Islam, the second largest religion in the world, began in Saudi Arabia. Here, in the city of Mecca, the Prophet Muhammad received the word of Allah, which is found in the Qur’an. Muhammad died in the city of Medina in 632 A.D. Both cities are considered holy to Muslim people throughout the world.
Saudi Arabia Facts For Kids
- Riyadh is the capital.
- Largest Arab country in Asia.
- Oil-rich economy.
- King is the head of state.
- Home to Mecca, Islam’s holiest site.
- Arabic is the official language.
- Has a desert climate.
- Founded in 1932.
- Women gained driving rights in 2018.
- Borders 8 countries.
Saudi Arabian Culture
Located in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is a rich tapestry of cultural heritage and traditions that have endured for generations. The country distinguishes itself through its warm hospitality, vibrant festivals, and traditional music and dance.
The Saudi Arabian culture is exemplified by their traditional attire, with men donning the ‘thobe’ and women clad in ‘abaya’, usually in shades of black or white. Their renowned cuisine, featuring dishes like Kabsa, a spiced mixed rice often complemented with meat, is another integral part of their cultural identity.
For children, an intriguing aspect about Saudi Arabia is its status as the custodian of Mecca and Medina, Islam’s two holiest cities. These cities draw millions of Muslim pilgrims from across the globe annually to partake in the Hajj and Umrah rituals.
Riyadh City, the capital of Saudi Arabia, offers a captivating mix of history, culture, and modernity, making it an intriguing destination for children. As the country’s largest city, Riyadh boasts a population of over 7 million and is home to several remarkable landmarks such as the third tallest skyscraper, the Kingdom Centre Tower.
From the tower’s sky bridge, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the entire city. Riyadh also features a sizable zoo and the National Museum, offering exhibits about Saudi Arabia’s rich history. Despite its modern infrastructure and bustling streets, the city maintains its traditional charm, evident in its ‘souks’ or traditional markets offering a wide variety of unique items.
However, its desert location means summer temperatures can soar over 110 degrees Fahrenheit, which is important to consider when planning a visit.
Saudi Oil Reserves
Located in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia boasts the world’s largest oil reserves, making it a significant player in the global oil industry. The discovery of oil in the 1930s transformed the nation’s economy, making it an invaluable natural resource that serves various worldwide needs such as fueling cars and generating electricity.
The country’s commitment to managing this resource is epitomized by Saudi Aramco, the organization responsible for oil exploration, production, and sales. Thus, the vast underground oil reserves of Saudi Arabia play a crucial role, not only in its own economy but also in the global context.
Saudi Arabian Cuisine
Saudi Arabian cuisine, an exciting part of the nation’s cultural fabric, presents an intriguing gastronomical exploration for children. It is a rich potpourri of flavors, deeply rooted in the country’s nomadic history.
The national dish, Kabsa, embodies this culinary tradition with its spiced rice paired with meat, predominantly lamb or chicken. The cuisine also celebrates the popularity of dates and yogurt, staple food items that hold a special significance during the holy month of Ramadan, when they are typically used to break the fast due to their high natural sugar and nutrient content. Saudi Arabia’s culinary repertoire also includes delectable flatbreads and hummus.
A sweet delight that children particularly relish is Mutabbaq, a folded pancake filled with either cheese, nuts, or sweet beans, underscoring the diverse and tantalizing offerings of Saudi Arabian cuisine.
History of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia, a country known for its rich and ancient history spanning thousands of years, has been home to various tribes and empires including the Nabateans and Ottomans before transforming into its modern form.
The nation, founded in 1932 by Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, is now governed by his successors. A key fact for younger generations to remember about this country is its significance in the Islamic faith as it hosts two of its most sacred cities, Mecca and Medina.
Furthermore, the discovery of oil reserves in the 1930s greatly influenced Saudi Arabia’s economic and political evolution, making it renowned worldwide.
Saudi Arabia’s Economy
Saudi Arabia boasts one of the most formidable economies in the Middle East, largely underpinned by its oil industry. As the world’s top petroleum exporter, it derives the bulk of its revenue and employment from this sector.
The prosperity brought about by the oil industry has enabled Saudi Arabia to funnel investment into various sectors such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure. Nevertheless, the Saudi government is cognizant of the need for economic diversification and has rolled out the Vision 2030 plan.
This strategic blueprint is designed to wean the country off its oil dependency and stimulate growth in other areas like tourism, entertainment, and technology. Moreover, it is anticipated to generate a wealth of job opportunities for Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning young population.
Politics and Government
Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, is governed by a single ruler – the king. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the nation’s current monarch, has held absolute power over the government and its people since his ascension to the throne in 2015.
