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Saudi Arabia Population - History

Saudi Arabia Population - History




country comparison to the world: 43
note: includes 5,576,076 non-nationals (July 2009 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 38% (male 5,557,453/female 5,340,614)
15-64 years: 59.5% (male 9,608,032/female 7,473,543)
65 years and over: 2.5% (male 363,241/female 343,750) (2009 est.)

Median age:

total: 21.6 years
male: 22.9 years
female: 19.9 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.848% (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Birth rate:

28.55 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 52

Death rate:

2.47 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 219

Net migration rate:

-7.6 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 174


urban population: 82% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.5% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.29 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 1.06 male(s)/female
total population: 1.18 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 11.57 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 148
male: 13.15 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.3 years
country comparison to the world: 69
male: 74.23 years
female: 78.48 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate:

3.83 children born/woman (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.01% (2001 est.)

country comparison to the world: 169

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:


HIV/AIDS - deaths:



noun: Saudi(s)
adjective: Saudi or Saudi Arabian

Ethnic groups:

Arab 90%, Afro-Asian 10%


Muslim 100%




definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 78.8%
male: 84.7%
female: 70.8% (2003 est.)

Education expenditures:

6.8% of GDP (2004)

country comparison to the world: 28

Most Saudis are ethnically Arab. Some are of mixed ethnic origin and are descended from Turks, Iranians, Indonesians, Indians, Africans, and others, most of whom immigrated as pilgrims and reside in the Hijaz region along the Red Sea coast. Many Arabs from nearby countries are employed in the kingdom. There also are significant numbers of expatriate workers from North America, South Asia, Europe, and East Asia.

Religion of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam, and most of its natives are adherents of the majority Sunni branch. In modern times, the Wahhābī interpretation of Sunni Islam has been especially influential, and Muslim scholars espousing that sect’s views have been a major social and political force. Wahhābism, as it is called in the West (members refer to themselves as muwaḥḥidūn, “unitarians”), is a strict interpretation of the Ḥanbalī school of Islamic jurisprudence and is named for Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (1703–92), a religious scholar whose alliance with Ibn Saud led to the establishment of the first Saʿūdī state.

The current government of Saudi Arabia (i.e., the Saʿūd family) has largely relied on religion—including its close and continuing ties to Wahhābism and its status as the custodian of Mecca and Medina, the two holy cities of Islam—to establish its political legitimacy. The king is supposed to uphold Islam and apply its precepts and, in turn, is subject to its constraints. But at times he and the royal family have come under criticism for failing to do so.

Shiʿis, adherents of the second major branch of Islam, make up a small portion of the population and are found mostly in the oases of Al-Hasa and Al-Qaṭīf in the eastern part of the country. Most are Twelver, although there remain small numbers of Ismāʿīlīs. The only Christians are foreign workers and businessmen. The country’s once small Jewish population is now apparently extinct. Other religions are practiced among foreign workers. Public worship and display by non-Muslim faiths is prohibited. Public displays by non-Wahhābī Muslim groups, including by other Sunni sects, have been limited and even banned by the government. Sufism, for instance, is not openly practiced, nor is celebration of the Prophet’s birthday (mawlid). The Shiʿah have suffered the greatest persecution.

Saudi Arabia Population - History

The 2019 population density in Saudi Arabia is 16 people per Km 2 (41 people per mi 2 ), calculated on a total land area of 2,149,690 Km2 (830,000 sq. miles).

Largest Cities in Saudi Arabia

1 Riyadh 4,205,961
2 Jeddah 2,867,446
3 Mecca 1,323,624
4 Medina 1,300,000
5 Sultanah 946,697
6 Dammam 768,602
7 Ta'if 530,848
8 Tabuk 455,450
9 Al Kharj 425,300
10 Buraydah 391,336
11 Khamis Mushait 387,553
12 Al Hufuf 293,179
13 Al Mubarraz 290,802
14 Hafar Al-Batin 271,642
15 Ha'il 267,005
16 Najran 258,573
17 Al Jubayl 237,274
18 Abha 210,886
19 Yanbu 200,161

See also



Population Pyramid

A Population pyramid (also called "Age-Sex Pyramid") is a graphical representation of the age and sex of a population.

  • Expansive - pyramid with a wide base (larger percentage of people in younger age groups, indicating high birth rates and high fertility rates) and narrow top (high death rate and lower life expectancies). It suggests a growing population. Example: Nigera Population Pyramid
  • Constrictive - pyramid with a narrow base (lower percentage of younger people, indicating declining birth rates with each succeeding age group getting smaller than the previous one). Example: United States
  • Stationary - with a somewhat equal proportion of the population in each age group. The population is stable, neither increasing nor decreasing.

Dependency Ratio

There are three types of age dependency ratio: Youth, Elderly, and Total. All three ratios are commonly multiplied by 100.

Youth Dependency Ratio
Definition: population ages 0-15 divided by the population ages 16-64.
Formula: ([Population ages 0-15] ÷ [Population ages 16-64]) × 100

Elderly dependency ratio
Definition: population ages 65-plus divided by the population ages 16-64.
Formula: ([Population ages 65-plus] ÷ [Population ages 16-64]) × 100

Total dependency ratio
Definition: sum of the youth and old-age ratios.
Formula: (([Population ages 0-15] + [Population ages 65-plus]) ÷ [Population ages 16-64]) × 100

NOTE: Dependency Ratio does not take into account labor force participation rates by age group. Some portion of the population counted as "working age" may actually be unemployed or not in the labor force whereas some portion of the "dependent" population may be employed and not necessarily economically dependent.

Drainage and soils

There are virtually no permanent surface streams in the country, but wadis are numerous. Those leading to the Red Sea are short and steep, though one unusually long extension is made by Wadi Al-Ḥamḍ, which rises near Medina and flows inland to the northwest for 100 miles (160 km) before turning westward those draining eastward are longer and more developed except in Al-Nafūd and the Rubʿ al-Khali. Soils are poorly developed. Large areas are covered with pebbles of varying sizes. Alluvial deposits are found in wadis, basins, and oases. Salt flats are especially common in the east.


There are at least two explanations for the etymology of the name Jeddah, according to Jeddah Ibn Al-Qudaa'iy, the chief of the Quda'a clan. The more common account has it that the name is derived from جدة Jaddah, the Arabic word for "grandmother". According to eastern folk belief, the Tomb of Eve, considered the grandmother of humanity, is located in Jeddah. [7] The tomb was sealed with concrete by religious authorities in 1975 due to some Muslims praying at the site. [ citation needed ]

The Berber traveler Ibn Battuta visited Jeddah during his world trip in around 1330. He wrote the name of the city into his diary as "Jiddah". [8]

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other branches of the British government formerly used the older spelling of "Jedda", contrary to other English-speaking usages, but in 2007, it changed to the spelling "Jeddah". [9]

T. E. Lawrence felt that any transcription of Arabic names into English was arbitrary. In his book, Revolt in the Desert, Jeddah is spelled in three different ways on the first page alone. [10]

On official Saudi maps and documents, the city name is transcribed "Jeddah", which is now the prevailing usage.

