 39.64% of the country's area is occupied by 128 protected areas. In the mid-1980s, the government established the Asir National Park, which preserves nearly extinct wildlife species such as the oryx (oryx) and the Nubian ibex.



ancient history
The territory of present-day Saudi Arabia is the historical homeland of the Arab tribes, which originally lived in the northeast, and in the II millennium BC. e. occupied the entire Arabian Peninsula. At the same time, the Arabs assimilated the Negroid population of the southern part of the peninsula.

From the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. e. in the south of the peninsula, the Minean and Sabaean kingdoms existed, and the most ancient cities of the Hijaz - Mecca and Medina - arose as their transit trade centers. In the middle of the VI century, Mecca united the surrounding tribes and repelled the Ethiopian invasion.

At the beginning of the 7th century in Mecca, the prophet Muhammad began to preach Islam. In 622, he moved to the oasis of Yathrib (the future Medina), which became the center of the emerging Arab state. From 632 to 661, Medina was the residence of the Caliphs and the capital of the Arab Caliphate.

Spread of Islam
After the resettlement of the Prophet Muhammad in Yathrib, later called Medina (Arabic المدينة النبي‎ - the city of the Prophet) in 622, an agreement was signed between the Muslims, led by the Prophet Muhammad, and the local Arab and Jewish tribes. During the attack of the Quraysh and their allies in the battle of the ditch, the Jewish tribe of the Banu Qurayza violated the treaty, relations between Muslims and Jews took on an openly hostile character.

In 632, with the capital in Medina, the Arab Caliphate was founded, covering almost the entire territory of the Arabian Peninsula. By the time the reign of the second caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (634) began, all Jews were expelled from the Hijaz. By the same time, there is a rule according to which non-Muslims do not have the right to live in Hijaz, and today in Medina and Mecca. As a result of the conquests, by the 9th century the Arab state spread over the territory of the entire Middle East, Iran, Central Asia, Transcaucasia, North Africa, and also Southern Europe (the Iberian Peninsula, the islands of the Mediterranean Sea).

Arabia in the Middle Ages
In the 16th century, Turkish rule began to be established in Arabia. By 1574, the Ottoman Empire, led by Sultan Selim II, finally conquered the Arabian Peninsula. Taking advantage of the weak political will of Sultan Mahmud I (1730-1754), the Arabs began to make their first attempts to build their own statehood. The most influential Arab families in the Hejaz at that time were Sauds and Rashidis.

First Saudi state
The emergence of the Saudi state began in 1744 in the central region of the Arabian Peninsula. The ruler of the city of Ad-Diriya Muhammad ibn Saud and the Islamic preacher Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab united to create a single powerful state. This union, concluded in the 18th century, marked the beginning of the ruling Saudi dynasty to this day. After some time, the young state with its capital in Ad-Diriya came under pressure from the Ottoman Empire, concerned about the strengthening of the Arabs at its southern borders and their conquest of Mecca and Medina. In 1817, the Ottoman Sultan sent troops under the command of Muhammad Ali Pasha to the Arabian Peninsula, who defeated the relatively weak army of Imam Abdullah. Thus, the First Saudi State lasted 73 years.

Second Saudi State
Despite the fact that the Turks managed to destroy the beginnings of Arab statehood, just 7 years later (in 1824) the Second Saudi State was founded with its capital in Riyadh. This state existed for 67 years and was destroyed by the old enemies of the Saudis - the Rashidi dynasty, originally from Hail. The Saudi family was forced to flee to Kuwait.

Third Saudi State
In 1902, 22-year-old Abdul-Aziz from the Saud family captured Riyadh, cracking down on the governor from the Rashidi family. In 1904, the Rashidis turned to the Ottoman Empire for help. They brought in their troops, but this time they were defeated and withdrew. In 1912, Abdulaziz captured the entire region of Najd. In 1920, using the material support of the British, Abdul-Aziz finally defeated Rashidi. Mecca was occupied in 1925. On January 10, 1926, Abdulaziz Al Saud was proclaimed king of the Hejaz. In 1927, Great Britain recognized the independence of the kingdom. A few years later, Abdul-Aziz captured almost the entire Arabian Peninsula. On September 23, 1932, Nejd and Hijaz were merged into one state, called Saudi Arabia. Abdulaziz himself became the king of Saudi Arabia.

