Saudi Arabia: Facts & Figures
Flag: Green background, with in white letters the Muslim creed in Arabic: “There is no god but God: Muhammad is the Messenger of God.“
Emblem: A palm tree, representing vitality and growth, and two crossed swords, symbolizing justice and strength rooted in faith.
Location: Southwest Asia, at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa; extending from the Red Sea in the west to the Arabian Gulf in the east; bordered on the north by Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait, on the south, by Yemen and Oman, and on the east by the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.
Terrain: Varied; fairly barren and harsh, with salt flats, gravel plains and sand deserts; a few man-made lakes but no permanent streams; in the south, the Rub Al-Khali (Empty Quarter), the largest sand desert in the world; in the southwest, mountain ranges of over 9,000 feet.
Climate: June through August, over 110 degrees Fahrenheit midday in the desert; humidity in coastal regions up to 100 percent; elsewhere, mild; possible winter temperatures in the northern and central regions dropping below freezing; rainfall, from none at all for up to 10 years in the Rub Al-Khali, to 20 inches a year in the mountains of Asir Province.
Religion: Islam, which is the basis of the legal system and of government.
Language: Arabic; English widely spoken in urban areas.
Population: As of 2001, 22.1 million, including about 6 million expatriates.
National Day: September 23, commemorating the foundation of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.
Rulers: King Abdulaziz bin Abdelrahman Al-Saud, the founder (1932-1963), followed by his sons: King Saud (1953-1964), King Faisal (1964-1975), King Khalid (1975-1982), King Fahd bin Abdulaziz (1923-2005) and the current ruler, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (1924-present).
Government: Islamic state based on principles prescribed by the Qur’an (Islam’s Holy Book) and the Shari’ah (Islamic law); Provincial Council System, Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura), and Council of Ministers.
|The 13 Provinces and their Capitals|
|•||Northern Border Province||Ar’ar|
|The 21 Government Ministries|
|•||Commerce and Industry|
|•||Communications and Information Technology|
|•||Culture and Information|
|•||Defense and Aviation|
|•||Economy and Planning|
|•||Health – Higher Education|
|•||Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance|
|•||Labor and Social Affairs|
|•||Municipal and Rural Affairs|
|•||Petroleum and Mineral Resources|
|•||Water and Electricity|
Affiliations: Founding member of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), United Nations, League of Arab States, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC); member of many international organizations, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and applicant for membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Telecom: Country code 966; area codes Riyadh – 1, Jeddah/Makkah/Taif – 2, Dammam/Dhahran – 3, Madinah/Tabuk/Yanbu – 4.
Time: Greenwich Mean Time plus three (GMT+3) = Eastern Standard Time plus eight (seven during Daylight Savings Time).
Calendar: Islamic (Hijrah), dating from emigration of the Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah; weekend, Thursday and Friday.
The 12 Months of the Islamic Lunar Year: Muharram, Safar, Rabi’ Al-Awal, Rabi’ Al-Akher, Jumada Al-Awal, Jumada Al-Akher, Rajab, Sha’ban, Ramadan, Shawwal. Dhu Al-Qadah , Dhu Al-Hajjah .
Holidays: closure of all offices and schools on Eid Al-Fitr, the feast of the breaking of the fast, from the evening of the last day of Ramadan through the third day of Shawwal; and Eid Al-Adha, the culmination of the Hajj, from the tenth through twelfth of Dhu Al-Hajjah.
Business: Government offices Saturday through Wednesday from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm; private businesses from 8:00 am to noon and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; general banking from 8:00 am until noon and from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm and markets and shops from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm.
Currency: Saudi Riyal (SR) pegged to U.S. dollar ($1=SR3.745); bank notes, in Arabic and English, in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 riyals; coins in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 halalahs, with 100 halalahs equal to one riyal; metric system in use.
Airline: Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA)
Resource: Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London
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- December 8, 2010 / 10:14 pm