Fascinating Facts about Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is an Arab country located in Western Asia. The country makes up most of the Arabian Peninsula. With an area of 830,000 square miles, this country is the fifth largest in Asia, and the second largest Arab country, falling second only to Algeria. The country has a population estimated to be 33 million, making it the 40th largest country in the world based on population. Saudi Arabia’s primary ethnic group is Arab, and the main religion is Sunni Islam. The government is a Unitary Islamic absolute monarchy with a king, crown prince, and deputy crown prince. The country’s currency is the Riyal. The Saudi Arabian flag is made in the colors of green and white.

Saudi Arabia Facts

1
The GDP of Saudi Arabia is $646 billion.
2
The nominal GDP per capita is $54,100, according to estimates from 2016.
3
Almost half of the country’s GDP comes from oil.
4
Approximately 22% of the world’s oil reserves are located in Saudi Arabia.
5
In addition to oil, Saudi Arabia has the sixth-largest gas reserves in the entire world.
6
Roughly 100 camels are sold each day in this country.
7
Ninety-five percent of the country is classified as a desert or semi-desert.
8
Less than 2% of the land in Saudi Arabia is arable.
9
There are no rivers located in Saudi Arabia. It is the largest country in the world that does not have a river.
10
About half of the population is under the age of 24.
11
Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest rates of females in the workplace in the world. Just 20% of females are in the workforce.
12
Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. It is the only country in the world that has made it illegal for women to obtain a license to operate a car.
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Other things that women can’t do? Open bank accounts, travel, work, or go to school without permission from their male guardian.
14
Almost 60% of the laborers in Saudi Arabia are foreigners. This is especially true in the service and oil sectors.
15
Mecca and Medina, located in Saudi Arabia, are considered to be Islam’s holiest places. Non-Muslims are not allowed to step foot on these sacred grounds.
16
Homosexuals can be put to death in the country.
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Other crimes that are punishable by death? Murder, armed robbery, drug use, adultery, and witchcraft.
18
Beheading, stoning, and death by firing squad are all ways that Saudis use to punish people for crimes. A crucifixion typically follows.
19
Harry Potter books are banned in Saudi Arabia because they talk about sorcery.
20
Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia.
21
Ninety-nine percent of Saudis practice Islam.
22
During the country’s “salat” prayer, stores must remain closed until the prayer concludes. Patrons may remain in the store during the duration of the prayer but cannot shop.
23
A dance called the “al Ardah” is performed for many different occasions. It was originally performed by the Shammar tribe before going to war.
24
Traditional clothing for men is the thobe. Women wear what is called the abaaya.
25
Winds from the north called shamal can blow for days at a time and can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour.
26
Bedoins, or desert dwellers, can be found in Saudi Arabia. These nomads roam the desert and typically herd animals including goats and camels.
27
Falconry is a traditional sport that is practiced in Saudi Arabia.
28
While cell phones have made it easier to snap photos easily, a camera should never be pointed at a woman in Saudi Arabia. It is also considered rude to take a picture of a male without first asking permission.
29
The country is building the world’s tallest building. Jeddah Tower will be 3,280 feet tall and is expected to be completed in 2018.
30
Performing Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and requires traveling to Mecca. Approximately two million people make the trip annually.
31
Saudi Arabia began to build a fence along its border due to unrest in Yemen.
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The country is also constructing a fence along its border with Iraq to keep out members of ISIS.
33
Saudi Arabia was one of the founding members of OPEC.
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The country bans any type of public religious worship from anyone that is not Muslim.
35
The consumption of alcohol is illegal and can result in harsh punishments if the law is broken.
36
Education, including college and post-graduate schooling, is free in Saudi Arabia.
37
Students in Saudi Arabia attend school from October through July.
38
Sheep are raised for meat, wool, and milk. Goats are also raised for milk, and their hair is used for rugs and tents.
39
The left hand is considered unclean, so shaking hands or accepting something from another individual must always be done with the right hand.
40
Showing the soles of your shoes or your feet is considered highly disrespectful in this country.
41
Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia.
42
With a size of 830,000 square miles, Saudi Arabia is the 13th largest country in the world.
43
At almost 10,000 feet above sea level, Jabal Sawda is the highest point in Saudi Arabia.
44
Saudi Arabia is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
45
Saudi Arabia’s king has the official title of “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.”
46
One thing that Saudis do for fun is to tilt a vehicle while driving, while another person stands on top of the vehicle as it is in motion. This is called Sidewalk Skiing.
47
Saudi Arabia’s royal family is worth $14 trillion.
48
The city of Mina contains 100,000 tents that are made of fire-retardant materials and are equipped with kitchens, bathrooms, and air conditioning.
49
Beef isn’t part of most Saudi’s diets. In fact, traditional Saudis prefer to consume camel.
50
Though the country is mainly known for exporting oil, it has been diversifying its manufacturing sector, producing concrete, steel, auto parts, and building materials.

Saudi Arabia's dry, arid climate and deserts and semi-deserts make it a very unique country. Although its laws and government are very different from other parts of the world, this country's citizens have a rich culture, a deep heritage, and a commitment to their religion that is seldom seen in other countries around the world.

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