In March 1938, colossal oil fields were discovered in Saudi Arabia. Due to the outbreak of World War II, their development began only in 1946, and by 1949 the country already had a well-established oil industry. Oil has become a source of wealth and prosperity for the state.


In the Second World War, Saudi Arabia remained neutral for a long time, however, benevolent for the anti-Hitler coalition: in 1941, it broke off diplomatic relations with Germany, in 1942 with Italy. In 1943, the United States extended the Lend-Lease Act to Saudi Arabia. In February 1945, the kingdom declared war on Germany, but its troops did not participate in the hostilities.

The first king of Saudi Arabia pursued a rather isolationist policy. Under him, the country never became a member of the League of Nations. Before his death in 1953, he left the country only 3 times. However, in 1945 Saudi Arabia was a founding member of the UN and the Arab League.

Abdulaziz was succeeded by his son Saud. His ill-conceived domestic policy led to a coup d'état in the country, Saud fled to Europe, power passed into the hands of his brother Faisal. Faisal made a huge contribution to the development of the country. Under him, the volume of oil production increased many times, which made it possible to carry out a number of social reforms in the country and create a modern infrastructure. In 1973, by demanding the return of Jerusalem, and removing Saudi oil from all trading floors, Faisal provoked an energy crisis in the West. His radicalism did not find understanding among everyone, and two years later Faisal was shot dead by his own nephew. After his death, Saudi Arabia's foreign policy became more moderate under King Khalid. After Khalid, his brother Fahd inherited the throne, in 2005 - Abdullah, and in 2015 - Salman.

The US House of Representatives accuses the Saudi Arabian government of involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks. The first lawsuit against Saudi Arabia was filed by Stephanie Ross DeSimone, whose husband died in a collision of a plane hijacked by militants with the Pentagon building.

Unrest 2011-2013
On March 10, 2011, in the city of El Katif, the police opened fire on the Shiites who held a rally, who demanded the release of their co-religionists from prisons. Three people were injured during the riots.

Rallies in Saudi Arabia have been banned by the Ministry of the Interior since early March 2011 on the grounds that demonstrations and marches are contrary to Sharia. At the same time, the police received the right to use any means to suppress illegal assemblies.

On October 4, 2011, riots took place in the Eastern Province, which is populated mainly by Shiites. The Saudi authorities believe that tensions are being fueled from abroad, mainly by Iran.

As a result of the unrest, Shia Ayatollah An-Nimr was arrested on suspicion of terrorism. On January 2, 2016, he was executed.



The population of Saudi Arabia in 2021 was 34,783,757. As of 2019, according to the UN, immigrants make up 38.3% of the total population of the country. Urban population - 84.5% (2021). The total fertility rate for 2021 is 1.95 births per woman. Literacy - 95.3%; men - 97.1%, women - 92.7% (2017). About 12.84% of the population is under the age of 15, 83.53% - from 15 to 65 years old, 3.63% - over 65 years old. In 2021, the birth rate was estimated at 14.56 per 1000 of the population, the death rate was 3.39 per 1000, immigration was 5.04 per 1000, and the population growth was 1.62%. Infant mortality - 12.58 per 1000 newborns. The life expectancy of the population as of 2021 is 76.4 years, for men it is 74.81 years, and for women it is 78.07 years. The average age of the population as of 2020 is 30.8 years (men - 35 years, women - 27.9 years).

Major cities
81% of Saudi Arabia's population is concentrated in cities. The largest city, the capital of the kingdom, its political, cultural (in addition to places of worship) and scientific center is Riyadh with a population of over 7 million people. Jeddah is the second largest city in the country, its "economic capital", the most important port on the Red Sea. Mecca and Medina, being one of the largest cities in the country, are the symbols of Saudi Arabia and the holy cities of Islam. As a rule, during the period of the Hajj, due to pilgrims from all over the Muslim world, the population of Mecca can double, in connection with which the world's largest tent cities, parking lots and a high-carrying metro system, the first in the country, were built in it. The most important role in the country's economy is played by ports on the Persian Gulf: Dammam (the world's largest oil tanker), Jubail and Khafji. The main oil refining capacities are concentrated in these cities.