Pre-Islam Edit

Traces of early activity in the area are testified by some Thamudi scripts that were excavated in Wadi Briman ( وادي بريمان ), east of the city, and Wadi Boweb ( وادي بويب ), northwest of the city. The oldest Mashrabiya found in Jeddah dates back to the pre-Islamic era [ citation needed ] .

Some believe that Jeddah had been inhabited before Alexander the Great, who had a naval expedition to the Red Sea, by fishermen in the Red Sea, who considered it a center from which they sailed out into the sea as well as a place for relaxation and well-being. [11] According to the Ministry of Hajj, Jeddah has been settled for more than 2500 years. [12]

Excavations in the old city have been interpreted as that Jeddah was founded as a fishing hamlet by the Yemeni Quda'a tribe (Arabic: بني قضاعة ‎), who left central Yemen to settle in Makkah after the collapse of Sad (dam) Marib Dam in Yemen in 115 BC. [13]

Under the Caliphates Edit

Jeddah first achieved prominence around AD 647, when the third Muslim Caliph, Uthman Ibn Affan, turned it into a port making it the port of Makkah instead of Al Shoaib port southwest of Mecca. [14]

The Umayyads inherited the entire Rashidun Caliphate including Hejaz and ruled from 661AD to 750AD. In AD 702 Jeddah was briefly occupied by pirates from the Kingdom of Axum. [15] However, Jeddah remained a key civilian harbor, serving fishermen and pilgrims travelling by sea for the Hajj. It is also believed that Sharifdom of Mecca, an honorary Viceroy to the holy land, was first appointed in this period of the Islamic Caliphate [ citation needed ] . Jeddah has been established as the main city of the historic Hijaz province and a historic port for pilgrims arriving by sea to perform their Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.

In 750, in the Abbasid Revolution, the Abbasids successfully took control of almost the whole Umayyad Empire, excluding Morocco (Maghrib) and Spain (Al-Andalus). From 876, Jeddah and the surrounding area became the object of wars between the Abbasids and the Tulunids of Egypt, who at one point gained control of the emirates of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Hejaz. The power struggle between the Tulunid Governors and the Abbasids over Hejaz lasted for nearly 25 years, until the Tulunids finally withdrew from Arabia in 900 AD.

In 930 AD, the main Hejazi cities of Medina, Mecca and Taif were heavily sacked by the Qarmatians. It is probable, though not historically confirmed, that Jeddah itself was attacked by Qarmatians.

Soon after, in early 935, the Ikhshidids, the new power in Egypt, took control of the Hejaz region. There are no historical records that detail the Ikhshidid rule of Hejaz. At this point in time, Jeddah was still unfortified and without walls.

The Fatimids, Ayyubids, and Mamluks Edit

In 969 AD, the Fatimids from Algeria took control in Egypt from the Ikhshidid Governors of Abbasids and expanded their empire to the surrounding regions, including The Hijaz and Jeddah. The Fatimids developed an extensive trade network in both the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean through the Red Sea. Their trade and diplomatic ties extended all the way to China and its Song Dynasty, which eventually determined the economic course of Tihamah during the High Middle Ages.

After Saladin's conquest of Jerusalem, in 1171 he proclaimed himself sultan of Egypt, after dissolving the Fatimid Caliphate upon the death of al-Adid, thus establishing the Ayyubid dynasty. Ayyubid conquests in Hejaz included Jeddah, which joined the Ayyubid Empire in 1177 during the leadership of Sharif Ibn Abul-Hashim Al-Thalab (1094–1201). During their relatively short-lived tenure, the Ayyubids ushered in an era of economic prosperity in the lands they ruled and the facilities and patronage provided by the Ayyubids led to a resurgence in intellectual activity in the Islamic world. This period was also marked by an Ayyubid process of vigorously strengthening Sunni Muslim dominance in the region by constructing numerous madrasas (Islamic schools) in their major cities. Jeddah attracted Muslim sailors and merchants from Sindh, Southeast Asia and East Africa, and other distant regions.

In 1254, following events in Cairo and the dissolution of the Ayyubid Empire, Hejaz became a part of the Mamluk Sultanate.

The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, having found his way around the Cape and obtained pilots from the coast of Zanzibar in AD 1497, pushed his way across the Indian Ocean to the shores of Malabar and Calicut, attacked fleets that carried freight and Muslim pilgrims from India to the Red Sea, and struck terror into the surrounding potentates. The Princes of Gujarat and Yemen turned for help to Egypt. Sultan Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghawri accordingly fitted out a fleet of 50 vessels under the Governor of Jeddah, Hussein the Kurd (aka. Mirocem). Jeddah was soon fortified with a wall, using forced labor, as a harbor of refuge from the Portuguese, allowing Arabia and the Red Sea to be protected.

Ottoman Empire Edit

In 1517, the Ottoman Turks conquered the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt and Syria, during the reign of Selim I. [17]

The Ottomans rebuilt the weak walls of Jeddah in 1525 following the defense of the city against the Lopo Soares de Albergaria's Armada at the Siege of Jeddah (1517). The new stone wall included six watchtowers and six city gates. They were constructed to defend against the Portuguese attack. Of the six gates, the Gate of Mecca was the eastern gate and the Gate of Al-Magharibah, facing the port, was the western gate. The Gate of Sharif faced south. The other gates were the Gate of Al-Bunt, Gate of Al-Sham (also called Gate of Al-Sharaf), and Gate of Medina, facing north. [18] The Turks also built The Qishla of Jeddah, a small castle for the city soldiers. In the 19th century, these seven gates were minimized into four giant gates with four towers. These giant gates were the Gate of Sham to the north, the Gate of Mecca to the east, the Gate of Sharif to the south, and the Gate of Al-Magharibah on the seaside.

Jeddah became a direct Ottoman Eyalet, while the remaining Hejaz under Sharif Barakat II became a Vassal state to the Ottoman Empire 8 years after the Siege of Jeddah in 1517.

Parts of the city wall still survive today in the old city. Even though the Portuguese were successfully repelled from the city, fleets in the Indian Ocean were at their mercy. This was evidenced by the Battle of Diu. The Portuguese soldiers' cemetery can still be found within the old city today and is referred to as the site of the Christian Graves. [19]

Ahmed Al-Jazzar, the Ottoman military man mainly known for his role in the Siege of Acre, spent the earlier part of his career at Jeddah. In Jeddah in 1750, he killed some seventy rioting nomads in retaliation for the killing of his commander, Abdullah Beg, earning him the nickname "Jezzar" (butcher).

On 15 June 1858, rioting in the city, believed to have been instigated by a former police chief in reaction to British policy in the Red Sea, led to the massacre of 25 Christians, including the British and French consuls, members of their families, and wealthy Greek merchants. [20] The British frigate HMS Cyclops, anchored at port, bombarded the city for two days in retaliation. [21]

First Saudi State and Ottoman–Saudi War Edit

In 1802, Nejdi forces conquered both Mecca and Jeddah from the Ottomans. When Sharif Ghalib Efendi informed Sultan Mahmud II of this, the Sultan ordered his Egyptian viceroy Muhammad Ali Pasha to retake the city. Muhammad Ali successfully regained the city in the Battle of Jeddah in 1813.

