Saudi Arabia is the place where you can still find the mystifying Nomadic Bedouins racing on horse and camelback across the deserts. This Middle East country is also home to two holiest cites of Islam, Mecca and Medina. Saudi Arabia is spread over an area of 2,217,949 square kilometres, which is more than half of the Arabian Peninsula. An overwhelming majority of the population are Arabs who adhere to the Wahhabi sect of Islam and Arabic is the official language of the country. Saudi Arabia, officially Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, shares its borders with Jordan on the north, Iraq on the north and northeast, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates on the east, Oman on the south and southeast and Yemen on the south. The maritime boundaries of the country include Persian Gulf to its northeast and the Red Sea to its west. Riyadh is the capital city of Saudi Arabia. Moreover, Jedda the principal port by Red Sea, Taif, Jubail and Yanbu are other important cities of the country. Every year, millions of Muslim pilgrims come from all over the world to Saudi Arabia and this holy trip is known as Haj. Outstanding craftsmanship on precious metals, poetic tradition of the Bedouins, generosity, hospitality and courage are the highlights of the Saudi Arabian culture.
The terrain of Saudi Arabia is monotonous with thousands of miles of sandy surface. Due to such desert-like geographical conditions and lack of proper rainfall, less than 2% of the country surface area is arable and most of the population is concentrated by the eastern and western coastal areas. The topography of Saudi Arabia can be divided into five major physical regions: the Hejaz and Asir, along the Red Sea where the mountains rise from an arid coastal plain; the Najd, a vast, barren plateau in the centre; the oil-rich eastern coastal areas by the Persian Gulf, the desert of An Nafud in the north and the entire south and southeast is covered with sands of the great Rub al-Khali desert. The climate of Saudi Arabia is usually hot and dry, although the humidity along the coasts is high. There are no permanent rivers or bodies of water in Saudi Arabia and water scarcity is a major problem in the country.
The present day Saudi Arabia was inhabited by nomadic Semitic tribes thousands of years of years ago. It was also the birth Place of Prophet Muhammad (AD 570) and remained the centre of Islamic faith. Infighting among the tribes, different royal lineages and foreign invasions like the Ottomans created a haphazard historical timeline for Saudi Arabia. Modern Saudi Arabia owes much of its existence to Muhammad bin Saud, an adherent of the reformist Wahhabi Muslim sect, who for the first time tried to unify the disintegrated nation. Beginning in 1902, he gradually conquered the Najd, Al-Ahasa, Al-Qatif and Hejaz regions, and by 1932 he proclaimed himself as king of a united Saudi Arabia. Oil was discovered in 1936. In 1992 King Fahd decreed a new constitution.
Saudi Arabia’s economy is based on oil that is being produced commercially from 1938. The government has strong control over its processing and production and the nation is the leading member of the OPEC.
Saudi Arabia is governed under absolute monarchy despite the presence of a constitution. The legal system is based on the Islamic law or Sharia. To handle daily affairs, there is a Council Of Ministers consisting of prime minister, two deputy prime ministers and another 20 ministers, most of them are Royal family members. The Supreme Council of Justice takes care of the judiciary.