Administrative division
Saudi Arabia is divided into 13 administrative districts (Arabic: المناطق الإدارية‎ almnat aladarih), previously also known as provinces, emirates or mintaqas (mintaqat, in singular - mintaqah).


State structure

The government of Saudi Arabia is determined by the Basic Law of the Kingdom, called the Basic Law of Government of Saudi Arabia, which was adopted in 1992. According to him, Saudi Arabia is an absolute theocratic monarchy ruled by the sons and grandsons of the first king, Abdulaziz. The law is based on Islamic law. Theoretically, the power of the king is limited only by Sharia law.

The head of state is the king. Currently, Saudi Arabia is led by the son of the founder of the country, King Salman ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Saudi dynasty. The most important state decrees are signed after consultation with the ulema (a group of religious leaders of the state) and other important members of Saudi society. All branches of government are subordinate to the king. The heir to the throne is appointed by the king after his election by the "Council of Devotion", established in accordance with the law of 2006, while the succession to the throne occurs from brother to brother (among the sons of King Abdulaziz), and only after there is not one of them left , to the eldest of the next generation. The female line of succession does not count.

The executive power in the form of the Council of Ministers consists of the prime minister, the first deputy prime minister and twenty ministers. All ministerial portfolios are distributed among the king's relatives and appointed by him.

Legislative power is represented in the form of a kind of parliament - the Consultative Assembly (Majlis al-Shura). All 150 members of the Consultative Assembly are appointed by the king for a four-year term. Political parties are banned, some operate underground [source not specified 2595 days]. In 2011, a decision was made to allow the appointment of women to the Council.

The judiciary is a system of religious courts where judges are appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council. The Supreme Judicial Council, in turn, consists of 12 people, also appointed by the king. The independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by law. The king acts as the highest court with the right of amnesty.

local elections
Until 2005, even local authorities in the country were not elected, but appointed. In 2005, the authorities decided to hold the first municipal elections in more than 30 years. Women, as well as military personnel, are excluded from voting. In addition, not all of the local councils were elected, but only half. The other half is still appointed by the government. On February 10, 2005, the first round of municipal elections took place in Riyadh. Only men aged 21 and over were allowed to participate. The second stage was held on March 3 in five regions in the east and south-west of the country, the third - on April 21 in seven regions in the north and west of the country. In the first round, all seven seats on the Riyadh council were won by candidates who were either imams of local mosques, or teachers of traditional Islamic schools, or employees of Islamic charitable organizations. The same alignment of forces was repeated in other regions.

Judicial system
King Abdullah, who took the throne in 2005, sought to reform the country's judicial system. He even signed a corresponding decree in October 2007. But the king did not enter into direct confrontation with the most influential Saudi institution of judges, which interprets Sharia norms and is a stronghold of conservative forces in the country. In addition, he understood the need for a very careful reform of the Islamic system of the country, because it is the rules of this system that legitimize the right of the Saudi dynasty to the throne of the country. In saving Saudi Arabia's image in the international arena, King Abdullah used the practice of royal pardons in particularly controversial situations, as in the case of the rape of a girl from al-Qatif.


Human rights

Criminal law is based on Sharia law. The country has an extremely low official crime rate, which is explained by the country's closed nature, as well as the fact that Sharia does not encourage reporting offenses to the police. Oral or written discussion of the existing political system is prohibited by law.

The country strictly prohibits the use and circulation of alcohol and drugs, as well as gambling.

For theft, cutting off the brush is due.

Extramarital sexual relations are punishable by punishment from whips to the death penalty.

Homosexuality is punishable by death.

For murder, blasphemy and "witchcraft" (forecasting the future, divination, inducing damage, love spells, and the like), the death penalty is due.

In March 2013, a Riyadh court sentenced Abdullah al-Hamid and Mohammed al-Qahtan, employees of the NGO Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights, to 11 and 10 years in prison, respectively, for “disturbing public order” and “establishing an unlicensed organization.” .

In May 2014, it was reported that blogger Raif Badawi had been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam".

Torture is widespread, with courts trusting "confessions" even if obtained under torture or duress.

According to the human rights organization "Amnesty International", the policy of Saudi Arabia in the field of human rights should be subjected to greater criticism of the United States.

