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Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia is named after both the Arabian Peninsula, on which the country sits, and the Al Saud family, the ruling family of the country. The name Arabia has been used for thousands of years and is also the root of the names for the Arab people and Arabic language.

WARNING: Terrorist threats linger in Saudi Arabia, please read this travel warning before going!

Introduction:

Despite being a large country, the culture and way of life in Saudi Arabia are fairly uniform from region to region. This is because Saudi Arabia is the home of Islam and the religion's two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina, are both located in the country. For this reason alone the culture is rooted in Islam and the lifestyle that Islam demands. Being home of the religion, the country must remain conservative to match the attitudes of the most religiously conservative Muslims throughout the world.

In order to maintain the protection of these cities, their holy sites, and the religion as a whole the country has created and enforces very strict laws which are in accordance with Sharia (or Islamic) Law. This is done partially to satisfy the Muslim pilgrims who travel to Saudi Arabia every year, many of whom are very conservative, but also due to domestic attitudes, beliefs, and wishes.

The actual laws in Saudi Arabia are not as strict as they appear, but everyone tends to be more conservative than required as social etiquette demands this. For example, although women don't have to legally cover their faces all women do so. Many of these dress and behavioral restrictions are also divided by sex as men and women are not allowed to touch each other unless married.

Despite the social conservatism in Saudi Arabia, from a technological viewpoint the country is very advanced. Since the discovery of oil, the country has become quite wealthy and the government has used much of this money to advance their technology, but also their social programs.

Today the people are becoming more and more educated in every field, but the oil industry seems to be driving this rapid growth. With each year the country is also becoming more educated as many new jobs are "white collar" positions in every field from engineers in the oil industry to doctors assisting the huge population, although education levels are still improving.

Saudi Arabia continues to be a balance between a country with a modern and advanced economy and a socially conservative country, creating an odd, almost seemingly impossible balance in the daily way of life. This balancing act may seem to be contradictory, however the people believe in the system and the government so there seems to be little argument as Saudi Arabia continues to move forward.

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Map of Saudi Arabia:

Map of Saudi Arabia

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Information for Saudi Arabia was last updated: November, 2012 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks