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Arabian Oryx in Rub’ al-Khali Saudi Arabia

11 Lesser Known Facts about Saudi Arabia 

Last Updated on by Admin

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is well known for its deserts and oil exports. However, there is so much more to the country than just its desert. It is a land of culture, history, geological marvels, and fascinating urban projects.

Saudi Arabia is also the largest country in the Middle East. The Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf are the two water bodies that it shares its border with. Countries like Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) share land borders with Saudi Arabia. Did you know that the Arabian Peninsula is the world’s largest peninsula too?

The Al Saud Family is the ruling family of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The royal family is also the custodian of the two holy mosques – the Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca, and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina. King Salman bin Abdulaziz

Here are 11 Lesser Known Facts about Saudi Arabia that you should know

1. Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest airport

Photo by Official website - kfia.gov.sa King Fahd International Airport

Photo Credits: http://kfia.gov.sa

The King Fahd International Airport in Dammam City in Saudi Arabia is the largest in the world. Spanning 9,080 acres of land, the size of the airport exceeds the area of its neighboring country Bahrain.

2. The largest continuous sandy desert is in Saudi Arabia

Rub Al Khali Desert Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia

Rubʿ al-Khali, also known as the Empty Quarter, is spread across 650,000 sq. kilometers of which 80 percent lies in the southern part of Saudi Arabia. It is the largest desert in the Arabian Peninsula.

Tall dunes with up to 250 meters reign the desert and shine with reddish-orange colors due to their feldspar composition.

Apart from dunes, the desert is also popular for its shallow blue lakes.

3. There is no river system in Saudi Arabia

Wadi lajab in Jezan Province Saudi Arabia - 1

Yes, you read it right. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not have any rivers flowing throughout the country. It shares the coastline of the Red and the Arabian Gulf’s coastline and comprises a few lakes and seasonal wadis. Saudi Arabia is among those 20 countries in the world without a river.

The nation derives its water from the sea through desalination plants, wadis, and groundwater.

4. Saudi Arabia buys sand from Australia

Though the majority of the country is covered in desert sands, it remains unusable for construction purposes. Saudi Arabia imports sand from Australia to meet those needs.

5. The Arabian Oryx was once declared extinct now are found in Saudi Arabia

In 1972, the antelope Arabian Oryx became extinct in the wild. This was the result of hunting and poaching. However, with the conservation efforts by the private reserves and zoos, they were reintroduced to the wild in the 1980s.

As of 2011, their status was changed from endangered to vulnerable. About 1, 220 Arabian Oryx are left in the world, including in the Rubʿ al-Khali desert.

6. Arabic Calligraphy is a UNESCO-declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Arabic Calligraphy UNESCO

In December 2021, the historic Arabic Calligraphy was included in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural History of Humanity.

An effort of 16 countries namely – Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia, UAE, and Yemen, presented the nomination to UNESCO.

The essence of the Arabic Cultural Identity and Saudi Arabia being one of the birthplaces of Arabic Calligraphy, it originated in the 7th Century C.E.

7. Saudi Arabia has a volcanic field with ancient man-made stone gates dating back to the Neolithic period

Volcanic Crater in Harrat Khaybar of Saudi Arabia

In the Hezaz province of Saudi Arabia, there is a volcanic field named Harrat Khaybar. Its latest eruption can be traced to the 600-700 A.D.

In 2022, ‘The historic scoria cone of the Jabal Qidr’ in Harrat Khaybar, was added to the list of Geological Heritage Sites by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).

Archaeologists have also discovered more than 400 Stone Gates in Harrat Khaybar. This proves the habitation of humans from the Neolithic period.

8. The Shada Mountain in the Al-Baha region is home to prehistoric inhabited caves

Caves in Shada Mountain for tourists Saudi Arabia

Photo credits: leaders-mena.com

The word Shada means to rise and soar, thus referring to the mountains. It is located in the Al-Makhwah governorate of Saudi Arabia.

The caves in these mountains are engraved with ancient drawings and proof of habitation in the prehistoric period.

Gian granite rocks rest over the caves creating a space for habitation. The shapes vary and are unique resembling birds, animals, and whatnot. Such caves are used as houses and are now being transformed into tourist spots.

9. The village of Al Habala in Saudi Arabia can only be reached via cable cars

Al Habala Hanging Village in Saudi Arabia

Al Habala is an abandoned village in Asir, Saudi Arabia. Located about 61 km from the city of Abha, the village was built 370 years ago by the Khatani Tribe. They settled here to avoid invasions of the Ottoman Empire. It was abandoned in the year 1990s.

The tribe used rope leaders to commute before. Now, there are cable cars to visit their village. An emerging tourist spot, people can experience their cultural dances, take a tour of the village, try a cable car experience, or visit the Al Habala Park.

10. Saudi Arabia accounts for the 2nd largest world’s proven petroleum reserves

Oil was first discovered in Saudi Arabia in the Dammam Oilfield. The Ghawar Oil Field is the largest in the country. As of 2021, Saudi Arabia is the highest producer of oil with 10.8 million barrels per day.

Considering the vulnerability and sustainability of oil production, the government of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of Crowned Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Vision 2030 has been working to diversify the economy of the country with investments including tourism.

11. You must be a Muslim or become one to receive Saudi Citizenship

Non-Muslims cannot be a citizen in Saudi Arabia. Unlike Dubai in UAE, where you can become a citizen through investments, the rules in Saudi Arabia are stricter.

Summing Up

We hope these facts about Saudi Arabia related to its rich history, sand desert, mountains, the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, nomadic tribes, and natural resources gave you an idea to plan your trip to Saudi Arabia.

From having the world’s largest camel market, the largest continuous sand desert, and the largest producer of oil, Saudi Arabia’s new architectural marvels, the construction of the world’s tallest building in the world, protection of nature reserves, renovations of historical buildings and forts, and most importantly epic projects like NEOM, the Red Sea Global, and Ski resorts among others will amplify the country’s tourism and economy.

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