State efforts to prevent and eradicate human trafficking are insufficient: Saudi Arabia is a popular destination for trafficking people into labor and sexual slavery.


Foreign policy and international relations

Saudi Arabia's foreign policy is focused on maintaining the kingdom's key positions in the Arabian Peninsula, among Islamic states and oil exporting states. Saudi diplomacy protects and promotes the interests of Islam around the world. Despite allied relations with the West, Saudi Arabia is often criticized for financing Islamic extremists. It is known that Saudi Arabia was one of the three states that recognized the first rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Difficult relations are also developing with Iran, since both Saudi Arabia and Iran, being the centers of the two main branches of Islam, claim informal leadership in the Islamic world.

Saudi Arabia is a key member in such organizations as the League of Arab States, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

As a member of the Arab League, Saudi Arabia supports the boycott of Israel, including the passport boycott, along with 14 countries not recognizing the passport of an Israeli citizen as an official document and banning the entry of Israeli citizens.

The USSR was the first non-Arab country to recognize the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1926. In 1990, diplomatic relations were established with the PRC at the consular level. In 2007, diplomatic relations were established between Saudi Arabia and the Holy See.

In 2017, the Qatari diplomatic crisis erupted.

In February 2021, the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on military cooperation was published.



Saudi Arabia's economy is based on the oil industry, which accounts for 45% of the country's gross domestic product. 75% of budget revenues and 90% of exports are exports of petroleum products. The proven oil reserves are 260 billion barrels (24% of the proven oil reserves on Earth). Saudi Arabia plays a key role as a "stabilizing producer" in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), through which it regulates world oil prices.

During 2021, Saudi Arabia's $833.5 billion economy rose to 16th place among the G20 economies in terms of GDP, driven by a 51.6 percent growth in the oil sector and 4.7 percent in the non-oil sector.

Strengths: Huge oil and gas reserves and an excellent associated processing industry. Tourism: big revenues from 2 million pilgrims to Mecca a year.

Weaknesses: Vocational education is not developed. High subventions for food. Imports of most consumer goods and industrial raw materials. High youth unemployment. The dependence of the country's welfare on the ruling family. The credibility of the reserves has been called into question by WikiLeaks publications.

In the 1990s, the country experienced an economic recession associated with falling oil prices and, at the same time, a huge population growth. Because of this, GDP per capita fell from $25,000 to $7,000 in a few years. In 1999, OPEC decided to drastically cut oil production, which led to a jump in prices and helped to correct the situation. In 1999, extensive privatization of electricity and telecommunications enterprises began.

In December 2005, Saudi Arabia joined the World Trade Organization.

International trade
Export - oil (65%) and oil products (8.3%), as well as various chemical compounds (polymers, alcohols, ethers, medicines and fertilizers - up to 19.5%): $ 170 billion (2017). The main buyers are China (17%), Japan (15%), India (11%), USA (10%), South Korea (10%), Singapore (5%).

Imports - industrial equipment, food, chemicals, automobiles, textiles: $96.2 billion (2017) The main suppliers are China (19%), USA (8%), Germany (7.5%), South Korea (5.4%), India (5.2%).

In the 2000s, the role of China in the kingdom's foreign trade increased dramatically: in 2002, the trade turnover between Beijing and Riyadh amounted to $5.1 billion, and in 2008 it was already $41.8 billion.



Car roads
The total length of highways is 221,372 km[48]. Of them:

with hard surface - 47,530 km.
without hard coating - 173,843 km.
In Saudi Arabia, women (of any nationality) were prohibited from driving until 2006. This rule was adopted in 1932 as a result of a conservative interpretation of the provisions of the Koran[49]. Today, until the age of 30, a woman can drive a car only in the presence of her husband, father or brother.

Rail transport consists of several hundred kilometers of 1435 mm standard gauge railways linking Riyadh with major ports in the Persian Gulf. The country's railways are managed by two state-owned companies: the Saudi Railways Organization and the Saudi Railway Company.

In 2005, the North-South project was launched, which provides for the construction of a 2,400 km long railway line at a cost of over $2 billion. km and cost 800 million dollars[50], but already in May 2008 the results of the tender were canceled, and the President of Russian Railways V. Yakunin called this decision political[51].

