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Saudi Arabia honeymoon

Saudi Arabia has many beautiful landscapes ranging from the desert, oases, mountains and beautiful beaches.

The History of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia traces its roots back to the earliest civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula. Over the centuries, the peninsula has played an important role in history as an ancient trade center and as the birthplace of Islam, one of the world’s major monotheistic religions.

Since King Abdulaziz Al-Saud established the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, its transformation has been astonishing.

In a few short decades, the Kingdom has turned itself from a desert nation to a modern, sophisticated state and a major player on the international stage.

Early History
The first concrete evidence of human presence in the Arabian Peninsula dates back 15,000 to 20,000 years. Bands of hunter-gatherers roamed the land, living off wild animals and plants.

As the European ice cap melted during the last Ice Age, some 15,000 years ago, the climate in the peninsula became dry. Vast plains once covered with lush grasslands gave way to scrubland and deserts, and wild animals vanished. River systems also disappeared, leaving in their wake the dry river beds (wadis) that are found in the peninsula today.

This climate change forced humans to move into the lush mountain valleys and oases. No longer able to survive as hunter-gatherers, they had to develop another means of survival. As a result, agriculture developed – first in Mesopotamia, then the Nile River Valley, and eventually spreading across the Middle East.

The development of agriculture brought other advances. Pottery allowed farmers to store food. Animals, including goats, cattle, sheep, horses and camels, were domesticated, and people abandoned hunting altogether. These advances made intensive farming possible. In turn, settlements became more permanent, leading to the foundations of what we call civilization – language, writing, political systems, art and architecture.

An Ancient Trade Center
Located between the two great centers of civilization, the Nile River Valley and Mesopotamia, the Arabian Peninsula was the crossroads of the ancient world. Trade was crucial to the area’s development; caravan routes became trade arteries that made life possible in the sparsely populated peninsula.

The people of the peninsula developed a complex network of trade routes to transport agricultural goods highly sought after in Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley and the Mediterranean Basin. These items included almonds from Taif, dates from the many oases, and aromatics such as frankincense and myrrh from the Tihama plain.

Spices were also important trade items. They were shipped across the Arabian Sea from India and then transported by caravan.

The huge caravans traveled from what is now Oman and Yemen, along the great trade routes running through Saudi Arabia’s Asir Province and then through Makkah and Madinah, eventually arriving at the urban centers of the north and west.

The people of the Arabian Peninsula remained largely untouched by the political turmoil in Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley and the eastern Mediterranean. Their goods and services were in great demand regardless of which power was dominant at the moment – Babylon, Egypt, Persia, Greece or Rome. In addition, the peninsula’s great expanse of desert formed a natural barrier that protected it from invasion by powerful neighbors.

Culture & Art

The culture of Saudi Arabia is a rich one that has been shaped by its Islamic heritage, its historical role as an ancient trade center, and its Bedouin traditions.

Saudi society has experienced tremendous development over the past several decades. The Saudi people have taken their values and traditions – their customs, hospitality and even their style of dress – and adapted them to the modern world.

The Crossroads of the World

Located at the center of important ancient trade routes, the Arabian people were enriched by many different civilizations. As early as 3,000 BC, Arabian merchants were part of a far-reaching trade network that extended to south Asia, the Mediterranean and Egypt. They served as a vital link between India and the Far East on one side, and Byzantium and the Mediterranean lands on the other.

The introduction of Islam in the 7th century AD further defined the region’s culture. Within a century of its birth in the Arabian Peninsula, Islam had spread west to the Atlantic Ocean and east to India and China. It fostered a dynamic period of great learning in culture, science, philosophy and the arts known as the Islamic “Golden Age.”

And every year for the past 14 centuries, Muslim pilgrims from around the world travel to holy sites in Makkah and Madinah, further enriching the region’s culture. The pilgrims brought ivory from Africa and carpets from the East, and took local goods back to their homelands.

When the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was formed in 1932, King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman dedicated himself to preserving Arab traditions and culture, and his sons and successors have done the same.

Arab and Islamic Traditions

Saudi traditions are rooted in Islamic teachings and Arab customs, which Saudis learn about at an early age from their families and in schools.

The highlights of the year are the holy month of Ramadan and the Hajj (pilgrimage) season, and the national holidays that follow them. The holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, culminates with the Eid-Al-Fitr holiday, in which it is customary to buy presents and clothes for children and visit friends and relatives.

