|Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
المملكة العربية السعودية
al-Mamlakah al-‘Arabīyah as-Su‘ūdīyah
|Motto: "لا إله إلا الله, محمد رسول الله "
"There is no god but God: Muhammad is the Messenger of God." (Shahada)
|Anthem: "as-Salām al-Malakiyy"
"Long live the King"
(and largest city)
|Demonym||Saudi Arabian, Saudi (informal)|
|-||King||Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz|
|-||Crown Prince||Nayef bin Abdul Aziz|
|Legislature||None - legislation by king's decree.|
|-||Kingdom founded||23 September 1932|
|-||Total||2,250,000 km2 (12th)
870,000 sq mi
|-||2010 estimate||27,136,977 (46th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2011 estimate|
|HDI (2011)||0.770 (high) (56th)|
|Currency||Saudi riyal (SR) (
|Time zone||AST (UTC+3)|
|-||Summer (DST)||(not observed) (UTC+3)|
|Drives on the||Right|
|Internet TLD||.sa, السعودية.|
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Arabic: المملكة العربية السعودية,al-Mamlaka al-ʻArabiyya as-Saʻūdiyya) is mostly Sunni Muslim country in the Middle East. It is a kingdom headed by the Saudi royal family, also called the House of Saud. Much of the world's crude oil supply comes from Saudi Arabia. Because of this, the Saudi royal family is very wealthy. Sunni Islam is the state religion. The Sunni interpretation of Ahmad ibn Hanbal has a big influence in the country. His school of faith is known as Hanbali today. Even though the government does not forbid practicing any religion in private, the practice of non-Islamic religions in public is forbidden.
Saudi Arabia is the largest state in western Asia by land area (most of the Arabian Peninsula) and the second-largest in the Arab World. It has an estimated population of 27 million, of which 8.8 million are registered foreign expatriates and an estimated 1.5 million are illegal immigrants. Saudi nationals comprise an estimated 16 million people.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by Abdul-Aziz bin Saud (known for most of his career as Ibn Saud) in 1932. The conquests which eventually led to the creation of the Kingdom began in 1902 when he captured Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud. The Saudi Arabian government, which is an absolute monarchy, refers to its system of government as being Islamic. It has a strong basis in Salafism, a minority school of thought in Islam. The kingdom is sometimes called "The Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca), and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi (in Medina), the two holiest places in Islam.
Saudi Arabia has the world's oil reserves and is the world's oil exporter. Oil accounts for more than 90% of exports and nearly 75% of government revenues, facilitating the creation of a welfare state. However, human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have expressed concern about the state of human rights in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has cities that are important to the Muslim religion. Many Muslims from around the world visit Mecca in Saudi Arabia to make a pilgrimage. The pilgrimage is one of the pillars of Islam. Other big cities are Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. The pilgrimage is called hajj in the Arabic language. Somebody who makes a pilgrimage to Mecca is called a hajj in the Arabic language. People who are not Muslim are not allowed to enter Mecca.
Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. The king must comply with Sharia (that is, Islamic law) and the Quran. The Quran and the Sunnah (the traditions of Muhammad) are said to be the country's constitution. No political parties or national elections are permitted.
Saudi Arabia is home to the largest mass of sand on earth, known as the Rub-al Khali desert (Rub-al Khali means "empty quarter"). The temperature is very hot. There are almost no rivers or lakes in the country. There are many wadis.
The countries of Yemen and Oman are south of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is west of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq, and Jordan. All of these countries, except Jordan and Iraq, make the Arabian Peninsula.
Animal life includes wolves, hyenas, mongooses, baboons, hares, sand rats, and jerboas. There used to be many larger animals such as gazelles, oryx, and leopards. By the 1950s hunting from motor vehicles made these animals almost extinct. Birds include falcons (which are caught and trained for hunting), eagles, hawks, vultures, sand grouse and bulbuls. There are several species of snakes, many of which are venomous, and numerous types of lizards. There is a wide variety of marine life in the Persian Gulf. Domesticated animals include camels, sheep, goats, donkeys, and chickens.
Because it is mostly a desert Saudi Arabia’s plant life is mostly small herbs and shrubs tht need little water. There are a few small areas of grass and trees in southern Asir. The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is widespread.
These are the largest cities in Saudi Arabia.
|Largest cities by population
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