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Expats in Saudi Arabia

Expats in Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia: An Overview

Saudi Arabia takes up around 80 percent of the Arabian Peninsula, though its exact size is unknown as Saudi Arabia's borders with the United Arab Emirates and Oman are not precisely defined. The country is the largest in the Middle East by area, though with 30 million inhabitants, it is only the fifth most populous.

Saudi Arabia’s biggest geographical feature is the Arabian Desert, which constitutes more than 90% of its area. Part of the Arabian Desert, known as the Empty Quarter, is the world's largest sand desert and most oil-rich region. Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest oil exporter and has 25% of global reserves.

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Arabia's biggest impact on global culture came in the 7th century with the rise of Islam. The prophet Mohammed was born in Mecca and died in Medina, the two holiest places in the Muslim world. The Koran requires a pilgrimage to Mecca of every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it, while facing the Kaaba is expected during prayers.

After the death of Mohammed. the Rashidun Caliphate assumed leadership of the Muslim community. They were followed by the Umayyad Caliphate, who in turn were followed by the Abbasid Caliphate. By moving their capital to Baghdad in 762 AD, the Abbasids instigated a period of foreign rule over Arabia that would last for more than a millennium. After Baghdad, Mecca and Medina were controlled by Cairo - the capital of the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mameluke Caliphates - before the Ottomans began their conquest of the peninsula in 1517.

The Ottoman Empire continued to exert influence until the Arab Revolt during World War I, though by this time their suzerainty was only nominal. The revolt came about as a result of agreements between the Sharif of Mecca and the British government, which promised the formation of an independent Arab state from Syria to Yemen. The Ottoman Empire duly collapsed, but the British reneged on the arrangement and proceeded to divide Levantine territories between themselves and France.

The territory that modern-day Saudi Arabia encompasses was divided into the Kingdom of Hejaz and the Sultanate of Nejd. Nejd, ruled by the House of Saud, conquered the Hejaz in 1925 and, in 1932, formed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It was after this time that the victorious Wahhabi Muslims and their helpers began to turn the country into a backward, highly conservative society. During the Siege of Mecca in 1979, Wahhabi fanatics seized the Grand Mosque and slaughtered hundreds of their hostages before they were overwhelmed. Since this event, Saudi Arabia has become even more fundamentalist and oppressive. There are signs of this situation improving, but they are few.


Country Name: Saudi Arabia
Coordinates: 26°35'N 43°92'E
Capital: Riyadh
Capital Coordinates: 24°39'N 46°46'E
Other Main Cities: Jeddah, Dammam, Mecca
Population: 29994272
Area: 2149690
Official Language(s): Arabic
Ethnic Group(s): 90% Arabs, 10% Afro-Asians
Demonym: Saudi Arabian
Currency: Saudi riyal, SAR
GDP: $927.762 billion
Time Zone: AST (UTC+3)
International Dialling Code: 966
Internet TLD: .sa
Electricity Voltage: 220 Volts AC (60Hz)



Saudi Arabia Expat Service Providers

Financial Considerations In Saudi Arabia

Taxation In Saudi Arabia

Healthcare In Saudi Arabia

Education In Saudi Arabia

Immigration In Saudi Arabia

Employment And Business In Saudi Arabia

Accommodation In Saudi Arabia

Relocation In Saudi Arabia

Social And Cultural Traits In Saudi Arabia

Living In Saudi Arabia



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Moving to Saudi Arabia

If you are considering moving to Saudi Arabia or are soon to depart, you can find helpful information and advice in the Expat Briefing dedicated Saudi Arabia section including; details of immigration and visas, Saudi Arabian forums, Saudi Arabian event listings and service providers in Saudi Arabia.

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Living in Saudi Arabia

From your safety to shoppingliving in Saudi Arabia can yield great benefits as well as occasional drawbacks.  Find your feet and stay abreast of the latest developments affecting expats in Saudi Arabia with relevant news and up-to-date information.

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Working in Saudi Arabia

Working in Saudi Arabia can be rewarding as well as stressful, if you don't plan ahead and fulfill any legal requirements. Find out about visas and passports, owning and operating a company in Saudi Arabia, and general Saudi Arabian culture of the labour market.

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