Overview of Saudi Arabia

Overview of Saudi Arabia Last updated on Sunday 25th April 2010

Overview of Saudi Arabia

Official name

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Al-Mamlaka al-Arabiya as-Saudiya)


Riyadh (4.300.000 people, estimation of 2001)


17,050,934 (1992 estimate)

Population density

7.3 per sq. km / 18.9 per sq. mi.

Population distribution

77.3% urban, 22.7% rural

Land area

2,331,000 sq. km (900,000 sq. mi.)

Physical Features

Deserts, Plateaux, Mountains

Highest Point

Jabal Sawda

Type of government



Consultative Council appointed by the King

Highest Court

Supreme Council of Justice

Political subdivisions

14 emirates

Official language

Arabic, but English is widely spoken in commerce and business

Official religion

Saudi Arabia does not allow the practice of any other religion within its borders.

Literacy (1990)

62.4% of adult population

Universities (1989)


Hospital beds (1988)


Life expectancy (1992)

Women, 68
Men, 65

Infant mortality (1992)

59 per 1000 live births

GDP (1991 est)

$104 billion
$5800 per capita

Foreign trade (1990)

Imports $21.5 billion
Exports $44.3 billion


Saudi riyal


893km (555 mi.)

Roads (1988)

92,802km (57,644 mi.)

Major ports


Major airfields


Weights & measures



Both 110 and 220 volts, 60 cycles AC
380 volts is used for industrial purposes

Working hours

Government: 7:30am-2: 30pm
Private businesses and shops: about 9:30am-2: 00pm, and about 5:00pm-10:00pm.
The workweek begins on Saturday and runs through to Wednesday or Thursday.

Official holidays

Friday is the Islamic day of rest, corresponding to Sunday in the west.
Government offices are also closed on Thursdays.

Public holidays

There are two every year: Eid Al Fitr which comes after the month of Ramadan, the month of fasting; and Eid Al Adha which is during the month of pilgrimage or Hajj.


Green Banner of Islam, bearing the inscription: "There is no God but God; and Muhammad is his Messenger". The sword was added in 1906, symbolizing the military successes of Islam and of Ibn Saud, founder of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Sarei Lil Majd Walaya

Time zone

GMT +3 hours

International dialing code


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