Saudi Arabia also known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a country in the Middle East. It borders the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, UAE, Yemen, and Qatar. In addition, the country borders the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a large country (the largest among the Gulf countries). The country has an area of 2, 149, 690 Sq Km (CIA, 2014).
Saudi Arabia had a population of 24.5 million in 2005. The population is expected to grow by 101% from 2005 to 2050. The population density is 13 per sq Km, 32 per sq Mi. the percentage of people living in urban areas is 86% , the rate of natural increase is 2,73% , while the total fertility/infant mortality rate is 4.5/23. The population of people aged less than 15 years is 37.2% of the population, while than f people aged more than 65 years is 2.7% f the total population. the Life expectancy of males is 69.93 while that of females is 73.76 (Blij & Downs 261).
Arabic is the national language of Saudi Arabia while Islam is the dominant religion. The CIA world fact book report that Saudi Arabia comprises of 90% Arabs and 10% Afro-Asian (CIA, 2014). About 85-90% of the Muslim population is Sunni while the minority Shia Muslims forms 10-15% (CIA, 2014). There is small number of protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern orthodox, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, and Jewish religions in Saudi Arabia. The CIA (2014) states that about 30% of Saudi Arabia’s expatriate population, belongs to different faiths. However, the practice of other faiths is limited since the government terms them as inconsistent with Sunni Islam.
The arable and permanent cropland area in 2003 was 37,980 (14,664) Sq km (Sq mi). The CIA world factbook notes that permanent crops occupy 0.11% of the arable land size while other crops occupy 98.44%. The total irrigated land is 16,200 sq miles. The forested area of land represented 1.3 % of the total land in 2000 while the protected areas represented 38.3 % of total land area in 2003 (Blij & Downs, 267). The average annual deforestation was 0.0 % changes from 1990 to 2000. The carbon dioxide emissions in metric tones per capital were 18.1 in 2000 (267). Saudi Arabia is not prone to earthquakes and other natural calamities. The recorded natural event in the area was less than 6.0 on the Richter scale. Water availability (millimeters per person per year) was 26-250 ml in Saudi Arabia (Blij & Downs, 267).
Saud Arabia has several natural resources; petroleum (which is the mainstay of the economy), natural gas, copper, gold and iron ore.
Moreover, in terms of land disposition, Saudi Arabia has a coastline of 2,640 K
Saudi Arabia largely consists of barren (desert) land. The area lies in a zone that is arid. The summers are dry and hot. The weather is harsh with the country recording extreme temperatures (Blij & Downs, 175).
Saudi Arabia’s desert climate and environment poses great challenges in environmental sustainability. The country’s main environmental issues are desertification, the depletion of underground water sources, and coastal pollution from oil spills due to the mining of crude oil. In addition, the country lacks rivers and resorts to desalination of seawater to obtain water for domestic use and consumption.
The largest city in Saudi Arabia is Riyadh with a population of 5.5 million. The second largest city is Jeddah with a population of 3.8 million (Blij & Downs 271). The third is Mecca-1.6 million people, Medina 1.18 million people, Al-Ahsa 1.06 million people. Other cities such as Ta’if, Dammam, Khamis Mushait and Buraidah have less than one million people. (Blij & Downs 271)
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has some great tourist attractions. The biggest national park is the Asir National Park near the around the hilly landscape near the city of Abha. The Asir national park covers an area of 450,000 hectares from the red sea into the countryside (angloinfo.com). Other national parks include Al Hasa national park (covering 45 square miles), Sa’ad national park found East of Riyadh and covering three square kilometers (angloinfo.com). The Harrat Al Harrah First National park I famed for its bird life and it is located in the North of the country.
Mountains and terrain
The lowest point in Saudi Arabia is the Persia Gulf at 0 m while the highest pint is Jabal Sawda at 3,133 m (CIA, 2014). The country has some volcanic mountains such as Harrat, Rahat, Harrat Lunayyir, Harrat Khaybar and Jabal Yar. The country does not have a river. In fact the CIA states that Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river. However, its large coastlines on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea provide significant advantage for shipping especially in the transportation of crude oil through the Suez Canal and the Persian Gulf.
The most popular beaches are found along the Red Sea coastline near Jeddah and Al Khobar on the Persian Gulf.
Blij Harm & Downs Riger College Atlas of the World. 2nd ed. Wiley. 2000. Print.
Central Itelligence Agancy (CIA) World factbook: Saudi Arabia. Web 2 December 2014 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
Agroinfo. Parks and beaches in Saudi Arabia. Web. 2 December 2014 http://saudiarabia.angloinfo.com/lifestyle/local-tourism/parks-beaches/