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25 Fascinating Facts About Saudi Arabia

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There are so many fascinating facts about Saudi Arabia! In fact, this is one of the most unique and interesting countries in the world. But what makes Saudi so interesting exactly? Read on to find out…

Facts About Saudi Arabia 

Saudi Arabia, also known as The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a country located in West Asia. It’s the largest country in the entire Middle East and holds immense significance for the Muslim community. 

You may already know the basic facts about Saudi Arabia as it’s a popular country for historical and cultural reasons. However, if you want to know some lesser-known and interesting facts about Saudi Arabia, read on!

1. Kabsa Is One of the Most Famous Dishes in Saudi Arabia

25 Fascinating Facts About Saudi Arabia

Food lovers unite! This is one of the facts about Saudi Arabia that you’re going to love. 

Every country has that one dish that is extremely popular among the natives and the non-natives. Similarly, Saudi Arabia also has Kabsa.

Kabsa is a rice and meat-based dish that originated in Yemen. However, over the years, it also became an integral part of Saudi Arabia’s cuisine. 

This dish consists of long-grain aromatic rice, like Basmati rice, and any type of meat, like chicken, goat, and lamb. It also contains flavourful spices, including cardamom, bay leaves, and cinnamon.

In the Arabian Peninsula, Kabsa is also referred to as “makbus”.

2. Saudi Arabia Has to Import Sand from Other Countries

This fact is one of the most shocking yet fascinating facts about Saudi Arabia. 

The country is 95% desert yet it has to import sand from other countries. This is because the sand found in Saudi Arabia is unfit for use in construction and for making glass. 

The desert sand found in Saudi Arabia has smooth edges which serve no purpose in building materials. On the contrary, river sand has rough edges which makes it suitable for various purposes. 

In 2021, Saudi Arabia spent around $3.73 million on importing sand from countries like Belgium ($1.06M), India ($485k), United Arab Emirates ($493k), Australia ($480k), and the USA ($390k). 

3. The Tallest Fountain Is Located in Saudi Arabia

The entire Arabian Peninsula is popular for having tall buildings, historical sites, and many more. 

Did you know that the tallest fountain in the world is also located in the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia? 

The King Fahad Fountain is 313 metres or 1024 feet high and can release water at an impressive speed of 375 km/h or 233 mph! It also has 500 striking lights around that enhance its appearance. 

Despite its grandness, the fountain was constructed in just three years (1980 – 1983) and was opened to the public in 1985. It’s more than 40 years old at this point!

4. There Are No Rivers in Saudi Arabia

There are only a few countries with no rivers. Out of these, most belong to the Arabian Peninsula, as the whole region is dry and receives less rainfall than most of the world. 

Saudi Arabia is one of the countries with no natural rivers or even lakes due to scanty rainfall.  In fact, it’s also the largest country in the world with an area of 830,000 square miles without any rivers or lakes. 

Over the years, desalination plants are responsible for providing fresh water to Saudi Arabia whereas 40% of water is sourced through groundwater.

5. Capital Punishment Is Still Prevalent in Saudi Arabia 

Let’s talk about some law-related facts about Saudi Arabia. 

Many countries have removed capital punishment or the death penalty. Still, there are countries with capital punishment, like China, Singapore, Pakistan, India, the US, and Saudi Arabia. 

Capital punishment in Saudi Arabia is either carried out through hanging or beheading. In 2022, the country executed 147 people under capital punishment for various crimes like murder, sexual offences, drug trafficking or smuggling, and even witchcraft or sorcery. 

6. Saudi Arabia Has a Lost City

25 Fascinating Facts About Saudi Arabia

If you’re a history buff, you need to know these facts about Saudi Arabia. 

There’s a lost city, named Mada’in Saleh, hidden deep within the deserts. It is Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

According to archaeologists, this city was the second capital of the Nabataean Kingdom. It is located between Petra and Madina and offers various fascinating sites. 

You can take a look at hundreds of beautiful tombs, and other graves with age-old inscriptions and cave paintings. It’s believed that the city was taken over by the Romans. 

7. Saudi Arabia is Planning to Build the Next Tallest Building in the World

Presently, the tallest building in the world is Burj Khalifa in Dubai. However, according to these facts about Saudi Arabia, it’s not going to stay that way!

