Facts & Figures


This page provides a brief introduction to various aspects of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Contents:
Flag  •  Emblem •  Location •  Terrain  •  Climate  • Population  •  Religion  •  Language  •  National Day •  Rulers  •  Government  •   Ministries  •  Provinces  •  Affiliations  •  Telecom  •  Time  •  Calendar •  Holidays  •  Business  •  Currency  •  Travel  •  Airline  •  Hotels


Flag
green background, with in white letters the Muslim creed in Arabic: "There is no god but God: Muhammad is the Messenger of God."


Emblem    
a date palm, representing vitality and growth, and two crossed swords, symbolizing justice and strength rooted in faith.

Location
southwest Asia, at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa; extending from the Red Sea in the west to the Arabian Gulf in the east; bordered on the north by Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait, on the south, by Yemen and Oman, and on the east by the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.

Terrain
varied; fairly barren and harsh, with salt flats, gravel plains and sand deserts; a few man-made lakes but no permanent streams; in the south, the Rub Al-Khali (Empty Quarter), the largest sand desert in the world; in the southwest, mountain ranges of over 9,000 feet.

Climate
June through August, over 110 degrees Fahrenheit midday in the desert; humidity in coastal regions up to 100 percent; elsewhere, mild; possible winter temperatures in the northern and central regions dropping below freezing; rainfall, from none at all for up to 10 years in the Rub Al-Khali, to 20 inches a year in the mountains of Asir Province.

Population
27 million, including nearly 8.5 million expatriates (2010 census).

Religion
Islam, which is the basis of the legal system and of government.
 
Language
Arabic;  English widely spoken in urban areas.

National Day
September 23, commemorating the foundation of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.

Rulers
King Abdulaziz bin Abdelrahman Al-Saud, the founder (1932-1963), followed by his sons: King Saud (1953-64), King Faisal (1964-75), King Khalid (1975-82), King Fahd (1982-2005) and the current ruler, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, seen on the left with the late King Fahd and the late Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz.

Government
Islamic state based on principles prescribed by the Qur'an (Islam's Holy Book) and the Shari'ah (Islamic law); Provincial Council System, Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura), and Council of Ministers.

The 24 government ministries:

  • Agriculture
  • Civil Service
  • Commerce and Industry
  • Communications and Information Technology
  • Culture and Information
  • Defense
  • Economy and Planning
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Hajj (Pilgrimage)
  • Health
  • Higher Education
  • Housing
  • Interior
  • Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance
  • Justice
  • Labor
  • Municipal and Rural Affairs
  • National Guard
  • Petroleum and Minerals Resources
  • Social Affairs
  • Transport
  • Water and Electricity

 


The 13 provinces and their capitals:

Riyadh Province
Riyadh
Makkah Province
Makkah
Madinah Province
Madinah
Qasim Province
Buraidah
Eastern Province
Dammam
Asir Province
Abha
Tabuk Province
Tabuk
Hail Province
Hail
Northern Border Province
Ar'ar
Jizan Province
Jizan
Najran Province
Najran
Baha Province
Baha
Jouf Province
Sakakah

Affiliations
founding member of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), United Nations, League of Arab States, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC); member of many international organizations, including the World Bank , the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization (WTO); and signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Telecom
country code 966; area codes Riyadh - 11, Jeddah/Makkah/Taif - 12, Eastern Province (Dammam/Dhahran) - 13, Madinah/Tabuk/Jawf/Northern Borders - 14, Qasim/Hail - 16, Asir/Jizan/ Najran/Bahah - 17

Time
Greenwich Mean Time plus three (GMT+3) = Eastern Standard Time plus eight (seven during Daylight Savings Time).

Calendar
Islamic (Hijrah), dating from emigration of the Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah; weekend, Friday and Saturday.

The 12 months of the Islamic lunar year
Muharram, Safar, Rabi' Al-Awal, Rabi' Al-Akher, Jumada  Al-Awal, Jumada  Al-Akher, Rajab, Sha'ban, Ramadan, Shawwal. Dhu Al-Qadah , Dhu Al-Hajjah .

Holidays
closure of all offices and schools on Eid Al-Fitr, the feast of the breaking of the fast, from the evening of the twenty-fifth day of Ramadan through the fifth day of Shawwal; Eid Al-Adha, the culmination of the Hajj, from the fifth through fifteenth day of Dhu Al-Hajjah; and September 23, National Day.

Business
Government offices Sunday through Thursday from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm; private businesses from 8:00 am to noon and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; general banking from 8:00 am until noon and from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm and markets and shops from 8:00 am until 10:00 pm.

Currency
Saudi Riyal (SR) pegged to U.S. dollar ($1=SR3.745); bank notes, in Arabic and English, in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 riyals; coins in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 halalahs, with 100 halalahs equal to one riyal; metric system in use.

Travel notes
Entry visas required. In the United States of America, visa section at Embassy: 601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20037, (202) 342-3800; consulates in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and New York.

Airline
Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA), from New York and Washington, DC.  For reservations, 1-800-4SAUDIA or www.saudiairlines.com.

Hotels
Range from world-class international hotels to basic accommodations.