The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been shrouded in intrigue and mystery being closed to all but religious tourists for years. But with tourist visas now available, intrepid travellers can finally explore this enigmatic country full of interesting cultural and historical sites. Here are the best places to visit in Saudi Arabia.
Mecca is the holiest place in the Islamic religion because it's the hometown of Islam's Prophet Muhammad and the place where he states that Allah revealed their holy book, the Koran, to him. Mecca has been the most important religious site for Muslims for 1,400 years. It's the destination of Muslim pilgrims from all over the world during the annual pilgrimage known as Hajj. Today, no non-Muslims are permitted to enter Mecca.
As the world's 13th largest country by area, it is no surprise that Saudia Arabia is also one of the most populous countries in the world. The city of Riyadh is the country's largest, boasting a population of over 4 million, which contributes heavily to the total population. In addition to Riyadh, there are three additional cities that have populations exceeding one million. There are also 19 cities that have over 100,000 residents, and an additional 44 that each surpass the 10,000 person milestone. These cities are spread across Saudi Arabia's 13 different regions. Each region also has a capital and governorates, which are further divided into sub-governorates. There are a total of 118 governorates in this country.
Regardless of their racial origins, the people of Saudi Arabia have two common characteristics: they speak Arabic and are of the Moslem faith. They are intensely proud people and have a deep respect for personal dignity and country, whilst their customs of generous hospitality are well known.
Are you about to begin an exciting new life in Saudi Arabia? In recent years, the country with the largest oil reserves in the world has attracted numerous multinational companies and foreign workers. Here is a useful guide to expat living in Saudi Arabia and everything you need to know about this country.