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History of Saudi Arabia
In the past, the expansive land that makes up modern-day Saudi Arabia was occupied by nomadic tribal societies. There were some urban trading settlements but they were few in number. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 when King Abdul Aziz united two previously independent kingdoms.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 following the unification of the Kingdom of Nejd and the Kingdom of Hejaz by Kind Abdul Aziz Al Saud. In the initial years of its existence, the kingdom was poor since the major economic activities were agriculture and revenue from Muslim pilgrims.
The economic fortunes of the country changed when vast oil reserves were discovered in the country in 1938 by Western companies. The oil wealth of Saudi Arabia made it possible for the government to develop infrastructure and social services for the citizens of the country.
Geographic and Demographics Information
Saudi Arabia is geographically located in the Middle East and the country has an area of 2.14 square kilometers. The climate for most of the country is arid and semi-arid with a large dry desert occupying most of the country. Due to its dry climate, Saudi Arabia does not have any rivers flowing within its borders. However, the country has a very expansive coastline, which spans for 2,640km.
The Kingdom has a population of approximately 25.7 million people. Out of this figure, about 5.5 million are foreign nations who live and work in the country. The median age of Saudis is 26, which means that the country has a huge young population. The predominant religion in Saudi Arabia is Islam and 97% of the entire population belongs to this religion. Because of this hostile climate, human populations are concentrated in urban areas.
Saudi Arabia and Islam
Saudi Arabia is the most important country in the Muslim world for a number of reasons. To begin with, Saudi Arabia is the home to Mecca, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad.
Since the Kingdom contains Prophet Muhammad’s birthplace, it is considered the cradle of Islam by Muslims. The most significant historic Muslim sites are located in Saudi Arabia. For example, the two holiest Muslim sites, Mecca and Medina, are both found in the Kingdom.
The Kingdom contains the two most important mosques in Islam. The first one is the Masjid al-Haram which is built around the Sacred House known as the Kaaba. The Kaaba is the most sacred site in the Islamic religion and Muslims from all over the world make their prayers facing this site. The second important mosque found within Kingdom is the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi. This mosque was built by Prophet Muhammad and it contains his tomb.
Language of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is an Arab nation and the official language is Arabic. There are a number of variations of Arabic spoken by the country’s citizenry. Saudi Arabia has a large number of foreign nationals who have moved to the country in search of job opportunities. Majority of these expatriate communities are from India and they use their own home languages to communicate.
Riyadh is Saudi Arabia’s largest city and this city is also the country’s capital. The city has is highly urbanized and it has a population of about 2.23 million people. The city is home to the foreign missions of many countries and a number of international agencies have offices in the city. The city is the center of power in Saudi Arabia and many important government officers are found here. Riyadh is the financial capital of Saudi Arabia and many major companies have their head offices in the city.
Dressing in Saudi Arabia
The dress code in Saudi Arabia is informed by the religion of Islam. People are expected to exercise modesty in their dressing. In addition to this, the hot desert climate also contributes to the dressing.
The garments worn are loose fitting but they cover the entire body. Men sometimes wear traditional headdresses on their heads. This headwear provides protection from the fierce desert sun. Majority of the women wear the loosely fitting black cloak known as the Abaya while some also wear a face veil known as the niqab.
Music is an important aspect of cultures all over the world. The development of music in Saudi Arabia has been heavily influenced by neighboring countries including India, Egypt, Iran and Iraq. As a result, Saudi music is expansive and has a unique sound because of the many sources. Saudi Arabia’s traditional music makes use of stringed instruments and percussions.
In some cases, the audiences are made to clap in a particular rhythm as accompaniment. The subject matter of the music is inspired by the geographic location of the land and most of this music is related to sailing. In addition to traditional music, Saudi Arabia’s contemporary music is fast developing. The international community and exposure to Western music influence this music.
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Saudi Arabians are friendly and good relationships are valued. During meetings, people exchange greetings to show goodwill and respect. Men shake hands while women often hug or kiss on the cheek. Respect for elders is valued and a person is expected to show respect by using the appropriate greetings.
Meals are an important part of socialization in the Kingdom and it is common for meetings to be accompanied by a meal. The meals are eaten while one is seated on the floor and only the right hand is used for eating. There is often no talking while people area eating.