World War I and the Hashemite Kingdom Edit

During World War I, Sharif Hussein bin Ali declared a revolt against the Ottoman Empire, seeking independence from the Ottoman Turks and the creation of a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.

King Hussein declared the Kingdom of Hejaz. Later, Hussein was involved in a war with Ibn Saud, who was the Sultan of Nejd. Hussein abdicated following the fall of Mecca, in December 1924, and his son Ali bin Hussein became the new king.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Edit

A few months later, Ibn Saud, whose clan originated in the central Nejd province, conquered Medina and Jeddah via an agreement with Jeddans following the Second Battle of Jeddah. He deposed Ali bin Hussein, who fled to Baghdad, eventually settling in Amman, Jordan, where his descendants became part of its Hashemite royalty.

As a result, Jeddah came under the sway of the Al-Saud dynasty in December 1925. In 1926, Ibn Saud added the title King of Hejaz to his position of Sultan of Nejd. Today, Jeddah has lost its historical role in peninsular politics after Jeddah fell within the new province of Makkah, whose provincial capital is the city of Mecca.

From 1928 to 1932, the new Khuzam Palace was built as the new residence of King Abdul Aziz in Jeddah. The palace lies south of the old walled city and was constructed under the supervision of the engineer Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden. After 1963, the palace was used as a royal guest house since 1995, it has housed the Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography. [22]

The remaining walls and gates of the old city were demolished in 1947. A fire in 1982 destroyed some ancient buildings in the old town center, called Al-Balad, but much is still preserved. A house-by-house survey of the old districts was made in 1979, showing that some 1000 traditional buildings still existed, though the number of structures with great historic value was far less. In 1990, a Jeddah Historical Area Preservation Department was founded. [23] [24]

The modern city has expanded wildly beyond its old boundaries. The built-up area expanded mainly to the north along the Red Sea coastline, reaching the new airport during the 1990s and since edging its way around it toward the Ob'hur Creek, some 27 km (17 mi) from the old city center. [25]

Jeddah is located in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal plain (called Tihamah). Jeddah lies in the Hijazi Tihama ( تهامة الحجاز ) region which is in the lower Hijaz mountains. Historically, politically and culturally, Jeddah was a major city of Hejaz Vilayet, the Kingdom of Hejaz and other regional political entities according to Hijazi history books. It is the 100th largest city in the world by land area.

Climate Edit

Jeddah features an arid climate (BWh) under Koppen's climate classification, with a tropical temperature range. Unlike other Saudi Arabian cities, Jeddah retains its warm temperature in winter, which can range from 15 °C (59 °F) at dawn to 28 °C (82 °F) in the afternoon. Summer temperatures are extremely hot, often breaking the 48 °C (118 °F) mark in the afternoon and dropping to 35 °C (95 °F) in the evening. Summers are also quite steamy, with dew points often exceeding 27 °C (80 °F), particularly in September. Rainfall in Jeddah is generally sparse, and usually occurs in small amounts in November and December. Heavy thunderstorms are common in winter. The thunderstorm of December 2008 was the largest in recent memory, with rain reaching around 80 mm (3 in). The lowest temperature ever recorded in Jeddah was 9.8 °C (49.6 °F) on February 10, 1993. [26] The highest temperature ever recorded in Jeddah was 52.0 °C (125.6 °F) on June 22, 2010. [26]

Dust storms happen in summer and sometimes in winter, coming from the Arabian Peninsula's deserts or from North Africa.

Climate data for Jeddah (1985-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35.0
Average high °C (°F) 29.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 24.5
Average low °C (°F) 20.3
Record low °C (°F) 11.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 9.9
Average relative humidity (%) 60 60 60 57 56 58 53 59 67 66 65 63 60
Source: Jeddah Regional Climate Center [27]
Jeddah mean sea temperature [28]
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
26.3 °C (79.3 °F) 25.7 °C (78.3 °F) 25.8 °C (78.4 °F) 26.8 °C (80.2 °F) 28.1 °C (82.6 °F) 29.0 °C (84.2 °F) 30.6 °C (87.1 °F) 31.6 °C (88.9 °F) 31.1 °C (88.0 °F) 30.7 °C (87.3 °F) 29.1 °C (84.4 °F) 27.9 °C (82.2 °F)

Jeddah has long been a port city. Even before being designated the port city for Mecca, Jeddah was a trading hub for the region. In the 19th century, goods such as mother-of-pearl, tortoise shells, frankincense, and spices were routinely exported from the city. Apart from this, many imports into the city were destined for further transit to the Suez, Africa, or Europe. Many goods passing through Jeddah could not even be found in the city or even in Arabia. [29]

All of the capitals of the Middle East and North Africa are within two hours flying distance of Jeddah, making it the second commercial center of the Middle East after Dubai. [30]

Also, Jeddah's industrial district is the fourth largest industrial city in Saudi Arabia after Riyadh, Jubail and Yanbu.

King Abdullah Street Edit

King Abdullah Street is one of the most important streets in Jeddah and runs from King Fahd Road by the waterfront in the west of Jeddah to the eastern end of the city. It is famous for hosting numerous corporate offices and commercial developments. It will be near the HSR Entrance in Jeddah central train station which connects Jeddah with Makkah, AL-Madinah, and King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC). And it also has the tallest flagpole in the world at a height of 170 m (558 ft). This road also faced a catastrophe in 2011 when it was submerged with rainwater. [ citation needed ]

Tahliyah Street Edit

Tahaliyah Street is an important fashion and shopping street in central Jeddah. It contains many upscale departments and high fashion brands stores as well as boutiques. It has been renamed "Prince Mohammad bin Abdul Aziz Road" by the government, but this official name is not widely used. It also has many fine dining options. [ citation needed ]

Madinah Road Edit

Madinah Road is a historically significant street in Jeddah. It links the Southern districts with the North and contains the Main offices of several companies and showrooms. The northern end of the road links to the King Abdul Aziz Int'l Airport, which is a contributing factor to heavy traffic on this road at most times during the day. [ citation needed ]

Religious significance Edit

Most citizens are Sunni Muslims. The government, courts, and civil and criminal laws enforce a moral code established by Shari'ah. A very small minority of Saudi citizens are Shia Muslims, and there is also a large foreign workforce. [ citation needed ]

The city has over 1,300 mosques. [31] The law does not allow other religions' buildings, books, icons and expressions of faith. However, private religious observance not involving Muslims nor offending public order and morality is tolerated. [ citation needed ]

Since the 7th century, Jeddah has hosted millions of Muslim pilgrims from all over the world on their way to Hajj. This merge with pilgrims has a major impact on the society, religion, and economy of Jeddah.

Cultural projects and foundations with a branch in Jeddah Edit

Cuisine Edit

Jeddah's multi-ethnic citizenry has influenced Jeddah's traditional cuisine.

