Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Current local time in Riyadh: Wednesday, May 22 - 2013 - 02:24:18
An historical building at Ad-Diriyyah, Saudi Arabia
courtesy of arabianEye.com
Saudi Arabia occupies four-fifths of the Arabian peninsula. Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, the Gulf of Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen border it. To the west lies the Red Sea.
Riyadh (Ryad), the royal capital, is a modern city built on the site of the original town. Apart from the fort and a few traditional Najdi palaces near Deera Square, little trace of the old town remains.
The west coast is a centre for trade, but of equal importance is the concentration of Islamic holy cities, including Mecca and Medina. The region also includes the city of Jeddah, until recently Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic capital, which remains the most important commercial and cultural gateway to the country.
Mecca is the spiritual centre of the Islamic world. Places of significance to Muslims include the Kaabah Enclosure and the House of Abdullah Bin Abdul Muttalib, where Muhammad was born.
Priority has been given to the preservation of the ancient city of Jeddah, but leisure facilities have increased and the corniche has a ‘Brighton’ feel about it. The main meat meal of the day is lunch, usually either kultra (meat on skewers) or kebabs served with soup and vegetables.
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Information in this section was last updated: Fri Apr 12 2013