The other highlight is the Hajj season, during which millions of Muslim pilgrims from around the world come to Makkah. The Hajj season concludes with the Eid Al-Adha holiday, in which it is traditional for families to slaughter a sheep in memory of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son.

Arab traditions also play an important role in Saudi life. These age-old traditions have evolved over the millennia and are highly regarded. They include generosity and hospitality, which every Saudi family offers to strangers, friends, and family. The simplest expression of hospitality is coffee – its preparation alone is an intricate cultural tradition, and it is often served in small cups along with dates and sweets. Another gesture of hospitality is the burning of incense (oud) to welcome guests.

Sports and Recreation

Both traditional and modern sports are popular in Saudi Arabia. The people of the Arabian Peninsula have enjoyed sports for thousands of years, including horse and camel racing, falconry and hunting with hounds. Today, modern sports are also popular – especially soccer.

A special effort has been made to encourage sports and make them accessible to the public. Hundreds of facilities have been established throughout the Kingdom so that all Saudis can exercise regularly or enjoy popular spectator sports.

In addition, all levels of the Saudi educational system – from kindergarten through university – emphasize the importance of sports.

Modern sports

Soccer is by far the most popular modern sport in Saudi Arabia. Saudis of all ages have taken the game to heart, from children scrimmaging on playgrounds to international matches battled out in spectacular modern stadiums.

There is a professional Saudi soccer league that is wildly popular among Saudis – friends and families often gather to cheer on their favorite teams, both on television and in stadiums. The highlight of the Saudi soccer league is its championship tournament known as the King’s Cup. Fans also avidly follow the Saudi Arabian national soccer team in World Cup competition.

In addition to soccer, other organized sports have gained a following among Saudis, including volleyball, gymnastics, swimming and basketball.

Saudi Arabia has a number of first-class golf courses. American expatriates introduced golf to Saudi Arabia in the late 1940s when they created a course in the sand near Dhahran. They mixed oil with the sand to keep the course from blowing away, a method that is still used in the Kingdom. Today, there are lush, green courses in that look like they belong in the tropics.

Sports facilities

The Kingdom has a number of different types of sports facilities, ranging from major sports complexes to neighborhood facilities and clubs.

The huge sports complexes, called Sports Cities, are located in large population centers. Each complex has a stadium that can seat between 10,000 and 60,000 people, an indoor stadium seating 5,000, Olympic-size swimming pools, indoor and outdoor courts, playgrounds, conference halls, and sports medicine clinics.

Smaller than the Sports Cities, neighborhood sports facilities and playgrounds were built in large urban areas so that young Saudis can play sports like basketball and volleyball near their homes. These centers offer parks, open spaces, and facilities for indoor activities.

Local sports clubs are located in all cities and towns. They offer a range of facilities for different sports, including soccer fields, indoor and outdoor courts, swimming pools, playgrounds, recreational areas and accommodations for youth camps. These clubs organize local events throughout the year.

About Saudi Arabia

Flag green background, with in white letters the Muslim creed in Arabic: "There is no god but God: Muhammad is the Messenger of God."

Emblem a date palm, representing vitality and growth, and two crossed swords, symbolizing justice and strength rooted in faith.

Location southwest Asia, at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa; extending from the Red Sea in the west to the Arabian Gulf in the east; bordered on the north by Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait, on the south, by Yemen and Oman, and on the east by the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.

Terrain varied; fairly barren and harsh, with salt flats, gravel plains and sand deserts; a few man-made lakes but no permanent streams; in the south, the Rub Al-Khali (Empty Quarter), the largest sand desert in the world; in the southwest, mountain ranges of over 9,000 feet.

Climate

June through August, over 110 degrees Fahrenheit midday in the desert; humidity in coastal regions up to 100 percent; elsewhere, mild; possible winter temperatures in the northern and central regions dropping below freezing; rainfall, from none at all for up to 10 years in the Rub Al-Khali, to 20 inches a year in the mountains of Asir Province.

Population as of the 2007, 24 million, including about 6.5 million expatriates.

Religion

Islam, which is the basis of the legal system and of government.

Language

Arabic; English widely spoken in urban areas.

National Day

September 23, commemorating the foundation of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.

Rulers

King Abdulaziz bin Abdelrahman Al-Saud, the founder (1932-1963), followed by his sons: King Saud (1953-64), King Faisal (1964-75), King Khalid (1975-82), King Fahd (1982-2005) and the current ruler, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

Source: www.saudiembassy.net

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Comments (1)

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    Jul 28, 2012 at 07:59 AM

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