Some dishes are native to the Hejaz, like Saleeg سَليق and Mabshūr مَبْشُور is a white-rice dish, cooked in broth, often made with chicken instead of lamb meat. Jeddah cuisine is popular as well and dishes like, Foul, Shorabah Hareira (Hareira soup), Mugalgal, Madhbi (chicken grilled on stone), Madfun (literally meaning "buried"), Magloobah, Kibdah, Manzalah (usually eaten at Eid ul-Fitr), Magliya (a local version of falafel) and Saiyadyia which can be acquired in many traditional restaurants around the city, such as Althamrat, Abo-Zaid, Al-Quarmooshi, Ayaz, and Hejaziyat. [ citation needed ]

Some were imported from other Saudi regions like Kabsa كَبْسَة from Najd, Arīka عَريكة and Ma'sūb مَعْصُوب from the southern Saudi region. Other Dishes were imported from other cultures through Saudis of different origins, like Mantu مَنْتو , Yaghmush يَغْمُش and Ruz Bukhāri رُز بُخاري from Central Asia, Burēk بُريك and Šurēk شُريك and Kabab almīru كباب الميرو from Turkey and the Balkans, Mandi مَنْدي from Yemen, Mutabbag مُطَبَّق from Yemen-Malaysia, Biryāni برياني and Kābli كابلي rice dishes from South Asia.

Grilled meat dishes such as shawarma, kofta, and kebab have a good market in Jeddah. During Ramadan, sambousak and ful are especially popular at the evening iftar meal. These dishes are found in Lebanese, Syrian, and Turkish restaurants. [ citation needed ]

The most popular local fast-food chain, begun in 1974, is Al Baik, with branches in Jeddah and the neighboring cities of Makkah, Madinah and Yanbu. Their main dish is broasted (broiled and roasted) chicken, commonly known by Jeddawis as "Broast", and a variety of seafood. [32] Other local fast food restaurants have sprung up, like Al Tazaj, which serves seasoned grilled chicken (called Farooj) and a side of Tahina with onion and spices. Foultameez serves Foul and Tameez as fast food Kudu and Herfy serve Western fast food Halawani serves local variants of Shawerma and Shawermatak has pioneered drive-through sales of Shawerma. Another popular fast-food chain is Hot and Crispy, an Arabic franchise popular for their spiced curly fries. [ citation needed ]

Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and other Asian foods are also popular. Italian, French, and American restaurants are also to be found. [ citation needed ]

Open-air art Edit

During the oil boom in the late 1970s and 1980s, there was a focused civic effort led by the then city's mayor Mohamed Said Farsi [33] [34] to bring art to Jeddah's public areas. As a result, Jeddah contains a large number of modern open-air sculptures and works of art, typically situated in roundabouts, making the city one of the largest open-air art galleries in the world. Sculptures include works by Jean/Hans Arp, César Baldaccini, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Joan Miró and Victor Vasarely. They often depict traditional Saudi items such as coffee pots, incense burners, palm trees, etc. The fact that Islamic tradition prohibits the depiction of living creatures, notably the human form, has made for some very creative, as well as bizarre, modern art. These include a giant geometry set, a giant bicycle, and a huge block of concrete with several cars protruding from it at odd angles and a monumental sculpture by Aref Rayess called "Swords of God (Soyuf Allah)".

Museums and collections Edit

There are about a dozen museums or collections in Jeddah, with varied educational aims and professionalism. [35] These include the Jeddah Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography run by the Deputy Ministry of Antiquities and Museums, the Jeddah Municipal Museum, the Nasseef House, the Humane Heritage Museum, the private Abdul Rauf Hasan Khalil Museum and the private Arts Heritage Museum.

Events and festivals Edit

Red Sea International Film Festival Edit

Jeddah has been selected as a place for the annual Red Sea International Film Festival that will be held in 2020. [36]

Jeddah International Book Fair Edit

Jeddah hosts an annual international book fair called Jeddah international book fair. [37] It is the second largest book fair in Saudi Arabia, [38] and it was first held in 2015. The book fair is held annually in early December. [37]

Jeddah Season Edit

Jeddah Season is a part of the Saudi government's Saudi Seasons initiatives that aims at launching a high-level tourism activities in Saudi Arabia. [39] The first version of the season has been held in June–July 2019. [40] Around 150 activities and events have been organized in five destinations in Jeddah. [40] As Saudi Seasons 2019 aims at shedding the light on the diverse Saudi culture and heritage. [41] Jeddah was chosen because it is one of the most culturally-rich Saudi cities with a history that spans over 3,000 years. [40] Most of Jeddah Season's events and activities have been held at King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah's historical area, Al-Hamra Corniche, and the Jeddah Waterfront. [42] Jeddah Season aim to make Jeddah the most preferred tourist destination in the world and the best season of Saudi Seasons. [43]

Media Edit

Jeddah is served by four major Arabic-language newspapers, Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Madina, Okaz, and Al Bilad, as well as two major English-language newspapers, the Saudi Gazette and Arab News. Okaz and Al-Madina are the primary newspapers of Jeddah and some other Saudi cities, with over a million readers their focus is mainly local.

Internet blogs specifically informative of the locality are abundant in Jeddah, catering mostly to the widespread expatriate population. Of these are constituted websites that have garnered international acclaim for informativeness, such as Jeddah Blog, the recipient of the Bronze Expat Blog Award in 2012 and the Gold Award in 2013 and is among Feedspot's Top 100 Middle East blogs. [44] [45] Other amateur websites catering to specific topics in the region exist as well.

Jeddah represents the largest radio and television market in Saudi Arabia. Television stations serving the city area include Saudi TV1, Saudi TV2, Saudi TV Sports, Al Ekhbariya, the ART channels network and hundreds of cable, satellite, and other specialty television providers.

The Jeddah TV Tower is a 250 m (820 ft) high television tower with an observation deck.

Accent Edit

The Jeddah region's distinctive speech pattern is called the Hejazi dialect it is among the most recognizable accents within the Arabic language.

Old Jeddah Edit

The Old City known as Al-Balad with its traditional multistory buildings and merchant houses, that often still belong to the families that inhabited them before the oil-era, has lost ground to more modern developments. [46] Nonetheless, the Old City contributes to Hejazi's cultural identity. Since it has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status, in 2014, several traditional buildings have been restored and made open to the public. In 2019, the Saudi crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman, has issued a royal decree that orders The Ministry of Culture to restore 50 historical buildings in Jeddah. [47] Several historic mosques from different eras are located in al-Balad, as well as one of oldest museums in the city, called Bayt Naseef or Naseef house, displaying local furniture and interior design of the past 150 years, approximately.

Resorts and hotels Edit

The city has many popular resorts, including Durrat Al-Arus, Al-Nawras Mövenpick resort at the Red Sea Corniche, Crystal Resort, Radisson Blu, The Signature Al Murjan Beach Resort, Al Nakheel Village, Sands, and Sheraton Abhur. Many are renowned for their preserved Red Sea marine life and offshore coral reefs.

Consulates Edit

One of two consulates of the United States of America in Saudi Arabia is located in Jeddah, along with the consulates for 67 other countries such as Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, France, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Philippines, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Italy, Russia and People's Republic of China. Some of the other consulates present include, countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League states.

