Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a state in Asia, in the Middle East. It is largely located on the Arabian Peninsula. It is about six times the size of Germany, but has not even half as many inhabitants. Almost the entire country is desert.

Mohammed, the founder of Islam, lived in two cities in this country, Mecca and Medina. Today, many Muslims, the followers of Islam, want to make a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina once in their lives. There they pray in huge mosques and walk around the Kaaba, an ancient sacred building.

Until 1918, the area around the two cities belonged to the Ottoman Empire. But for centuries there had been the powerful Saud family among the tribes in the desert. One of them, Ibn Saud, founded the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932. Unlike the kingdoms in Europe such as Great Britain or Denmark, the Saudi king rules in an absolutist manner. This means that he makes all decisions himself and has no parliament to consult beforehand.

Saudi Arabia has almost 30 million inhabitants. But several million of them are foreigners, mostly from other Arab countries. They are important to get the job done. Saudi Arabia is a rich country because of oil. Saudi Arabia produces the most oil from the ground in the world.

The country cooperates a lot with western countries like the USA or Germany. However, the royal family likes a very strict direction of Islam, Wahabism. This has great consequences for the inhabitants of Saudi Arabia: women were not even allowed to drive cars for a long time. Homosexuals were persecuted. On the flag, the creed of Islam is written in Arabic script: "There is no god but God and Mohammed is his prophet."

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