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Saudi Arabia Overview

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An introduction to Saudi Arabia, where Makkah and Madinah are located, is usually unnecessary to a Muslim Traveller. One of the paramount reasons for Muslims to become great travellers is their lifelong passion, enthusiasm and the obligation for journeying to perform Hajj in the Holy city of Makkah and to visit Madinah.

The Holy Ka'aba  has been a magnet for travellers and pilgrims from the time Ibrahim (Alaihis-salaam) built it along with Ismail (Alaihis-salaam). It will remain so until just before the end of this world.

Writing an overview of Saudi Arabia and in particular Makkah and Madinah, from just a traveller's perspective is not possible. They are not just cities to visit and enjoy the sights and sounds, but most importantly, places to indulge in spiritual and life changing experiences. Most places have direct relationships to the life of the holy Prophet (sallal-lahu-alaihi-wassallam), his companions, their followers and great scholars who came after them. If one intends to travel to Makkah and Madinah and other historic places in Saudi Arabia, then a serious study of the places which have been written by illustrious writers, before embarking on the journey, will help to maximize the spiritual experience.

This is just a brief overview of the main cities of Saudi Arabia.

Makkah is the holiest place in Islam. Housing the Holy Ka'aba and Masjid Al-Haram, the city is never out of the mind of a Muslim. Every year, millions of Muslims from around the world gather in this holy city to perform the annual pilgrimage, Hajj.MinaMount ArafatJabal Al ThurJabal Al NoorGhar-e-Hira and Al-Syumaisi are historic sites that hold high significance for Muslims.

The city is currently undergoing massive changes to accommodate the phenomenal growth of the pilgrims every year. This also means some historic sites may be overrun with modern structures and amenities. Hurrying to perform Hajj as soon as the means are available will help to see some of the historic sites still in existence while fulfilling the obligation.

Madinah, the second holiest city in Islam is the "City of the Prophet" (sallal-lahu-alaihi-wassallam) and is the place where the holy prophet (sallal-lahu-alaihi-wassallam) is buried. The prophet's masjid, Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, the second most important masjid in Islam, is a visual delight only second to the Ka'aba. Other important sites close to this masjid are Jannatul Baqi, the burial site for family and companions of the Prophet (sallal-lahu-alaihi-wassallam), Masjid QiblatayenMasjid Jumma andMasjid Gamama. Not far from the city is the mountain and plains of Badr and Uhud, the sites where the famous battles were fought.

Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia is the largest city in the country and also a cultural hub. The city has seen a lot of development and today is one of the most developed cities in Saudi Arabia. There are over 2,000 masaajid in Riyadh. Travellers can visit quite a few historic sites in the city like Masmak Fortress and Murabba PalaceThe National Museum is the main appeal of the city. There are a number of other museums too that travellers can visit such as the King Abdul Aziz Military MuseumRiyadh Museum of History and Archaeology and the Museum of Antiquities and Folklore. The Kingdom Centre is the tallest building in Saudi Arabia and is situated in the heart of the city. Riyadh has some exclusive shopping malls where travellers can have a great time. The main streets in the city are lined with towering shopping centres.

One of the most cosmopolitan cities of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah is a good place to visit. The Jeddah Corniche is a wonderful place around which travellers can find several souqs and the King Fahad Fountain. There are 1,300 masaajid in the city including aFloating Masjid. The ancient city of Al-Balad is worth a visit where visitors can see the Sharbatly House and the Naseef House. Jeddah has a number of museums like the Municipality MuseumJeddah Regional Museum of Archaeology and EthnographyArts Heritage Museum and the Abdul Rauf Hasan Khalil Museum. There are numerous shopping malls around the corniche.