Historical Jeddah is situated on the eastern shore of the Red Sea. From the 7th century AD, it was established as a major port for Indian Ocean trade routes, channeling goods to Mecca. It was also the gateway for Muslim pilgrims to Mecca who arrived by sea. These twin roles saw the city develop into a thriving multicultural center, characterized by a distinctive architectural tradition, including tower houses built in the late 19th century by the city's mercantile elites, and combining Red Sea coastal coral building traditions with influences and crafts from along the trade routes. [48]

Within a defensive wall that was built during Ottoman rule, the old city of Jeddah, Al-Balad, was divided into districts, or Haras, where business and trade centered around traditional souks, or market places, and khans, covered markets that were generally connected to shops. [49]

Harrat Al-Mathloum (District of the Wronged) Edit

Located in the North East, this district was named after Abdulkarim Al-Barzangi, a Hijazi rebel who was crucified by the Ottomans, some of its landmarks are:

  • Dar Al-Qabil
  • Dar Al-Ba'ashin
  • Dar Al-Sheikh
  • Al-Shafi'i Mosque The oldest mosque in town, its minaret was built in the 13th century, and its pillars date back to Ottoman rule.
  • Mosque of Uthman bin Affan Also called the Ebony Mosque because of its two ebony pillars, it was mentioned in the writings of Ibn Battuta and Ibn Jubayr.
  • Al-Mia'mar Mosque An old mosque built in the 17th century.
  • Souq Al-Jama One of the oldest markets in town.

Harrat Al-Sham (The Levantine District) Edit

Located in the north and named after its orientation, some of its landmarks are:

  • Dar Al-Sadat
  • Dar Al-Serti
  • Dar Al-Zahid
  • Dar Al-Banajah
  • Al-Basha Mosque

Built by Bakr Basha, the governor of Jeddah in 1735.

Harrat Al-Yemen (The Yemeni District) Edit

Located in the south and is also named after its orientation, its landmarks include:

  • Beit Nasseef By far the most famous site in the old town, it was built in 1881 for Omar Nassif Efendi, governor of Jeddah at the time, and served as the royal residence of King Abdulaziz after conquering the city.
  • Dar Al-Jamjom
  • Dar Al-Sha'araoui
  • Dar Al-Abdulsamad
  • Dar Al-Kayal
  • Beit Al-Matbouli
  • Beit Al-Joghadar

Harrat Al-Bahar (The Seafront District) Edit

Located in the southwest, some of its landmarks are:

Abdul Raouf Khalil Museum Edit

Founded by Sheikh Abdul Raouf Khalil in 1996, this museum not only presents the rich Islamic cultural heritage of the city but also its pre-Islamic history that goes back to 2500 years it traces the various civilizations that inhabited the region. Located in the downtown district, it boasts of large collection of items and artifacts belonging to the Ottoman Turks and the fishermen tribes who were the first inhabitants of the region. [50]

King Fahd's Fountain Edit

King Fahd's Fountain was built in the 1980s, can be seen from a great distance and, at 312 meters (1,024 ft), is the highest water jet in the world according to the Guinness World Records. [51] The fountain was donated to the City of Jeddah by the late King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, after whom it was named.

Al-Rahmah Mosque Edit

Sometimes referred to as the floating mosque because of it being built above water, this fascinating mix of the old architecture and the new was built in 1985. It is a popular spot among tourists and natives looking to lounge by the seaside.

Al-Jawhara Stadium Edit

Is a new stadium launched in 2014, located north of Jeddah, is used mostly for football, reaching a full capacity of 62,241 spectators. It is the largest stadium in Jeddah, and the second-largest in Saudi Arabia.

King Saud Mosque Edit

The largest mosque in the city. Built-in 1987, it displays beautiful Islamic architecture and was built by Egyptian architect Abdel Wahed El Wakil. [52]

NCB Tower Edit

Built-in 1983 and believed to be the highest tower in Saudi Arabia during the 1980s, with a height of over 235 m (771 ft), the National Commercial Bank was Saudi Arabia's first bank.

IDB Tower Edit

The Islamic Development Bank is a multilateral development financing institution. It was founded by the first conference of Finance Ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC, now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), convened 18 December 1973. The bank officially began its activities on 20 October 1975.

Jeddah Municipality Tower Edit

This is the headquarters of the metropolitan area of Jeddah. The municipality's new building is going to be not only Jeddah's tallest but is also going to dethrone the Burj Khalifa.

This proposed tower, formerly known as the Kingdom Tower, is being built in Jeddah by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and will stand 1-kilometer (0.62 mi) tall. Upon its completion, it will be the tallest skyscraper in the world. The building has been scaled down from its initial 1.6 km (1 mi) proposal, since the ground proved unsuitable for a building that tall, to a height of at least 1,000 meters (3,280.84 ft) (the exact height is being kept private while in development, similar to the Burj Khalifa), [53] which, at about one kilometer (0.62 miles), would still make it by far the tallest building or structure in the world to date, [54] standing at least 173 m (568 ft) taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Construction began in April 2013 and there was steady progress, but in January 2018, building owner JEC halted structural concrete work with the tower about one-third completed due to labor issues with a contractor following the 2017–19 Saudi Arabian purge. JEC had said they planned to restart construction in 2020. [55] [56]

King Road Tower Edit

King Road Tower is a commercial and office building, the external walls of which are used to show commercials. The building also has a helipad on its roof. King Road Tower has the largest LED display in the world on its walls.

Al Jawharah Tower Edit

Al Jawharah Tower is a residential high-rise under construction. It became the third-tallest structure in Jeddah when completed in 2014.

Jeddah Flagpole Edit

The King Abdullah Square on the intersection of Andalus Road with King Abdullah Road has the world's tallest flagpole. It is 171 meters (561 feet) high and the Saudi flag atop it weighs 570 kilograms (1,260 pounds). On the 84th Saudi Arabia National Day, September 23, 2014, the flagpole hoisted a huge Saudi flag before a crowd of thousands. The flagpole succeeded Dushanbe Flagpole as the tallest flagpole in the world. [57]

Entrance of Mecca Edit

Bab Makkah, also known as Makkah Gate, is a limestone coral gateway that leads into the historic Al-Balad district of Jeddah.

The Mecca Gate, named the "Quran Gate", is located 60 km outside Jeddah on the Makkah Mukkarram road of the Jeddah - Mecca Highway. It is the entrance to Mecca and the birthplace of Muhammad. The gate signifies the boundary of the haram area of the city of Mecca, where non-Muslims are prohibited to enter. The gate was designed in 1979 by an Egyptian architect, Samir Elabd, for the architectural firm IDEA Center. The structure is that of a book, representing the Quran, sitting on a rehal, or book stand. [58]

Jeddah waterfront Edit

The new waterfront was inaugurated in November 2017, by Makkah Governor, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal. [59]

It spans an area of 730,000 square kilometers (280,000 sq mi) [ dubious – discuss ] on the Red Sea. It has many facilities including swimming beaches, huts, floating marina dock, washrooms, restaurants, parks, dancing fountains, playgrounds, and access to wifi. [60]

This project of developing JW (Jeddah Waterfront) has been awarded as Jeddah Innovation Award of the year 1439H in the field of government innovation, by the province of Jeddah. [61] [62]