In October 2018, the opening of the 450-kilometer Al-Haramain branch connecting Mecca and Medina took place[52].

Air Transport
Passenger airlines of Saudi Arabia:
Al-Maha Airlines - domestic airlines. Airbus A 320 fleet.
Flynas is a low cost airline, domestic and international.
Saudi Arabian Airlines is the flagship airline of Saudi Arabia, domestic and international airlines.
Saudi Gulf Airlines - domestic airlines. Airbus A 320 and Bombardier CS300 fleet.
Mid East Jet is a charter airline.

The number of airports is 208, of which 73 have concrete runways, 6 have international status:
King Fahd International Airport (DMM), Ad Dammam.
King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED), Jeddah.
King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Riyadh.
Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport (MED), Medina.
Al-Ahsa International Airport (HOF), Al-Hofuf.
Prince Abdul Mohsin bin Abdulaziz International Airport (YNB), Yanbu El Bahr

As of March 2014, the Mecca Metro is in operation; Jeddah Metro and Riyadh Metro are scheduled to open.

Red sea
King Abdullah
Yanbu al-Bahr

Persian Gulf
Al Khobar

The total length of pipe lines is 7067 km. Of these, oil pipelines - 5062 km, gas pipelines - 837 km, as well as 1187 km of pipes for the transportation of liquefied gas (NGL), 212 km - for gas condensate and 69 km - for the transportation of petroleum products.



In clothing, the inhabitants of Saudi Arabia adhere to national traditions and the canons of Islam, avoiding excessive frankness. Men wear long shirts (sawb) made of wool or cotton. The traditional headdress is the gutra (keffiyeh). In cold weather, a bisht is worn over the dishdashi - a cape made of camel hair, most often in dark colors. Women's traditional clothes are richly decorated with tribal signs, coins, beads, threads. When leaving home, a Saudi woman is required to cover her body with an abaya and her head with a hijab. Foreign women are also required to wear an abaya (with trousers or a long dress underneath).

Islam forbids the consumption of pork and alcohol. Traditional food includes grilled chicken, falafel, shawarma, kebab, kussa mahshi (stuffed zucchini), as well as unleavened bread - khubz. In almost all dishes, various spices and spices are abundantly added. Among the favorite drinks of the Arabs are coffee and tea. Their drinking is often ceremonial. Arabs drink black tea with the addition of various herbs. Arabic coffee is famous for its traditional strength. It is drunk in small cups (often with the addition of cardamom) and consumed very often.

The culture of Saudi Arabia is strongly associated with Islam. Every day, five times a day, the muezzin calls devout Muslims to prayer (prayer). Serving another religion, distributing other religious literature, building churches, Buddhist temples, synagogues is prohibited.

Public theaters and cinemas have been banned since the 1980s. However, in communities where predominantly western workers live (eg Dhahran), there are such establishments. Home video is very popular. Western-made films are practically uncensored.

Public cinemas reopened in Saudi Arabia in 2018; for the first time in 35 years, a public film show was held; the audience was shown a full-length American cartoon "The Emoji Movie".

The days off in the country are Friday and Saturday.



In the initial period of its existence, the Saudi state could not give guarantees of education to all its citizens. Only the ministers of mosques and Islamic schools were educated. In such schools, people learned to read and write, and also studied Islamic law. The Saudi Ministry of Education was founded in 1954. It was headed by the son of the first king, Fahd. In 1957, the first university in the kingdom, named after King Saud, was founded in Riyadh. By the end of the 20th century, a system was established in Saudi Arabia that provided all citizens with free education - from pre-school to higher education.

Today, the education system in the kingdom consists of 8 universities, over 24,000 schools and a large number of colleges and other educational institutions. More than a quarter of the state annual budget is spent on education. In addition to free education, the government provides students with everything they need to study: literature and even medical care. The state also sponsors the education of its citizens in foreign universities - mainly in the USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Malaysia.


Mass media

SBC State Television and Roaded (Saudi BroadCasting Corporation, المorable The Saudi News Agency broadcasts in various languages, including Russian.