Dammam is an important port city in Saudi Arabia.The Dammam Corniche is the main attraction in the city and extends from the Aziziah Beach to Tarot Island. The Coral Island is a wonderful place for travellers to visit. Other places worth visiting areAl Hokair Fun LakePrince Mohammed Bin Fahd Amusement ParkKing Fahd ParkCity of Gulf entertainmentArt of Time Recreational ParkPark Mount AlmreekpatZoo within Mintz and Fun CityThe Dammam National Museum,Heritage Centre Dammam and the Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography are excellent to know more about the area. Dammam too boasts of several shopping centres and souqs.

Tabuk is another city located close to the Jordanian Border. The city has a long history and some of the remains are still visible in the area. Today the city is famous for its agricultural products especially flowers like lilies, gladiola and statices.

Taif has been directly linked to the history of Islam from time of Prophet (sallallahu-alaihi-wassallam). Nestled beautifully on the eastern slopes of the Sarawat Mountains close to Makkah, it is a picturesque city in Saudi Arabia. The city is an agricultural centre and is known for grapes and honey. Taif is also popular for its holiday resorts and is a traveller's delight.

Dining in Saudi Arabia is a delight; travellers can relish leavened bread or khobz, which is eaten with all meals. Other delicacies of the region include falafel, grilled chicken, hummus, tabbouleh and shawarma. There are several coffee houses all across the countries where travellers can relax.

  • Jeddah City Overview

    One of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah is located on the coast of the Red Sea. The city has been the trading center for several centuries and today it is the commercial center of Saudi Arabia. Pilgrims to Makkah and Medina have to pass…
  • Riyadh Overview

    An oasis in the desert of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia and also the largest city and cultural hub of the country. The present day Riyadh offers an exclusive blend of tradition and contemporary facilities. The city despite seeing a lot of development has retained its…
  • Taif city overview

    Taif has been directly linked to the history of Islam from time of Prophet (sallallahu-alaihi-wassallam). Nestled beautifully on the eastern slopes of the Sarawat Mountains close to Makkah, it is a picturesque city in Saudi Arabia. The city is an agricultural center and is known for grapes and honey. Taif…
  • Dammam Overview

    An important port city of Saudi Arabia, Dammam is located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and is also the capital of the Eastern Province. The King Abdul Aziz Sea Port in the city is the largest port on the Persian Gulf. There are several government buildings in Dammam.

  • Saudi Arabia Overview

    An introduction to Saudi Arabia, where Makkah and Madinah are located, is usually unnecessary to a Muslim Traveller. One of the paramount reasons for Muslims to become great travellers is their lifelong passion, enthusiasm and the obligation for journeying to perform Hajj in the Holy city of Makkah and to visit Madinah.

  • Tabuk Overview

    The capital of the Tabuk Province in Saudi Arabia, Tabuk is located close to the Jordanian Border. The city has a long history and some of the remains are still visible in the area. Today the city is famous for its agricultural products especially flowers like lilies, gladiola and statices.…
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Saudi Arabia Info

ADMINISTRATIVE CAPITAL: Riyadh

COMMERCIAL CAPITAL: Jeddah

GEOGRAPHY

Bordering the Persain Gulf and the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia is the largest country of Arabia. It covers about 80% of the Arabian Peninsula and it is the 13th largest country of the world.

DEMOGRAPHY

A population of close to 25.7 Million. Muslims account for about 97% of the population.

CLIMATE

Extremely high day-time temperature and sharp temperature drop at night is observed. Saudi Arabia has a desert climate with an average summer temperature between 45°C to 54°C. In winter the temperature rarely drops below 0°C.

LANGUAGES SPOKEN

Arabic is the official language. English is widely used as well.

LOCAL TIME

GMT+3 hrs throughout the year

BUSINESS HOURS

Government: 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM
General: 8 AM to 6 PM
(Saturday to Wednesday are the working days of the week. Thursday & Friday are considered as weekends)

HOLIDAYS

National Day: September 23rd
Muslim Festivals (Based on the lunar calandar):
Id-ul-Fitr
Id-ul-Adha

CURRENCY

Saudi Riyal

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS

Police/ Emergencies: 999
Medical: 997
Fire: 998
Accident Service: 993

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