Schools, colleges and universities Edit

As of 2005 [update] , Jeddah had 849 public and private schools for male students and another 1,179 public and private schools for female students. [63] The medium of instruction in both public and private schools is typically Arabic, with emphasis on English as a second language. However, some private schools administered by foreign entities conduct classes in English. These include 10+ Indian schools following the CBSE board of education system, several Pakistani and Bangladeshi schools as well. As of 2005 [update] , Jeddah also had four Philippine international schools, with two more scheduled to open shortly afterward. [64]

Jeddah's universities and colleges include the following:

Jeddah is also home to several primary, intermediate and secondary schools such as:

Italian international school

Libraries Edit

The central library at King Abdulaziz University (main branch) is a five-story building that has a large collection of Arabic and English language books, rare books, and documents as well as access to several online databases. It is open for public access and allows the borrowing of books after requesting a library card. Saturdays are dedicated to female visitors. [66]

King Abdul Aziz Public Library is a philanthropic institution that was founded and supported by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, chairman of its board of directors. Established in 1985, the library was officially opened by the King on 27 February 1987. It emphasizes Islamic and Arabic heritage and history of the Kingdom. The library is divided into three branches (men's, women's, and children's). [67]

The limited number of libraries is criticized by the public. As a result, King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, has approved the King Abdullah Project for the Development of Public Libraries, and approximately SAR150 million is budgeted to be spent. [68]

In April 2014, Prince Mishaal Ibn Abdullah Abdulaziz opened a new public library in Jeddah by Makkah Governor, under the name of King Fahd Public Library. [69]

King Fahd Public Library was built over an area of 17,000 square meters (180,000 sq ft) within the main Campus of King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Jeddah. it includes a diverse collection of books and reference material classified into three sections to meet the needs and wants of a wide range of readership. Spaces have been set apart for youths, children and women. [69]

Jeddah is the home of the 2 biggest well-known football clubs teams Al-Ittihad Club (Jeddah) and Al-Ahli Saudi FC. Both teams play their league matches at King Abdullah Stadium which is located northern part of Jeddah nearby King Abdelaziz Airport

The city is home to the 2015 Saudi Arabian basketball Champion Al-Ittihad Jeddah, which plays its home games in the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Basketball Arena. [70]

On 5 November 2020, it was announced that Jeddah will host a round of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The circuit is proposed as a street circuit, winding the roads of Jeddah.

Airport Edit

Jeddah is served by King Abdulaziz International Airport. The airport has four passenger terminals. One is the Hajj Terminal, a special outdoor terminal covered by large white tents, which was constructed to handle the more than two million pilgrims who pass through the airport during the Hajj season. The Southern Terminal is used by Saudia and Flynas (both based in Saudi Arabia), while the Northern Terminal serves foreign airlines. A plan for the extension of the airport is being developed. The Royal Terminal is a special terminal reserved for VIPs, foreign kings and presidents, and the Saudi royal family. A portion of the airport, King Abdullah Air Base, was used by Coalition B-52 heavy bombers during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Before King Abdulaziz Airport opened in 1981, Kandara Airport served Jeddah. It was at Kandara, a neighborhood very near the town center. However, the old Jeddah airport experienced heavy congestions, especially during Hajj seasons. [71] After the airport became defunct, the area was redeveloped for housing. [72]

Seaport Edit

The Jeddah Seaport is the 32nd busiest seaport in the world as of 2008 [update] . It handles the majority of Saudi Arabia's commercial movement.

In 2017 Jeddah seaport handled 4,309,765 TEUs and in the year 2018 handled 4,215,248 TEUs.

Jeddah is part of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road that runs from the Chinese coast to the Upper Adriatic region with its rail connections to Central and Eastern Europe. [73] [74] [75] [76]

Road and rail Edit

Highway 40, which begins in Jeddah, connects the city to Mecca, Riyadh and Dammam on the east coast. Jeddah does not have any rapid transit system, but a rail system connecting the city to Riyadh is now under construction. The Haramain High Speed Rail Project will provide a connection to Mecca and Medina. [77] There is a contracted plan to build an extensive light metro system known as the Jeddah Metro, throughout the city by 2020. [78] Jeddah's main highways run parallel to each other.

The city is challenged by pollution, weak sewage systems, a weak storm drain system that led to massive floodings, heavy traffic, epidemics, and water shortages.

Pollution and environment Edit

Air pollution is a problem for Jeddah, particularly on hot summer days. The city has experienced bush fires, landfill fires, and pollution from the two industrial zones in the north and the south of the metropolitan area. A water treatment factory and the seaport also contribute to water pollution. Much of the seafront, however, is considered to be safe and clean. Ramboll has acted as Environmental Consultant on the Jeddah Environmental Impact Assessment as well as the Jeddah Environmental Social Masterplan. [79]

Terrorism Edit

On 6 December 2004, a group of five men associated with the terrorist group Al-Qaeda (Al-Qaeda Organization in the Arabian Peninsula) conducted a mid-day attack on the U.S. Consulate, which killed five Consulate workers. The group was led by Fayez ibn Awwad Al-Jeheni, a former member of the Saudi religious police. Two other assailants were subsequently identified by the Saudi authorities as residents of Jeddah's Al-Jamia suburb and other slums on Saudi Arabia's increasingly urbanized west coast. Buildings were attacked, hostages taken and used as human shields, and the U.S. and non-U.S. staff were under siege, although the chancery/consular section building itself was never penetrated. [80] Closed-circuit video feeds documented that the Saudi security personnel assigned to protect the facility fled when the vehicle holding the terrorists pulled up to the front gate and ran past the Delta barrier. [81] Inside the compound, however, an armed Saudi security guard employed by the embassy shot and killed one terrorist before being fatally shot himself.

The attackers spread and ignited a flammable liquid on the front of the chancery building, and opened fire on the front doors, both of which actions did not have any penetrating effect. The Consulate's U.S. Marines released tear gas in front of the chancery building, but the terrorists had already left that location. More than an hour later, Saudi special forces made it through traffic and, along with others from their unit who arrived in a helicopter, fought to retake the compound. Two of the terrorists were killed in the final fight, with another dying later in hospital and the final militant being captured alive. Four Saudi special forces and a further 10 hostages were wounded in the crossfire. [80] [82] [83]

The five Foreign Service National employees who died during the terrorist attack were Ali Yaslem Bin Talib, Imad e-Deen Musa Ali, Romeo de la Rosa, Mohammed Baheer Uddin, and Jaufar Sadik. The casualties came from Yemen, Sudan, Philippines, India and Sri Lanka. [84]

The attack underscores the ongoing vulnerabilities of Westerners to threats, terrorist actions, and the environs. In a communiqué posted in online publications such as Sawt al-Jihad (Voice of Jihad) and Mu'askar al-Battar (Al-Battar Training Camp), Al-Qaeda hinted at the symbolic nature of the U.S. Consulate attack, stating: "Know that the Mujahideen are determined to continue on their path, and they will not be weakened by what has happened to them." [80]

Terrorist activities have persisted from 2004 to the present day. In 2004 there was an unsuccessful shooting attack on a U.S. Marine visiting the Saudi American Bank and an attempt to simultaneously explode car bombs at Saudi American Bank and Saudi British Bank branches in Jeddah on the anniversary of the 2001 "9-11" terrorist attacks on the U.S. [85] On 26 August 2012, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry announced that terrorists were arrested in Jeddah who had been preparing explosives for attacks within the kingdom. [86]

