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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saudi Arabia

Detailed map of Saudi ArabiaThe Arabian Peninsula's largest country at 2.15 million km² and 830,000 mi², the Kingdom of SAUDI ARABIA (Al-ʿArabīyah As-Saʿūdīyah, المملكة العربية السعودية) possesses majestic skyscrapers, wealthy royalty, deserts, oases, wadis (intermittent streams), and several remarkable mountain peaks and ranges. Saudi Arabia borders Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen and is west of Bahrain, a tiny island nation comprised of 33 islands. Saudi Arabia borders two bodies of water that are vital modes of exporting oil and other goods: the Red Sea (west) and the Persian Gulf (east). Saudi Arabia's currency is the Saudi Riyal, and its ISO 4217 currency code is SAR.

 People and Places 
Saudi Arabia wavy flag — WikiProject Nuvola, in the public domainSaudi Arabia's population is approaching near 30 million, according to a 2014 estimate. The capital and largest-populated city of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh, also spelled Ar Riyād — the d typically has a cedilla (hook-shaped diacritical mark) underneath it. Riyadh has over 5 million residents and various sites of interest including the Al Faisaliyah Center, Al Bujairi Square, Al Rajhi Grand Mosque, King Abdullah Park, Kingdom Centre Tower, Masmak Citadel, National Museum, and Wadi Hanifah.

Other major cities throughout Saudi Arabia include Abhā, Ad Dammam, Al Jawf, 'Ar'ar, At Ta'if, Buraydah, Ḥā'il, Jedda, Khamis Mushayt, Najrān, Sakakah, Sarurah, and Tabūk. Due to their pilgrimage sites and reverential religious history, Mecca and Medina are known as special holy cities according to Islamic tenets. Saudi Arabia's principal languages are Standard Arabic and Najdi Spoken Arabic. According to Ethnologue (↗), other major languages communicated throughout the kingdom include Bengali, Egyptian Spoken Arabic, English, North Levantine Spoken Arabic, Rohingya, Somali, Southern Balochi, Sudanese Spoken Arabic, Swahili, Tagalog, Turkish, Urdu, and Uyghur. Over 90% of Saudi Arabians are Muslims, followed by Christians (>5%), Hindus (>1%), Buddhists (0.33%), Sikhs (0.2%), and worshippers of ethnic religions (0.18%).

 Land Features 
Standing at 3,133 meters (10,278 feet) in the Al Hijaz (Hejaz) mountain range, Jabal Sawda' is the highest point in Saudi Arabia, but not for all of the Arabian Peninsula — Jabal an Nabi Shu'ayb in Yemen takes that honor. The Rub' al Khali (Empty Quarter) is famous for being extremely arid and the largest interrupted sand desert on the globe, whereas deserts like the Sahara are somewhat divided up by mountain ranges and other features. Saudi Arabia is lacking when it comes to freshwater lakes, but there are plenty of wadis and oasis areas throughout the steamy-hot arid areas. Finally, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt is separated by about 26 kilometers and 16 miles due to the Gulf of Aqaba. The Jabal Mazafah mountain range overlooks the water body from the Saudi Arabian side.

This post was comprehensively updated with more info on July 14th, 2017.

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