Living in the Middle East / Saudi Arabia

Overview of Saudi Arabia

Date Posted: February 16, 2016      

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Saudi Arabia) is a large, predominantly desert, country encompassing most of the Arabian Peninsula, with the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf coastlines. It is an incredibly diverse country, with forests, grasslands, mountain ranges and deserts making up its vast landscape.

At the heart of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan in the northwest, Iraq in the north and northeast. Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates in the east. Oman in the southeast, and Yemen in the south. The Arabian Gulf lies to the northeast and the Red Sea to the west. Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river; extensive coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through the Arabian Gulf and the Suez Canal.

Known as the birthplace of Islam, it is sometimes called ‘The Land of the Two Holy Mosques’ in reference to the religion’s two most sacred mosques: Masjid al-Haram, in Makkah – destination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage – and Medina’s Masjid an-Nabawi – burial site of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Indeed, the Saudi King carries an additional official title as the ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’.

It is a devoutly religious country and provides a unique opportunity to experience a society rooted in rich history and culture.

The population of Saudi Arabia is 27 million, including 8.4 million foreign residents (according to the 2010 census), and its capital city is the skyscraper-filled metropolis of Riyadh.

Over 70% of our employees – or Associates – in Saudi Arabia are expatriates, drawn to the country for the year-round sunshine, tax-free status and enriched career and financial opportunities.

It is also a country that affords families a comfortable standard of living with sporting and social opportunities within the thriving expat residential communities.