Traffic Edit

Roads and highways within and exiting the city are frequently clogged with traffic. Mass transit is rare and planning is nascent most Jeddawi adults have at least one car. Motorcycles are rare on the roads, further impacting the traffic patterns. Days immediately preceding and following the holy days are particularly noisome and cost hundreds of thousands many hours because of traffic jams. The Saudi Gazette reports that there is a plan in the works to tackle the traffic issue. A reported 3 billion Saudi Riyals will be put into constructing flyovers and underpasses in an effort to expedite traffic. The plan is scheduled to take about five years from its start to finish. [87]

Sewage Edit

Prior to the construction of a waste treatment plant, Jeddah's wastewater was disposed of by either discharge into the sea or via absorption into deep underground pits. As the city grew, a proper waste management plant was created and the built-up part of the city was connected with a sewer system by the 1970s. [ citation needed ] However, even with the ever-increasing population, the original sewer system has hardly been expanded. The original plant cannot cope with the amount of waste inundating it daily. As a result, some untreated sewage is discharged directly into the sea and the entire northern part of the city remains completely unconnected to the sewage system, instead of relying on septic tanks. This has been responsible for a large number of sewage tankers.

In late 2011, a storm drainage system was built in the south Jeddah area (similar to that of the Los Angeles storm drain) to reduce the risk of floods. [88]

Floods Edit

On 25 November 2009, heavy floods affected the city and other areas of Makkah Province. [89] [90] The floods were described by civil defence officials as the worst in 27 years. [91] As of 26 November 2009 [update] , 77 people were reported to have been killed, [92] and more than 350 were missing. [89] Some roads were under a meter (three feet) of water on 26 November, and many of the victims were believed to have drowned in their cars. At least 3,000 vehicles were swept away or damaged. [89] [92] [93] The death toll was expected to rise as flood waters receded, allowing rescuers to reach stranded vehicles. [94]

On 26 January 2011, again, heavy floods affected the city and other areas of Makkah Province. The cumulative rainfall exceeded the 90 mm (3.5 in) recorded in four hours during the 25 November 2009 flash floods. Streets including Palestine Street, Madinah Road, and Wali Al-Ahad Street were either flooded or jammed with traffic. Cars were seen floating in some places. Meanwhile, eyewitnesses told local newspaper Arab News that East Jeddah was swamped and floodwater was rushing west towards the Red Sea, turning streets into rivers once again.

On 17 November 2015, heavy floods affected the city. Streets affected by the flood include Palestine Street, Madinah Road, and many others. Cars were seen burning, and many trees fell as a result of the violent flood. [95] 3 deaths were also reported. 2 of the fatalities (including a child) were hit by lightning while crossing a street.

On 21 November 2017, heavy floods affected the city once more and Jeddah Islamic Port stopped operations for about 3 hours. Jeddah police received 11,000 phone calls on 911 from people enquiring about alternative roads and weather conditions. [96] There were 250 reports of electrocution. Five people were electrocuted, two died.

Metropolitan Jeddah comprises 137 districts: (transliterated from Arabic)

The Geography of Saudi Arabia

Total Size: 1,960,582 square km

Size Comparison: slightly more than one-fifth the size of the US

Geographical Coordinates: 25 00 N, 45 00 E

World Region or Continent: Middle East

General Terrain: mostly uninhabited, sandy desert

Geographical Low Point: Persian Gulf 0 m

Geographical High Point: Jabal Sawda' 3,133 m

Climate: harsh, dry desert with great temperature extremes

Major cities: RIYADH (capital) 4.725 million Jeddah 3.234 million Mecca 1.484 million Medina 1.104 million Ad Dammam 902,000 (2009)

Official name: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Capital city: Riyadh
Population: 34,173,498
Area: 2,149,690 sq km
Major languages: Arabic
Time zone: UTC+3 (Arabia Standard Time)
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

1. Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and the 12th largest in the world.
– Source: World Bank

2. Saudi Arabia was part of the Ottoman Empire from 1517 to the early 20th century when the Ottoman Empire collapsed.
– Source: Lonely Planet

3. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was formally declared in September 1932 when Ibn Saud proclaimed himself as King Abdulaziz.
– Source: Lonely Planet

4. The Al Saud dynasty has ruled ever since and holds a monopoly of political power. King Abdulaziz and he has been succeeded by his descendants.
– Source: BBC News

5. Saudi Arabia has long prevented women from taking on a larger role in its society. Under the Saudi guardianship system, women’s rights are severely restricted. They cannot marry, divorce, travel, get a job or have elective surgery without permission from their male guardians.
– Source: Amnesty International, CNN

6. Until 2018, Saudi Arabia was the world’s only country where women could not drive legally. The law was changed in 2018 following years of campaigning.
– Source: BBC News

7. Saudi women were not allowed to take part in the Olympics until 2012. In 2012, two women took part in the London games and in 2016 four women took part in the Rio de Janeiro games.
– Source: New York Times

8. Saudi motorists have developed an exciting but dangerous craze known as “sidewalk skiing”, which involves balancing a car on its side while driving.
– Source: BBC News

9. Evidence suggests that modern-day Saudia Arabia has been inhabited for around 125,000 years. Ancient tools discovered in the Arabian Peninsula suggest humans migrated through the region from Africa.
– Source: Nature (journal)

10. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of the world’s second-largest religion, Islam.
– Source: Britannica, Pew Research Center

11. Saudi Arabia is home to Islam’s two holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. Mecca is the holiest of Muslim cities where Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was born in around 570 AD.
– Source: Britannica

12. Medina, the second holiest city in Islam, is where Muhammad’s body is entombed. Medina is celebrated as the place where Muhammad established the Muslim community (ummah) after he fled Mecca in 622 AD.
– Source: Britannica

13. As such, the Saudi king’s official title is the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques”.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

14. Mecca is home to one of the world’s largest annual gatherings. Every year, over 2 million Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca to perform the hajj, which is considered the fifth and final Pillar of Islam. Every capable adult Muslim is expected to complete at least one hajj in their lifetime.
– Source: National Geographic

15. The Abraj Al Bait Towers in Mecca holds the records for the world’s tallest clock tower, the world’s tallest hotel and the world’s largest clock face at 43m in diameter.
– Source: The Telegraph

16. Saudi Arabia is also building the world’s tallest skyscraper. When complete, Jeddah Tower will be 1,000m (3,280ft) high. Construction was paused in 2018 but is expected to recommence in 2020.
– Source: CNN, CNN Business

17. In 1975, King Faisal was assassinated by his nephew and succeeded by his brother Khalid.
– Source: BBC News

18. Saudi Arabia is home to the King’s Cup camel race. The epic camel race has up to 2,000 participants and races across a 19km track during the Janadriyah National Festival.
– Source: Lonely Planet

19. Saudia Arabia is an oil-rich nation, possessing around 16% of the world’s proven petroleum reserves. As of 2019, the petroleum sector accounts for around 87% of budget revenues, 42% of GDP and 90% of export earnings.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