Saudi Arabia is planning to build a 2-kilometre-tall skyscraper in Riyadh. This skyscraper (2000 metres) will be more than twice the height of Burj Khalifa (828 metres). 

According to Middle East Business Intelligence, the project is estimated to cost around $5 billion!

Another building taller than Burj Khalifa, with a height of 1 kilometre, is also under construction. It’s named Kingdom Tower and is located in Jeddah. 

Adrian Smith, a Chicago-based architect who constructed Burj Khalifa, is also involved in constructing the Kingdom Tower. 

8. Falconry is an Important Part of Saudi Arabia 

If there’s one skill or sport that you need to know about Saudi Arabia, it’s falconry. 

In falconry, the Arabic or the Bedouin tribe raise falcons and train them for hunting. It’s an integral part of Saudi Arabia’s culture and history as falconry is believed to be 10,000 years old!

Saudi Arabia also organises various falconry events on an international scale. 

In 2022, the International Saudi Falcons and Hunting Exhibition took place between August 25 and September 3 in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. It was the world’s largest falconry event!

9. Saudi Arabia Has the Second Largest Oil Reserves in the World 

25 Fascinating Facts About Saudi Arabia

Almost everybody knows that Saudi Arabia is rich in oil reserves. But, did you know that it has the second-largest oil reserves in the world after Venezuela? 

Saudi Arabia holds 266.5 billion barrels of crude oil reserves. It also has 17 per cent of the world’s petroleum reserves. 

The first oil field in the country was discovered in Dammam at a depth of 1,440 metres in March 1938.

10. The Biggest Airport is in Saudi Arabia 

You may be surprised to know these facts about Saudi Arabia! 

King Fahd International Airport, located in Dammam, is the largest airport in the entire world as per the Guinness Book of World Records. 

Named after the former King of Saudi Arabia, Fahd ibn Abdulaziz, this airport is one of the three primary ones in the country. 

The airport covers an area of 780 square kilometres and is the primary hub for Saudi Arabian Airlines. It is also a base for the Sama Airlines. 

Another surprising fact about this airport is that it was a US airbase during the whole period of the Gulf War.

11. Saudi Arabia Extensively Deals With Dates Production

These facts about Saudi Arabia are for those who love dates (I meant the fruit!). 

Saudi Arabia is the second-largest producer of dates right after Egypt. The country is known to produce around 1.5 million tons of dates every year. 

There are also more than 31 million palm trees in Saudi Arabia, along with 157 date factories.

12. Saudi Arabia Has the Largest Mosque in the World

25 Fascinating Facts About Saudi Arabia

During the 7th century CE, Saudi Arabia emerged as the epicentre of the origin and the spread of Islam. 

Therefore, it’s not a surprise that the country boasts many stunning and important mosques. 

The main mosque, Masjid Al Haram or ‘Great Mosque of Makkah’, is the biggest mosque in the entire world as it can hold around 2.5 million pilgrims. 

At the centre of the Great Mosque, you’ll also find ‘the holy Kaaba’, which is the most sacred site for Muslims all over the world. There’s a Zamzam water well in the mosque area which is believed to have never dried in the last 4,000 years.

13. Saudi Arabia Sees a Massive Rise in Visitors During the Hajj Season

Saudi Arabia is an important place for Muslim pilgrimage trips like Hajj and Umrah

Every year during the Hajj season that comes between the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar, Saudi Arabia sees a significant rise in visitors. 

There are over three million pilgrims that visit Mecca in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj period. Around two million pilgrims also visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah during the holy month of Ramadan.

14. Riyadh Is One of the Richest Cities in the World 

These facts about Saudi Arabia prove that the country has progressed tremendously in terms of urban growth

Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, is the 80th richest city in the entire world with 18,100 millionaires. 

As of 2021, the country also has 224,000 multimillionaires. The number is only set to increase as Saudi Arabia is increasing trading and business opportunities.   

15. There’s a Haunting Shipwreck in Saudi Arabia

If you love reading about shipwreck stories, these facts about Saudi Arabia are for you.  

The Al Fahad ship suffered engine problems in June 2004. Hence, it was abandoned in the Red Sea, just 100 kilometres South of Jeddah. Even now, you can see the rustic remains of the shipwreck. 

