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Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Modern Saudi Arabia was formed in 1932 when Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud united different regions of the Arabian Peninsula into one nation. On 23 September 1932, Abdul Aziz was proclaimed King. All of Saudi Arabia's rulers since 1932 have been descendants of Ibn Saud.
Saudi Arabia covers an area of 2.25 million square kilometres and is about the size of Western Europe, covering four-fifths of the Arabian Peninsula. The Red Sea lies on the West coast and the Persian Gulf Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on the East. Saudi Arabia has borders with Yemen and Oman in the South, and Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait in the North.

Flag

A 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. 

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 current Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz.

Population

About 22.7 million, including about 6 million expatriates.

Government

An 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. There are 22 government ministries and 13 provinces.

Religion

Islam, which is the basis of the legal system and of government.

Culture

Islamic principles and social customs are strictly observed in Saudi Arabia and influence all aspects of life and society. Saudi Arabia adheres to the Islamic sharia legal system.

National Day

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

Geographical Regions

There are four geographical regions: Hejaz (North-West), Asir (South-West), Nejd (Central Plateau) and Al Hasa (Eastern Province). Most of the population is concentrated in Jeddah and Mecca in the West, Riyadh in the centre and Dammam and Al Khobar in the East. Saudi Arabia's Empty Quarter is the largest sand desert in the world and is the size of France.

Terrain

The terreain is 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 lies the Rub Al-Khali (Empty Quarter), the largest sand desert in the world and in the southwest there are mountain ranges of over 9,000 feet.

Climate

Summer temperatures inland can reach 50°C during the day, but can fall dramatically to below 30°C at night. In winter they can be close to freezing in the desert. The coastal temperatures are more moderate but humidity is high.

Currency

Saudi Riyal (SR) divided into 100 halalas.
Notes come in denominations of SR1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Coins come in denominations of 5,10, 25 and 50 halala.

Business

Government offices Saturday through Wednesday 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.

Affiliations

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

 

Information Courtesy Of The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa

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