Destinations » Asia » Middle East »
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
WARNING: Terrorist threats
linger in Saudi Arabia, please read this
travel warning before going!
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
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.
Learn More About Saudi Arabia:
Map of Saudi Arabia:
Start your trip to Saudi Arabia with our free Travel Planner: