Saudi Arabia Facts
The name of the city of Jeddah, where Eve's tomb is said to be located, could come from the word for grandmother: Jaddah.
The Archaeological Site of Al-Hijr, formerly known as Hegra, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008. Al-Hijr is a site of the Nabataean civilization dating from the first century BC to the first century AD. There are also inscriptions and cave drawings from an earlier period.
For thousands of years the Saudis have been mining gold, silver and copper. A mine some two hundred miles from Jeddah, known as the Cradle of Gold, was once the greatest gold mine in all of Africa and the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia's most important cities are Mecca, birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed and Medina, to which the Prophet moved in 622 AD.
Mecca and Medina are the two most holy places for Muslims.
The Holy Mosque in Mecca was the first place of worship for Muslims.
As well as daily prayers, the mosque is also a place for various gatherings and education.
Saudi Arabia has a unique responsibility to the world of Islam since one of the Five Pillars of Islam or religious duties of every Muslim is the Pilgrimage, or Hajj, to the Holy City of Mecca once in his or her lifetime.
Richard Burton, the British explorer, entered Mecca in 1853 disguised as a Muslim.
Colonel T.E. Lawrence, a British soldier, known as Lawrence of Arabia, helped defeat the Turks in the 1914-1918 war. His account of the campaign is written in his book, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
The Saudi Company, ARAMCO, is the world's largest producer of oil.
Saudi Arabia was a founding member of OPEC.
Saudi Arabia has built a number of industrial cities as part of the plan to expand the non-oil sector of the economy.
The King Fahd Causeway, linking Saudi Arabia to Bahrain, is fifteen and a half miles long and is one of the longest causeways in the world.
In 1985 Prince Sultan Ibn Salman travelled aboard the space shuttle Discovery becoming the first Arab and first Muslim to travel in space.
In May 2003 May suicide bombers killed thirty-five people at housing compounds for Westerners in Riyadh just hours before the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, arrived for a planned visit.
In January 2006 three hundred and sixty-three Hajj pilgrims were killed in a crush during a stone-throwing ritual in Mecca.
In early 2011, at a time of unrest across the Arab world, protestors asked for employment and housing reform.
Saudi Arabia allowed female athletes to compete in the Olympics in 2012 for the first time.