Saudi Arabia Culture

Saudi Arabia Geography and Culture

Saudi Arabia, officially Arabic Al-Mamlaka al-Arabijja as-Saudijja, German Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, state in Western Asia, on the Arabian peninsula with (2018) 33.7 million residents; The capital is Riyadh.


Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy in the Middle East with the capital Riyadh. The country on the Arabian Peninsula is characterized by uninhabited sand and stone desert and a dry climate. The population, with an average age of well under 30 years, is one of the youngest in the world and over 80% lives in the few cities that are on the coast of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf except Riyadh. 30% of the population are migrant workers. The two holy places of Islam Mecca and Medina are in Saudi Arabia. Koran and Sharia form the basis for the state and legal system. The strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam characterizes society with a strong separation of the sexes in public. The extraction and processing of oil brought great wealth and made the country a leading power in the Middle East and a global economic player. Major socio-economic challenges are the strategic expansion of economic fields, the creation of jobs, especially for young people, and the modernization of society with more opportunities for women to develop. Politics are determined by the members of the Saud dynasty and families connected to it. Since 1953, the sons of the state’s founder, Ibn Saud, have been at the forefront of kings.

Country facts

  • Official name: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • License plate: KSA
  • ISO-3166: SA, SAU (682)
  • Internet
  • Currency: 1 Saudi Riyal (S. Rl.) = 100 Halalah
  • Area: 2,149,690 km²
  • Population (2018): 33.7 million
  • Capital: Riyadh
  • Official language (s): Arabic
  • Form of government: Absolute monarchy without an elected parliament
  • Administrative division: 13 regions
  • Head of State: King Salman Ibn Abd al-Asis
  • Religion (s) (2012): Muslims (85-90% Sunnis, 10-15% Shiites)
  • Time zone: Central European Time +2 hours
  • National Day: September 23

Location and infrastructure

  • Location (geographical): Arabian Peninsula
  • Position (coordinates): between 16 ° and 32 ° north latitude and 34 ° 50 ‘and 56 ° east longitude
  • Climate: Dry and hot desert climate
  • Highest mountain: Jabal as-Sawda (3133 m)
  • Road network (2006): 47 529 km (paved), 173 843 km (unpaved)
  • Railway network (2016): 5410 km


  • Annual population growth (2018): 1.63%
  • Birth rate (2018): 15.6 per 1000 inh.
  • Death rate (2018): 3.3 per 1000 residents.
  • Average age (2018): 26.4 years
  • Average life expectancy (2018): 74.8 years (women 76.9; men 72.8)
  • Age structure (2014): 27.6% younger than 15 years, 3.4% older than 65 years
  • Literacy rate (15 year olds and older) (2015): 87%
  • Mobile phone contracts (pre-paid and post-paid) (2017): 141 per 100 pop.
  • Internet users (2017): 73.8 per 100 residents.


  • GDP per capita (2017): US $ 21,120
  • Total GDP (2017): US $ 683.8 billion
  • GNI per capita (2017): US $ 20,080
  • Government spending on education (2008): 5.1% of GDP
  • Military expenditure (2017): 10.3% of GDP
  • Unemployment rate (2017): 6% (the unemployment rate among Saudi nationals is twice as high)


The majority of the population are Arabs, but only 70% of the population are citizens. Almost every third person is a guest worker from Arab countries (Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, Yemen) as well as South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) and Southeast Asia (Philippines). With an average of 15 residents / km 2, Saudi Arabia is only sparsely populated. Due to the desert nature of the country, the population is concentrated in a few urban centers (especially Riyadh and Djidda) and small areas with secure water supplies (oases). The proportion of the urban population is 84% ​​(2017), only a few are still nomadic or semi-nomadic.

According to Trackaah, the biggest cities in Saudi Arabia are listed below:

Largest cities (as of 2018)
Riad 6,907,000
Jeddah 4,433,000
Mecca 1 967 000
Medina 1,430,000
Damam 1,197,000

Social: The state’s welfare and supply concepts created an educational (schools, universities) and health infrastructure (drinking water, medical care, modern hospitals) that was largely free for users.


In pre-Islamic times, the coast of the Persian Gulf was culturally under the influence of Mesopotamia. From there and from the south, long-distance trade routes ran across the Arabian Peninsula, including the Frankincense Route from what is now Yemen to the Mediterranean. The Nabatean Empire, with its center in Petra in today’s Jordan, profited from the trade in frankincense, gold, myrrh, fabrics, art and iron goods. Evidence of their art include the more than one hundred monumental rock tombs in Mada’in Salih, the ancient Hegra.

The Arabic script developed from the Nabataean script. Only a few buildings of the Arab clay architecture have survived, for example in Najran (Asir Mountains) and in Riyadh.

Islamic art is particularly evident in mosques as well as in textile art and silver work. The central Islamic places of faith in Mecca and Medina have been redesigned and expanded since the 1950s to accommodate the huge annual streams of pilgrims.

Bedouin culture is still alive in poetry and vocal music. The two to three-week Al-Djanadriyah festival north of Riyadh offers a forum for traditional Arab culture every year. Cultural life finds narrow boundaries in the strict rules of Wahhabi Islam as well as state censorship and gender segregation. On the other hand, there is a certain degree of relaxation in the context of the “Vision 2030”. Cinemas opened again in 2018 after 35 years. There is also an active underground scene for modern rock and pop music. The most popular sport is soccer. Basketball, golf, horse and camel races are also popular. Traditional hunting with bred falcons is also practiced.

Saudi Arabia Culture

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