The country has developed special legislation that regulates the operation of the Internet in the country. In January 2008, 16 articles of a new technology application law came into force in Saudi Arabia. According to the law, the creation of sites that protect or support terrorism is prohibited, the punishment is up to 10 years or a fine; fraud and interference with privacy are also prohibited, the punishment is restriction of liberty for up to three years and a fine; it is forbidden to distribute pornographic materials and other others that violate state law, religious values ​​and norms of public life, punishment - up to 5 years and a fine; complicity in a crime or even intent to commit an unlawful act in the field of information technology can amount to up to half of the maximum term.

In October 2019, Middle East operator Zain launched a commercial 5G network in 20 cities in Saudi Arabia.

Sports are popular among young people. Women rarely play sports; if they do it, then in enclosed spaces where there are no men. The most popular game is football, although the national team of the kingdom also takes part in championships in volleyball, basketball, and the Summer Olympics. The Saudi Arabia national football team is considered one of the strongest teams in Asia. Saudi Arabia has won the Asian Cup three times - in 1984, 1988 and 1996.

Drift is extremely popular among young people - the technique of driving a car in a controlled skid. Such competitions are prohibited by law. Often they are not without victims, but they invariably gather crowds of motorists, spectators and onlookers.

Saudi companies are actively investing in a number of popular foreign sports leagues, events, clubs in sports such as football, motorsport, boxing and others. One of the goals of such investments, experts call the desire to improve the country's image in the world.

Ministry of Culture
In the summer of 2018, the Ministry of Culture appeared in Saudi Arabia.



The official religion is Sunni Islam. The majority of the population professes Salafi. Shiites make up approximately 10-15% of the country's population and live mainly in the eastern provinces of the country (see Shiites in Saudi Arabia). The Saudi authorities allow people of other religions to enter the country, but they are forbidden to worship. For non-Muslim foreigners entering Saudi Arabia, there is a ban on visiting the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. To determine religious affiliation, a Saudi visa contains a foreigner's religion box, which allows the religious police to deploy non-Muslim foreign nationals at the entrances to holy cities.

The religious police (muttawa) operate in the country. Soldiers of the Sharia Guard constantly patrol the streets and public institutions in order to suppress attempts to violate the canons of Islam. If a violation is found, the perpetrator bears the appropriate punishment (from a fine to beheading).

Representatives of other religions also live in the country - Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Bahais. The number of Christians is estimated at 1.2 million; the largest denominations are represented by Catholics (1.05 million) and Pentecostals (83 thousand). Among the immigrants from Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Lebanon there are supporters of the ancient Eastern Orthodox churches (about 50 thousand) - Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean and Syro-Jacobite.


Women in Saudi society

Every adult woman should have a close male relative as her "guardian". The guardian makes many important decisions on behalf of the woman, such as allowing the woman to travel, holding certain types of business licenses, studying at a university or college, working (if the type of employment "seems acceptable to the woman"). Some authorities still ask for the guardian's permission even where it is not required by law. A woman cannot receive medical care without the permission of her husband or "guardian". After the case of a woman "escape" from the country, a special electronic system was developed so that a man / guardian could track the location of the woman.

Women are also discriminated against in the courts: in the Saudi Arabian legal system, the testimony of a man is equal to that of two women.[67] Men are allowed polygamy and enjoy the unilateral rule of divorce from their wives (talaq) without the need for any legal basis. A woman can only get a divorce with her husband's consent or if it is legally proven that her husband is harming her. In fact, getting a legal divorce for a Saudi woman is very difficult. As for the right of inheritance, according to the Qur'an, a certain part of the estate of the deceased must be given to the heirs. Compared to a male heir, a woman can receive only half of the property. Sunni Muslims can bequeath a third of property to non-Quranic heirs. The part of the inheritance not determined by the will is divided among the male heirs.

Cultural norms restrict a woman's behavior in public. Their observance is monitored by the religious police (mutawa). In restaurants, women are required to sit in separate, family-friendly sections. Women must wear an abaya (a long, loose-fitting dress that hides the entire figure) and cover their hair. Women have been allowed to drive since September 2017. In December 2011, Saudi Arabia's Supreme Religious Council, Majelis al-Ifta el-Aala, upheld the ban on issuing driver's licenses to women. In 2013, women were allowed to ride motorcycles and bicycles, but accompanied by a man/guardian and away from the male crowd, so as not to "cause aggression" in the latter.

