How big is Riyadh
Hanisauland: Lexicon @todo: from Preprocess
- Official name:
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- National holiday:
- September 23: proclamation of the kingdom
Saudi Arabia is located on the Arabian Peninsula in the west of Asia (Western Asia). The kingdom has many neighboring countries. It borders Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and Yemen. There is an almost infinite amount of sand in Saudi Arabia. Because about 95% of the country consists of desert, there are no rivers or lakes. Therefore, water is very scarce in Saudi Arabia. Summers are very hot and dry. Only on the coast is it very humid because the humidity is high. In the winter months there is a little rain and it can get quite cold in the desert.
A king with absolute power
The capital, Riyadh, is the largest city in the country. It is almost in the middle of the country. In Saudi Arabia there is an absolute monarchy based on Islam. This means that Islam is the state religion and the king is the head of state and government. The king appoints half of his ministers, the other half has been elected by the people since 2005. There is no parliament or an opposition. The strict Islamic law, the Sharia, is enshrined in the constitution. Human rights only apply as long as they do not contradict Sharia law.
Saud family and their state
Nomadic peoples have lived on the Arabian Peninsula for thousands of years. The state of Saudi Arabia has existed since 1943. The country name "Saudi Arabia" comes from the ruling family, the Sauds. The ancestors of the Saud family had ruled Arab empires for centuries. All previous kings of Saudi Arabia come from this family. Other important political offices are also given to members of the royal family.
Little water, a lot of oil
Saudi Arabia is one of the most important producers of oil and natural gas and a member of OPEC. The country has become very rich from this income. In this way, it is also possible for the state to ensure free social security and medical care for all citizens. In addition to the sale of petroleum, tourists are also an important economic force for the country. Islamic pilgrims in particular come to Saudi Arabia in large numbers, as the two holiest cities for Muslims are located there: the pilgrimage cities of Mecca and Medina.
Although the desert state is so dry, there has not yet been any serious water shortage. There is enough money to dig very deep wells or to desalinate seawater in large systems. Nevertheless, arable farming is hardly possible. The Saudis do not want to do some work in the country. Until 1963 these activities were performed by slaves. Only then was slavery abolished. Now the many guest workers take over the work. The foreigners come from other poorer Arab countries or from Asia - for example from Pakistan or India.
State under the sign of Islam
Almost three quarters of the population are devout Muslims. There is no equality between women and men in the country. Women traditionally have fewer rights than men, they are under the tutelage of a man, mostly the husband. They are not allowed to have contact with men in public and almost always have to be veiled. Buses, shopping centers or restaurants are divided into areas for men and women. Boys and girls are also separated at school. The children have to go to school for nine years. The state bears the costs for school and also for studies. The Saudi Arabian youth are not allowed to visit the cinema, concerts or discos. Because these are forbidden for moral and religious reasons. A religious police ensure compliance with the rules.
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