With an area of 2149690 km² Saudi Arabia is the largest country in western Asia and the Middle East. It covers most of the Arabian peninsula and borders Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait in the north and Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Oman and Yemen in the east and south. Most of the country consists of dry desert. The only area receiving significant rainfall is the moiuntain area in the southwest between Taif and Najran, where due to the high mountain range and seasonal monsoon there is sufficient rainfall for forest areas.
Most of Saudi Arabia is relatively flat, except the north and the west, where there are mountain ranges with peaks above 3000m asl. The Rub' al Khali in the southeast is the world's largest contiguous sand desert with an area of 647500 km².
Saudi Arabia is where Islam originated and home to Mecca and Medina, the holiest sites of Islam.
The country has a population of 38 million inhabitants, with a very large share of non-nationalized immigrants. Mainly due to the oil wealth its GDP per capita is very high and the infrastructure is good (good network of long distance roads).
Saudi Arabia has only recently opened up for non-Muslim tourists. At this stage infrastructure for tourists is still being developed and many historic sites are not open for tourists.
How to get to Saudi Arabia
The main entry point into the country is the airport of Riad, but also Jeddah has an airport with international flights.
Accommodation
In most places there are hotels bookable with the international booking portals. The standard is quite good, although English is not widely spoken in the country.
Riyadh photo gallery  - 55 pictures of Riyadh
Al Ula photo gallery  - 235 pictures of Al Ula
Shaqra photo gallery  - 57 pictures of Shaqra
Medina photo gallery  - 79 pictures of Medina
Rijal Almaa photo gallery  - 36 pictures of Rijal Almaa
55 photos of Riyadh, the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia
235 photos of Al Ula, a historic site in northwestern Saudi Arabia with ruins from the Nabatean and Dedanite periods
57 photos of town of Shaqra, which has one of the nicer historic centres in the region north of Riyadh
79 photos of Medina, the second holiest city in Islam after Mecca
36 photos of Rijal Almaa, a picturesque village in the mountains of southern Arabia
Taif photo gallery  - 20 pictures of Taif
Thee Ain photo gallery  - 25 pictures of Thee Ain
Jeddah photo gallery  - 62 pictures of Jeddah
20 photos of the mountain city of Taif, known as the city of the roses and summer capital of Saudi Arabia
25 photos of the picturesque village of Thee Ain in the mountains south of Al Bahah
62 photos of Jeddah, a major Saudi city along the Red Sea coast
Jabal Shada photo gallery  - 40 pictures of Jabal Shada
Ha'il photo gallery  - 53 pictures of Ha'il
Jubbah archaeological site photo gallery  - 49 pictures of Jubbah archaeological site
Al Ghat photo gallery  - 16 pictures of Al Ghat
40 photos of the Jabal Shada mountain area near Al Bahah in the Asir mountain range
53 photos of Ha'il, a city in the Nafud desert of northwestern Saudi Arabia
49 photos of the archaeological site of Jubbah with a collection of petroglyphs and rock carvings
16 photos of the heritage village of Al-Ghat
Fayd photo gallery  - 18 pictures of Fayd
Ushaiger photo gallery  - 23 pictures of Ushaiger
Najran photo gallery  - 44 pictures of Najran
18 photos of the archaological site of Fayd
23 photos of the heritage village of Ushaiger, 200km northwest of Riyadh
44 photos of Najran, a city in southern Saudi Arabia not far from Yemen, with a significant historical heritage
Tharmida photo gallery  - 19 pictures of Tharmida
Al Qasab photo gallery  - 16 pictures of Al Qasab
19 photos of the Tharmida oasis fort, a well restored 18th century fort northwest of Riyadh
16 photos of Al Qasab, a small traditional village in the Najd region 160km northwest of Riyadh
Nafud desert photo gallery  - 17 pictures of Nafud desert
Abha photo gallery  - 35 pictures of Abha
Al Souda photo gallery  - 26 pictures of Al Souda
17 photos of the Nafud desert, a sand desert northwest of Riyadh
35 photos of Abha, the capital city of the Asir region in the south of Saudi Arabia
26 photos of the Al Souda mountain area in the Asir mountain range in the south of Saudi Arabia
Sarawat mountains: Al Malad to Al Namas photo gallery  - 64 pictures of Sarawat mountains: Al Malad to Al Namas
Asir region south of Abha photo gallery  - 66 pictures of Asir region south of Abha
64 photos of the Sarawat mountains between Al Bahah and Abha, an area with many heritage villages and forts
66 photos of the Asir province, a mountain region in the southwest with many heritage villages
Hijaz mountains photo gallery  - 21 pictures of Hijaz mountains
21 photos of the Hijaz mountains between Jeddah and Taif, along the western coast of Saudi Arabia
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©Copyright Alfred Molon