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Discover Saudi Arabia with Timothy Tye

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Meda'in Saleh, Saudi ArabiaThe ancient town of Meda'in Saleh, Saudi Arabia
photo sourcehttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Meda%27in_Saleh#mediaviewer/File:Meda'in_Saleh_(6724909647).jpg
authorshipSammy Six
photo licensing

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East. It covers 2,149,690 sq km (830,000 sq mi) and has a population of 26 million people.

Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordon to the north, Iraq to the northeast, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast, and Yemen to the south. Bahrain is linked to Saudi Arabia by the King Fahd Causeway to the east.

Main Cities of Saudi Arabia

  1. Riyadh - capital
  2. Abha
  3. Dhahran
  4. Jeddah
  5. Mecca
  6. Medina
  7. Najran
  8. Taif

Provinces of Saudi Arabia

  1. Al Bahah
  2. Al Jawf
  3. Al Madinah
  4. Al Qasim
  5. Al Riyadh
  6. Asir
  7. Eastern Province
  8. Ha'il
  9. Jizan
  10. Makkah
  11. Najran
  12. Northern Border
  13. Tabuk

World Heritage Sites of Saudi Arabia

  1. Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madâin Sâlih) (2008)
  2. At Turaif District in ad-Dir'iyah (2010)

Mecca, Saudi ArabiaMecca, Saudi Arabia, with the Masjid Al-Haram in the foreground and the Abraj Al Bait Towers under construction
photo sourcehttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Abraj_Al_Bait_Towers#mediaviewer/File:The_Holy_Mosque_in_Mecca.jpg
authorshipMeshal Obeidallah
photo licensing

Saudi Arabia is home to two of the holiest mosques in the Islamic world, namely Masjid Al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid Al-Nabawi in Medina. The country has the largest oil reserves in the world and is also the world's largest oil exporter. Revenue from oil accounts for 90% of the export of Saudi Arabia, enabling the country to create a welfare state.

Saudi Arabia has numerous sites related to the history and heritage of Islam. However, due to fear that giving reverence to historical or religious sites may lead to "shirk", or idolatry, some 95% of the historic buildings in Mecca - many over a thousand years old - have been demolished. They include numerous mosques dedicated to various historic figures in Islam.

Visitors to Saudi Arabia are reminded to dress according to the principles of hijab, the Islamic code of modesty.

The new skyline of RiyadhThe new skyline of Riyadh
photo sourcehttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Kingdom_Centre_(Riyadh)#mediaviewer/File:Riyadh_Skyline_New.jpg
authorshipmo
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Climate

Saudi Arabia is scorchingly hot in summer, which runs from May to September. During that period, temperatures may stay at 42°C, regularly exceeding 50°C, even in the shade. The coastal areas of the country is slightly less hot, moderated by the sea, and have temperatures of below 38°C.

The reverse is true of winter. Daytime temperature in Riyadh is only 7°C in December, and some places in the southern mountains may even get a bit of snow. And it does rain in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the months of April and May in most parts of the kingdom, and between May and October in the southern part of the country which receives the monsoon from the Indian Ocean.

Farasan Island, Saudi ArabiaFarasan Island, Saudi Arabia
photo sourcehttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Islands_of_Saudi_Arabia#mediaviewer/File:Farasan_Island_3.jpg
authorshipجزر فرسان. جازان - السعودية
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Planning your trip to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia imposes a very restrictive travel policy on visitors. All foreigners, except for citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council, must obtain a visa before arrival. Nationals of Israel and those with evidence of having visited Israel are denied entry. Visas are also usually not granted to women traveling unaccompanied.

By Plane
The international airports are located in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. The national airline is Saudi Arabian Airlines, or Saudia, which has a surprisingly aged fleet of aircrafts. Thankfully its safety record has remained reasonable.

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