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.
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.
Al Ula photo gallery  - 235 pictures of Al Ula
Shaqra photo gallery  - 57 pictures of Shaqra
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
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©Copyright Alfred Molon