KINGDOM of SAUDI ARABIA Back to: StatesLocation: bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen Capital: RiyadhArea: 2,218,000 sq kmCoastline: 2,640 kmElevation extremes:lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m highest point: Jebal Sawda' 3,133 mOfficial language: ArabicPopulation: 25,795,938Age structure: 0-14 years: 38.3% 15-64 years: 59.3 65 years and over: 2.3%Currency: Saudi RialMember: Arab League, OPEC, GCCSaudi Arabia makes up the larger part of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and the Arabian Gulf on the east, Oman and Yemen on the south, Sinai and the Red Sea on the east, Iraq and Jordan on the north. It has an area of 2,331,000sq km and a population of 17 million. Its most important cities are Mecca, Medina, Jeddah, Ta’if, Dhahran, Dammam, Bureida.In 1986, the King Saud Causeway connecting Saudi to Bahrain was opened. The climate is very hot and dry, humid along the coast, little rainfall and varying winds, called as Saba and Dabbour.Abdel Aziz bin Saud founded the Kingdom in 1926 and declared it a monarchy in 1932, comprising the provinces of Najd, Asir, Hijaz, al Ihsa’ and Tihama. More than half of Saudi Arabia is desert .The southern region of ‘Asir, near Yemen, is a fertile area of coastal mountains, with peaks at 3000m and enough rainfall to support vegetation. Asir is home to the Asir National Park.Najd is the central plateau. There are many oases in this area, the most important of which are Burayda, Unayza, al Kharj. A long narrow strip of desert, ad Dahna, separates Najd form eastern Arabia. North of Najd is a larger desert, an Nafud, and south of Najd is the largest sand desert of the world, the Rub’ al Khali (The Empty Quarter)..The northern mountain range in the Hijaz reaches a height of 2100m; its eastern slopes are marked by wadis (dry river beds) that lead the occasional rainfall down to the plains, where there is some settled agriculture. Other wadis are Wadi ad Dawasir, Rania, Nejran, ar Riqqa, as Sirhan.Saudi Arabia has the biggest water desalination plant capacity in the world, converting about 100million cubic meters of salt water into sweet water. For irrigation purposes, 9500 million cubic meters of subterranean water is extracted and used annually.Agriculture is pursued on two fronts: first is the small scale, Bedouin agriculture, the second is large scale mechanized agriculture. The second uses 95% of the subterranean water. Wheat production is very large and wheat is a major exports item. There are date palm groves in Medina, al Ihsa’, Qatif, al Hofuf and al Qaseem. Other crops are tomatoes, melon, grapes, onions potatoes, barley, citrus, figs, white corn, and sesame. Livestock are sheep, goat, cattle, and camels. Saudi Arabia has an oil-based economy; its natural resources are oil and natural gas. It is the world’s largest producer and exporter of oil and has the world’s largest oil reserves.Industry is closely tied to petroleum and natural gas production, petroleum refining and petrochemicals production. Other industrial products are cement, steel rods, dichlor ethylyn, glycol ethylyn, industrial ethanol, dichlor ethylyn, caustic soda, citric acid, melamine, oxygen.Fishing vessels are built in the many ports on the Gulf and the Red Sea. Much of the industry is part of the private sector.
Saudi Arabia is home to the most important Muslim cities including Mecca and Medina where the revelation came to Prophet Muhammed and received the Qur’an from Angel Gabriel. The Prophet spent most of his life in Mecca and Medina. He is buried in Medina.