20. Around 95% of Saudi Arabia is desert.
– Source: NASA

21. The Arabian Desert – at 2,300,000 sq km (900,000 sq mi) – is the largest desert in Asia and the second largest on Earth. Only the Sahara in Africa is bigger.
– Source: Britannica

22. The Arabian Desert incorporates the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world, the Rubʿ al-Khali, which lies mainly within Saudi Arabia. It covers an area of around 650,000 sq km (250,000 sq mi) and translates as “Empty Quarter”.
– Source: Britannica

23. 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the 2001 9/11 attacks on the US were from Saudi Arabia.
– Source: New York Times

24. Saudi Arabia has the fifth-highest net migration in the world. Measured over a five-year period, 1,722,804 more people moved to Saudi Arabia than left it.
– Source: World Bank

25. Saudi Arabia’s flag consists of a green background with a white Arabic inscription and a sabre. The inscription reads, “There is no god but God Muhammad is the prophet of God.” The sabre is symbolic of the militancy of their faith and green is synonymous with Islam.
– Source: Britannica

26. Saudi Arabia is the world’s 13th most obese country with 69.7% of its population classified as overweight.
– Source: World Health Organisation

27. In 2017, archaeologists used Google Earth to uncovered nearly 400 previously undocumented stone structures called “gates” in the Arabian Desert. They believe the gates were built by nomadic tribes between 2,000 and 9,000 years ago.
– Source: New York Times

28. Saudi Arabia does not have any rivers making it the world’s largest country without a river.
– Source: National Geographic, CIA World Fact Book

29. Saudi Arabia has the death penalty and is the world’s third-highest executer. In 2019, Saudi Arabia put 184 people to death including a mass execution of 37 people for terror offences.
– Source: Amnesty International

30. Saudi Arabia has the eighth highest CO2 emissions in the world.
– Source: World Bank

31. The tallest flagpole in the world is located in Saudi Arabia. At 171m (561ft), the Jeddah Flagpole was erected in 2014.
– Source: Guinness Worl Records

Every effort has been made to verify these facts about Saudi Arabia. However, if you find an error or have any questions, please contact us.

Author summary

Arabian Peninsula has been home to ancient civilizations and elucidating its population structure can add to our understanding of human history. We conducted genomic profiling of 957 unrelated individuals who self-identify with 28 large tribes in Saudi Arabia. We found that genomic structure of Saudis is more clustered than previously thought, suggesting that tribal linages have been maintained for a long time in Arabian Peninsula in spite of admixture. The population structure revealed by our study has important implications for both Mendelian and complex genetics work in the study population.

Citation: Mineta K, Goto K, Gojobori T, Alkuraya FS (2021) Population structure of indigenous inhabitants of Arabia. PLoS Genet 17(1): e1009210. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009210

Editor: Youssef Idaghdour, NCSU, UNITED STATES

Received: February 6, 2020 Accepted: October 16, 2020 Published: January 11, 2021

Copyright: © 2021 Mineta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: Tribal genotypes are available as supporting information (S1 Data). Individual data cannot be shared publicly because of the consent restrictions and is available from the KFSH&RC Institutional Ethics Committee (contact via Dr. Abeer Omer: [email protected]) for researchers who meet the criteria for access to confidential data.

Funding: We acknowledge the support of the Saudi Human Genome Project, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology to FSA and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (BAS/1/1059/01/01) to TG. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Map of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a monarchy governed under strict Islamic laws of the Wahhabi sect, which regulate public behavior, especially for women and foreigners. Women cannot drive cars and have numerous other restrictions imposed on them, and the presence of on-Muslim foreigners is tolerated but often raises resentment.

The Arabian peninsula ( Al-Jazira ) is bounded by the Red Sea to the west, the Arabian Sea to the south and the Persian Gulf to the east. To the west, the Hijaz and Asir mountain ranges form a barrier from the sea. Further west, the Tihama is the coastal plain of the Red Sea. In the north, the An Nafud and 'Hamad deserts separate Saudi Arabia from Iraq and Jordan. The Rub' al Khali (empty quarter) in the southeast is a vast and generally impenetrable desert. An Nafud, a sea of enormous shifting sand dunes, was supposedly considered impenetrable until T.E. Lawrence crossed it in 1917 to attack Aqaba with his Arab allies.

The Arabs have been known in the Middle East at least since the time of Shalmanesser II in 853 BC. Arabia has been the home of several apparently distinct Semitic peoples in numerous tribes, all known as Arabs, for much of recorded history. The relatively high rainfall of Yemen and easy access to the sea made it the home of several prosperous kingdoms, including Saba (possibly the biblical Sheba), Himyar, Qataban, Minea (Ma'in) and Hadramaut. The Romans called Yemen Arabia Felix (Happy Arabia) The area was the source of frankincense and myrrh and also a relay point for spices coming from the East. An additional kingdom of Zufar was situated in the area of the modern Oman.

The north and center of the peninsula, corresponding to the Arabia Deserta of the Romans, have always been populated by nomadic tribes, in contrast to the sedentary south. For much of ancient history, Aramaic was apparently the dominant language in the northern regions, rather than Arabic. The desert is punctuated by oases where a sedentary way of life is possible, and which formed terminuses and way stations on caravan routes. Each town was located at an oasis, and was usually controlled and inhabited by several tribes who made a pact that allowed joint control of the oasis. In times of prosperity, differences between town and countryside were accentuated, and the caravans and the towns became targets of raids by relatively poorer Bedouin nomads.

The nomadic way of life and tribal organization of the interior of north and central Arabia made it difficult to form large stable political organizations. Two very well known but short-lived states were anchored outside the Arabian desert. About 100 AD, the Nabateans ruled a kingdom that stretched from Palestine to the Gulf at its greatest extent, with its capital in Petra, in what is now Jordan. The Nabateans declined and their kingdom in the West was taken over by the Romans. A second kingdom arose in the North with its capital in Palmyra, under Odenathus in 265, and flourished under his widow Zenobia. It flourished all too well however, and was extinguished by the Roman Emperor Aurelian in 273 after Zenobia proclaimed her son Athenodorus as Caesar Augustus. Two lesser known kingdoms in the interior were Li'hyan and Thamud. The Lakhmid, located in what is now Transjordan and Southern Arabia, was the first known kingdom to use Arabic as its official language. Its influence extended to the borders of South Arabia. The Kindah of western Central Arabia wrested control of much of Central Arabia from the Lakhmids in the 4th and 5th centuries AD but were forced back in 528. Two small protectorates of varying borders existed along the northern borders. Ghassan, along the border with Syria, was a Byzantine protectorate, and Hira, along the border with Persia (modern Iraq) was a Persian protectorate.

Mecca Population Growth

The population of Mecca has seen steady growth throughout the years. Its role as a holy city of Muslims not only attracts millions of visitors, but many of these visitors choose to become residents. The city’s expansion to include highways, shopping centers, and many important industries makes it a prosperous city that appeals to new residents, so continued population should be expected into the future. Based on recent growth rate percentages, Mecca is on track to see a 2-5% annual increase in population.

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