Saudi Arabia - Guardian of the Holy Places of Islam
Al-Mamlaka al-arabia as-Saudia - the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - is known to
most people primarily as the land of oil. At the beginning of 2011, the country
produced over 9 million barrels (1 barrel = 158.987 liters) of crude oil per
day. At a price of 100 US dollars per barrel, for example, this equates to daily
income of around 900 million dollars.
Saudi Arabia is located on the Arabian Peninsula between the Red Sea and the
Persian Gulf and has an area of 2,149,690 km² only about 27 million
residents. The country is an absolutist monarchy with the strictest form
of Islam - Wahhabism - as the state religion. In the country are
with Mecca and Medina, the most important shrines of Islam, the king is why the
title Guardian carries the Holy Places.
Makkah or Mecca is the holiest place of Islam thanks to the holy mosque
Al-Masjid al-Haram with its seven minarets and the holy Ka'bah inside. The
annual pilgrimage to Makkah is one of the cornerstones (arcane) of Islam, along
with the profession of faith, giving alms, prayer (five times a day) and the
celebration of the fasting month of Ramadan. Hajj is prescribed and should at
least once in the life of a Muslim who is financially and physically able to do
The flag of Saudi Arabia dates from 1932, when Abdulasis al-Saud united the
country within the borders that still exist today. The current king, Abdullah
ibn Abd al-Asis, is the half-brother of King Fahd bin Abd al-Asis, who
died in 2005.
A particular curiosity is the fact that women are not allowed to drive in the
country and cannot travel abroad without an escort or permission. In order not
to offer even the slightest possibility for women and men to meet, dog walking
was banned in July 2008 as it can lead to undesirable contact between men and
women. The moral police control the ban and adamantly punish violations!
|Name of the country
||Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
|Form of government
||Middle East (Arabian Peninsula)
||"Aash Al Maleek" (Long Live the King)
||approx. 30 million (Credit:
Countryaah: Saudi Arabia Population)
||approx. 73% Saudis
approx. 27% foreigners
||approx. 98% Muslims (Wahhabism is the state religion)
in the Eastern Province there are approx. 10% Shiites
||The official language is Arabic.
English is also widely used as a business language
||Riyadh with approx. 7 million residents
||Jabal Sawdâ, with a height of 3,133 m.
||There are no rivers in Saudi Arabia.
|Largest lake in area
||There are no lakes in Saudi Arabia.
|International license plate
||1 Saudi Arabian riyal = 100 halalah
|Time difference to CET
||+ 2 h
|International phone code
|Mains voltage, frequency
||110/220 volts and 60 Hertz, adapter required
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)
Saudi Arabia: History
Before the year 1000
In the pre-Islamic period, the area of the Arabian Peninsula was more of a
steppe than a desert, which made nomadic grazing possible. The area is
considered the original home of the Semite language group. From there migrated
from about 2800 BC. The Akkadians (from which the Assyrians and Babylonians
descended), from 2000 BC The Eastern Semites (Amurrites or Canaanites, the
ancestors of the Hebrews) and from 1400 BC The Arameans to the north.
From the year 1000 to the 17th century
Abbreviationfinder website, in the period that followed, Bedouin tribes (desert nomads) established
various Arab kingdoms. These include the Nabataeans from northwestern Arabia,
the Ghassanids, who migrated north from southern Arabia in the 3rd century and
became vassals of the Byzantine province of Syria in the 6th century, the
Lachmids, whose north Arab empire also expanded between the years 500 and 600
Parts of central Arabia included and the Kinda, who emigrated from the south in
the 5th century and founded an important tribal federation in central Arabia in
the 6th century.
Even then, important trade caravans were moving from south to north towards
Syria and Mesopotamia, mainly transporting frankincense, myrrh and spices.
The Prophet Muhammad founded Islam in the 7th century. This enabled him to
achieve the unification of the Arab tribes between 622 and 632 and trigger a
wave of spreading Islam that was successfully continued by his successors. In
the course of these conquests, the Arab Empire expanded by the 8th century, from
Andalusia to India and Central Asia. After the capital was moved to Damascus or
Baghdad, however, Arabia lost its importance again. Only Mecca and Medina in
Hejaz continued to be the central shrines of the Islamic world.
In the 18th and 19th centuries
In 1745, the Imam Mohammed bin Saud began expanding his sheikdom, which was
located in the Diriya oasis near Riyadh. He allied himself with the religious
reformer Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul-Wahhab, the founder of Wahhabism, a pietist
movement in Sunni Islam. By uniting the Bedouin tribes, both managed to take
control of the central part of the country and the eastern province on the
Arabian Gulf by the end of the 18th century. In 1803 they took the Holy City
In 1817, Egyptian troops under the Ottoman viceroy Muhammad Ali conquered the
first Saudi state and destroyed Diriya.
Only seven years later, however, they were expelled from Riyadh by the Bedouins
under the son of Imam Mohammed bin Saud, Turki bin Abdullah bin Saud. In the
period that followed, the Saudis succeeded in regaining a large part of their
former areas of power. In 1891, the Al-Rashîd tribe from Hail, subordinate to
the Ottomans, came to power and drove the Al-Saud family away, who fled to
In the 20th century
In 1902, the then 21-year-old Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Saud ("Ibn Saud")
recaptured the fortress of Riyadh and, with the help of Wahhabi fundamentalism,
began his jihad campaigns to regain the empire of his ancestors. In 1925 he
defeated the Hashemite dynasty, whose ancestral kingdom Hejaz included the holy
cities of Mecca and Medina. On September 23, 1932, "Ibn Saud" proclaimed the
"Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" within its present borders.
During the Second World War, the king permitted the establishment of a US air
force base on Saudi Arabian territory. In 1945 the Arab League was founded. As a
member, Saudi Arabia took part in the Palestine War in 1948, which was supposed
to prevent the establishment of the State of Israel. During this time the
country became the most important oil supplier in the world. Most of the nomadic
population until then became settled.
King "Ibn Saud" died in 1953 at the age of 73 and his sons successively
King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud (1953-1964)
King Faisal bin Abdulaziz (1964-1975)
King Khaled bin Abdulaziz (1975-1982)
King Fahd bin Abdulaziz (1982-2005)
King Abdallah bin Abdulaziz (since August 1, 2005).
In 1960, Saudi Arabia was one of the founding states of OPEC. In 1963 slavery
was abolished. Instead, the country took in guest workers from South Asia and
Africa, who have retained their important role in the economy to this
day. During the 1960s and 1970s there were repeated border disputes with Yemen,
which were ended by a peace treaty in 1976.
In the 1st Gulf War, Saudi Arabia allied itself with the USA and bore almost 40%
of the war costs. The stationing of American troops in the country, however, led
to increasing resistance by fundamentalist circles against the royal family, as
a result of which there were also terrorist attacks on Western institutions. The
government responded with increasing pressure on the opposition.
After the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001,
it emerged that 15 of the 19 attackers were Saudi nationals. This led to a
significant cooling of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the USA.
During the 2nd Gulf War, in 2003, the US was denied the use of its military
bases located on Saudi territory, so that the headquarters of the US troops were
relocated to Qatar.