System of government: Monarchy
Location: In the Arabian Peninsula, between the Persian (or Arabian) Gulf, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. It has borders with Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, the Yemen Arab Republic and South Yemen (Yemen PDR)
Area: 2,149,690 sq km
National composition: Mostly Arabs, with Indian, Pakistani, African and European minorities. Much of the country is empty desert.
Official language: Arabic
Currency: Riyal = 100 halalas
Administrative divisions: 6 major provinces and 12 major provinces
Other major cities: Jiddah, Mecca (Mohammed’s birth place), Al-Qatif, Medina (Mohammed’s burial place)
Highest elevation: Asir range (3,133m)
Chief rivers: The country has no permanent rivers. Seasonal streams occupy wadis
Climate: Tropical and extremely arid climate, with hot summer; average summer temperatures between 25 degree C and 34 degree C
Desert cover nearly nine-tenths of Saudi Arabia. The Great Nafud, a sand desert in the north, is connected by the Ad Dahna sand belt with the Rub’ al Khali (the ‘Empty Quarter’) in the south. Continuous vegetation cover is found only along the coast and in oases. Elsewhere there are only occasional drought-resistant plants. The wildlife includes antelope, gazelle, hyena, jackal, leopard and wolf. Oil dominates the economy. Saudi Arabia’s oil-fields on the Persian Gulf are the world’s largest, containing about one-third of the world’s total oil resources. As a result, Saudi Arabia is one of the richest countries today. It is using revenue from oil sales to diversify the economy and raise living standards.