Unlike most nations, Saudi Arabia operates without a formal written constitution, instead deriving its fundamental laws from the Quran and Sunnah, the teachings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad. The king, in conjunction with his appointed Majlis al-Shura or Consultative Council, make the country’s laws and decisions.
This Council comprises 150 experts in various fields. Despite the absolutism, Saudi Arabia has shown signs of modernization and reform in recent years, notably by extending voting rights and driving privileges to women.
Mecca and Medina
Holding great historical and religious significance within the Islamic faith, Saudi Arabia is the home to Mecca and Medina, two of the most important cities in Islam. Mecca, the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad and the location of the Kaaba, is a central focal point for Muslims around the globe during their daily prayers.
It also draws millions of Muslims each year for the Hajj pilgrimage, a crucial observance that is one of Islam’s Five Pillars. Meanwhile, Medina is noted as the city where Prophet Muhammad resided and guided the Muslim community after his departure from Mecca and his final resting place. These elements contribute to Saudi Arabia’s prominence as a principal destination for Muslims worldwide.
Traditional Dress and Clothing
Saudi Arabia’s rich cultural heritage is deeply reflected in its traditional dress. Men and boys don a long white cloak, referred to as a ‘thobe’ or ‘dishdasha’, which covers most of the body, while a red-checkered headdress known as a ‘shemagh’ is worn for special occasions.
In contrast, girls and women are seen in a black cloak called an ‘abaya’ and a ‘hijab’, a type of headscarf. Foreign women, while not required to adopt the abaya or hijab, are nonetheless expected to embrace modest dressing.
The traditional attire of Saudi Arabia, while strikingly beautiful, is also practical, designed to provide comfort in the country’s hot desert climate.
Saudi Vision 2030
Saudi Arabia, a nation revered for its expansive deserts and rich cultural heritage, is currently in the throes of a transformative phase with its Vision 2030 plan, a strategic blueprint laid out by the Saudi government with the aim of revolutionizing the country’s socio-economic landscape.
This plan ushers in a promising future for the younger generations, offering amplified opportunities for education and fostering an environment for creativity and innovation. The Vision 2030 plan underscores the importance of digital skills, sports, and entertainment, in its quest to transform the nation into a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.
This heralds an exciting era for the children of Saudi Arabia, as the country’s future is being meticulously crafted with a keen focus on their interests and potential.
Saudi Arabia is an ancient country that has seen its share of conflicts, but it has been ruled by a monarchy since 1932. Saudi Arabia has had better relations with the western world than most Middle Eastern countries, but the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States strained relationships because most of the terrorists were from Saudi Arabia. Relationships have improved again in recent years.
Saudi Arabia has more oil than any country in the world. This fact has allowed it to become very wealthy. In the past, it was able to provide health care and education to its citizens without asking for taxes. The Muslim religion is very important to the people and government of Saudi Arabia.
In 2018 King Salman relaxed some of the strict rules for women. Women can now apply for driver licences and can travel on their own. Women are also allowed to vote and have unrestricted access to healthcare and other government services.
Fun Facts about Saudi Arabia for Kids
- 33,595,496 people live in Saudi Arabia (data July 2018).
- King Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is the current leader of Saudi Arabia.
- Arabic is the official language here.
- The capital of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh.
- There are 756,985 square miles.
- 95% of Saudi Arabia is desert or classed as semi desert.
- All people in Saudi Arabia are Muslim.
- People in Saudi Arabia can expect to live to be 74.8.
- 79 percent of adults can read.
- There are no rivers in Saudi Arabia making is the largest country in the world without a natural river.
- The Saudi riyal is the currency used here.
- Over 100 camels are sold in Saudi Arabia every day.
- The Arabian peninsula is the largest peninsula in the world.
- The Saudi Royal family are estimated to have a wealth of $14 trillion.
Saudi Arabia Vocabulary
- Allah: the one and only God worshipped by Muslims
- Holy: sacred
- Monarchy: governed by royalty
- Wealthy: rich in money and resources
- Chaperon: escort, helper
All About Saudi Arabia Video for Kids
Watch this awesome Saudi Arabia video for kids:
This is a video showcasing the culture of Saudi Arabia and touring their cultural landmarks.
Saudi Arabia Q&A
Question: Is Mecca an important city?
Answer: Mecca is considered the center of the Islamic world and the most holy site. Every year, millions of Muslims visit Mecca during the Hajj, a yearly pilgrimage. All Muslims are asked to visit Mecca at least once in their lifetime, as circumstances allow.
Map of Saudi Arabia
Here’s a map of the country of Saudi Arabia and all its cities and villages. Zoom in to get into street level or zoom out to see other countries around Saudi Arabia! You can see the terrain, but also see the roads, images of the buildings and even take a 3D tour through the streets of the cities of Saudi Arabia, as though you are actually there!