Men can marry girls who have reached the age of ten. It is believed that marriage at an early age hinders women's education. With the advent of puberty, the dropout of girls in educational institutions increases as they get married. About 25% of girls who have reached college age do not attend college; in 2005-2006, the dropout rate for women was 60%. It is estimated that female literacy is approximately 70% (male - 85%).

Many citizens of Saudi Arabia want more freedom in the country, while, according to Khatoon al-Fassi[en], there is no way to establish how many women want changes in the social structure. Saudi conservatives dismiss foreign critics as "they fail to understand the uniqueness of Saudi society."

Some Saudi women have been able to rise to the top of the profession or become famous (for example, Dr. Ghada al-Mutari, head of a medical research center in California, and Dr. Salwa al-Khazaa, head of the ophthalmology department at the King Faisal Hospital in Riyadh, who was the personal ophthalmologist of the deceased King Fahd). On June 24, 2011, Saudi athletes were allowed to compete in the Olympic Games.

On September 25, 2011, after another round of municipal elections, King Abdullah announced that Saudi women should be given the right to vote and stand in municipal elections. However, in order to vote, you must obtain the permission of the guardian.

The 2010 World Economic Forum International Gender Report ranked Saudi Arabia 129th out of 134 countries for gender equality. The US State Department considers discrimination against women in Saudi Arabia to be a "substantial issue" and wants women to have some political or social rights.

In 2017, King Salman issued a decree allowing women in the country to obtain driver's licenses and drive as of 2018. In June 2018, the first driver's license in the name of a woman was issued in Saudi Arabia.

According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which published the ranking of the most dangerous countries for women in the world in 2018, Saudi Arabia ranks fifth in the list of countries with the highest number of risks for women in terms of health care, access to economic resources, ordinary life, sexual violence and human trafficking.


Armed forces

Consist of ground forces, naval forces, air forces, air defense forces, strategic missile forces and the national guard. The country is divided into 6 military regions.

224,500 people (including the national guard) serve in the ranks of the armed forces of the kingdom. The service is contractual. Foreign mercenaries are also involved in military service. The number of armed forces is constantly growing, so in 1990 they numbered only 90 thousand people. The main supplier of weapons for the kingdom is traditionally the United States (85% of all weapons). The country produces armored personnel carriers of its own design.

Saudi Arabia is among the top ten countries in terms of funding for the armed forces: the military budget takes 10-11% of GDP (the highest figure among the countries of the Persian Gulf).

Ground troops
Number: 80 thousand people in 10 brigades (including: armored, mechanized, airborne; artillery, army aviation, infantry brigade of the royal guard). Armament: 1055 tanks, 170 self-propelled guns, 238 towed guns, 60 MLRS, 2400 anti-tank systems, 9700 infantry fighting vehicles, 300 BA, 1900 air defense systems.
Saudi Arabian Navy
Number: 15.5 thousand people. It consists of the Western (in the Red Sea) and Eastern (in the Persian Gulf) fleets. It consists of 18 ships and 75 boats. There are 31 helicopters in naval aviation, including 21 combat ones. Marines. Coastal Defense Troops.
Royal Air Force
The number of 19 thousand people; armed with 293 combat aircraft, 78 helicopters.
Air Defense Forces
Number: 16 thousand people. Merged into a single system with the United States. The air defense forces consist of anti-aircraft missile systems, anti-aircraft artillery, and parts of the radio engineering troops. Air Force fighters are under the operational control of the Air Defense Forces.
Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force
Number: more than 1000 people. About 40 Chinese medium-range ballistic missiles (2000-2800 km, with a warhead weighing up to 2 tons) Dongfeng-3 (CSS-2), purchased from China in 1987, are in service, first placed at the Al Sulayul base, then also at Al-Jufair base about 90 km south of the capital.
National Guard (75 thousand people in 3 mechanized and 5 infantry brigades, as well as a ceremonial cavalry squadron; armed with artillery and infantry fighting vehicles, no tanks); The Border Guard Corps (1050 people) in peacetime is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs); Coast Guard (4.5 thousand people; has 50 patrol boats, 350 motor boats, a royal yacht); Security forces (500 people).