Saudi Arabia

About Saudi Arabia

For centuries Arabia has appealed to travelers all over the world, inspired by travel reports and of course the tales of 1001 nights and the romanticism. Today’s Saudi Arabia is still a land of mystery largely due to its fundamentalist Islam state form and its rigid admission policy. Saudi Arabia is incredibly difficult to visit, there's no tourist visa in this country. Best way to get in is by invitation of a Saudi person or company, or, if you’re a Muslim, on a pilgrimage to one of the holy cities.

Even if until 20 years ago local autorities were really strict with Cristians and Jewish, nowadyas they are much more tolerant. So to carry a Bible with you shouldn't a problem anymore and women are well treated. To get more information it is strongly suggested to contact the local Saudi Embassy.

About half of Saudi Arabia consists of uninhabitable desert. Here there are no permanent rivers and lakes and the average temperature in July is about 40ºC. These unfriendly circumstances have deeply influenced the Arab way of life. Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East. The Saudi Arabian state was first established in the central region of the Arabian Peninsula in the early 18th Century, but king Abdul Aziz Bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud founded the present day state only in 1932.

Saudi Arabia is a fairly rich country, due to its vast oilfields, but this wealth is not evenly divided. The royal family effectively owns the country. There is minimal political freedom and little tolerance for opposition groups.

The country's capital is Riyadh, situated in the very interior of the country, 300 km from the Persian Gulf. It’s a modern oil booming city with lots of high rising buildings. Most interesting cities are the holy cities of Mecca and Medina . Mecca is the most holy city in Islam. The city is revered from being the first place created on earth, as well as the place where Ibrahim together with his son Isma'il, built the Ka'ba, a rectangular building made of bricks. Around the Ka'ba is the great mosque, al-Haram. Medina, once called Yathrib, was chosen as the new headquarter when the Muslim community had to flee from Mecca in 622. This city of the Prophet is also the place were Muhammad died in 632.

Both cities are strictly off limits to non-muslims. The non-muslim architect of a Mecca Hotel had to supervise construction through a telescope. Nearby Jeddah the major Red Sea port of the country can be visited and gives a unique insight in the culture and history of the West of Saudi Arabia.

The whole of the Middle East is tilted, so the southwest of Saudi Arabia has mountains as high as 3000 meters while the east has lowlands. The mountain area is the greenest and freshest climate especially compared to the deserts in the east. Extensive irrigation projects now gradualy transform these deserts into farmland, yielding dates and grains.

Now things has been changed, now you can visit Saudi Arabia easily by Trourism Visa. Tourism Visa is just being introduced by the Supreme Commission for Toursim ( www.sct.gov.sa). Tourism is widely increasing becasue of SCT measures.

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