The Al Fahad shipwreck has become a popular diving spot for many divers today!

16. Saudi Arabia Has the Fifth Largest Desert in the World

Saudi Arabia is home to the fifth largest desert in the world and the largest desert in Asia, the Arabian Desert.

The Arabian Desert is spread across an area of 2,330,000 square kilometres. Towards its Southern end, there is Rub’ al Khali, which translates to “Empty Quarter”. 

This area is spread across 650,000 square kilometres and is one of the largest uninterrupted bodies of sand in the whole world.

17. Arabic Calligraphy Is an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Arabic calligraphy is an elegant display of Arabic script. 

Did you know that around 16 countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and many more, presented it to UNESCO? 

Therefore, Arabic Calligraphy became a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on 14th December 2021.

18. The History of Saudi Arabia

The entire region of Saudi Arabia consisted of two main kingdoms, Hejaj and Najd. 

Hejaj was the western region of present-day Saudi Arabia, including the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. 

On the other hand, Najd was the central region of present-day Saudi Arabia. It consisted of the modern-day capital, Riyadh. 

These two kingdoms were unified under the name Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on September 23, 1932, by Abdulaziz bin Saud. 

19. The First Muslim to Travel to Space Was From Saudi Arabia 

Sultan Bin Salman Al Saud from Saudi Arabia was the first Muslim to travel to space!

On June 17, 1985, Sultan Bin Salman Al Saud reached space under the mission name STS-51-G. 

20. Saudi Arabia Has a Monarchy System 

Let’s discuss some facts about Saudi Arabia related to its governance. 

Saudi Arabia follows a complete monarchy system. The King is the ruler of the country and also the commander-in-chief of the military. He also appoints a Crown Prince, who’s second in line to the throne, to help him with the governance duties. 

The King is expected to abide by the Qur’an and the Sharia law.

The Saud dynasty has been ruling Saudi Arabia since 1932. The present King of Saudi Arabia is Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud whereas the Crown Prince is Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud

Saudi Arabia has a rich cultural heritage. Therefore, it also has its own unique dance form known as the “Sword Dance” or “Ardah”

In Sword Dance, there are two rows of men standing opposite each other, with or without swords or canes in their hands. They dance rhythmically to the tunes of the drums or spoken poetry. 

25 Fascinating Facts About Saudi Arabia

22. Saudi Arabia Practiced Gender Segregation 

Many public places, restaurants, and banks had separate entry and exit doors for men and women in Saudi Arabia. 

Since 2019, the government has eased these restrictions as there’s no gender segregation in restaurants.

However, traditional Saudi families still follow the practice of men and women sitting separately in various ceremonies, like marriages or even feasts. 

23. Witchcraft Is a Serious Offence in Saudi Arabia

Harry Potter fans should stay away from these facts about Saudi Arabia! 

There are many serious offences in Saudi Arabia and witchcraft is one of them. In 2011, a woman named Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar was beheaded after she was accused of practising witchcraft and sorcery.

The government also formed an anti-witchcraft police unit in 2009 to investigate witchcraft rituals happening around the country.

They even went to the lengths of banning Harry Potter movies and series as according to the officials, they contain satanic and anti-family themes. 

Well, no entry for wizards or mudbloods in Saudi Arabia!

24. Baby Camel Meat Is a Sought-After Delicacy in Saudi Arabia

The people of Saudi Arabia are fond of goat and lamb meat. Apart from these two, they consume camel meat. 

Roasted baby camel meat is also served at weddings and other such ceremonies. 

During the visit of King Charles in 2013 to Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz served him a huge roasted baby camel meat, along with rice with aromatic spices.

25. Saudi Arabia Was the Last Nation to Allow Women to Vote

Here is another one of the major facts about Saudi Arabia. 

The country was the last nation to give women the freedom to vote. It was only in 2015 that women were allowed to vote and stand for the municipal elections under the rule of King Abdullah. 

Further Reading – Facts About Saudi Arabia

Although most of us know Saudi Arabia because of Mecca, the country has its own distinctive culture and history. 

After reading these facts about Saudi Arabia, you can also see that it has made massive strides in terms of urban development even though 95% of the country’s area is just desert!

So, I hope these facts about Saudi Arabia helped you learn more about the country. 

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