The Saudi Arabia Portal - بوابة المملكة العربية السعودية
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country on the Arabian Peninsula. It's borders with Jordan on the north, Iraq on the north and north-east, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates on the east, Oman on the south and south-east, and Yemen on the south, with the Persian Gulf to its north-east and the Red Sea to its west. It is called "the land of the two holy mosques", a reference to Mecca and Medina, Islam's two holiest places. It is also referred to as Saudi Arabia (pronounced in English /ˈsɒdɪ əˈɹeɪ̯bɪə/), السعودية /ælʕɑrɑˈbiː æsːæʕuːˈdijːæ/ or, less commonly, KSA.
The First Saudi State was established in the year 1744 (1157 A.H.) when Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab settled in Diriyah and Prince Muhammad ibn Saud (of Diriyah) agreed to support and espouse Wahhab's cause, with a view of cleansing the Islamic faith from what they considered to be distortions of Islamic practice (see Wahhabism). The House of Saud and its allies rose to become the dominant state in Arabia, first subduing Nejd, then extending their influence over the eastern coast from Kuwait down to the borders of Oman. The Saudis also brought the highlands of 'Asir under their suzerainty, and their Wahhabi forces conducted raids on the frontiers of Iraq and Syria, culminating in the sacking of the Shi'a holy city of Karbala in 1801.
Abraj Al Bait, in Mecca, is the tallest skyscraper in Saudi Arabia. With a height of 601m, it is considered the 2nd tallest building in the world.
Did you know that a whole new city is being built on the shore of the Red Sea, King Abdullah Economic City (Arabic:مدينة الملك عبدالله اللإقتصادية), a multi-billion economic project revealed in 2005 in Saudi Arabia. This future city will be located along the red sea, around 50km north of Jeddah. The city is fairly small (55 km²), 35km in length. However, it will have huge buildings and high skyscrapers that would be important landmarks in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. The project cost is about 100 Billion Saudi riyals (US$26 Billion). The King Abdullah Economic City will be a multi-stage development with construction beginning on Wednesday, 21 December 2005. This mega project will closely integrate itself into the Kingdom’s on-going drive to expand the economy, create employment opportunities for its youthful population and function as a catalyst to attract foreign investment, global trade, commerce and industry. Based on initial forecasts, the project and its several components will create up to 500,000 employment opportunities in the various industries and service-oriented companies that will open in the City.
Jeddah is the major urban center in western Saudi Arabia, the largest in the Western Province, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city Riyadh. The population of the city currently stands at over 3.4 million. It is considered as the commercial capital of Saudi Arabia and the wealthiest city in the Middle East and western Asia.
Jeddah is the principal gateway to Mecca, the holiest city of Islam, which able-bodied Muslims are required to visit at least once in a lifetime.
The city was founded as a fishing village over 2,500 years ago, but first achieved prominence in 647 A.D., when the Muslim caliph Othman ibn Affan turned it into a port for Muslim pilgrims making the required hajj to Mecca.
Jeddah was for centuries the main city of the historic Hejaz province and historic port for pilgrims arriving by sea on their pilgrimage or hajj to Mecca.
At the end of the 17th century, the Ottoman Turks conquered Hejaz, including the holy city of Mecca and Jeddah. The Ottomans rebuilt the city walls of Jeddah following their victory over Lopo Soares de Albergaria's armada in the Red Sea.
During World War I, Sharifs of Hejaz whom were the Ottoman commanders of the area had revolted against Turkish empire seeking independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.
A few years later, King Ibn Saud, whose clan originated in the central Nejd province, conquered Mecca (1924), Medina, and Jeddah, and deposed the Sharif of Hejaz, Hussein Bin 'Ali Al Hashem, who fled to Cyprus, settling eventually in Amman, Jordan, where his descendants became the Hashemite royal family.
In this way, as part of Hejaz, Jeddah came under the sway of the Sa'ud dynasty. In 1926, Ibn Sa'ud added the title King of Hejaz to his position of Sultan of Nejd. Today, Jeddah has lost its historical role in peninsular politics, historic Hejaz province along the west coast having been subdivided into smaller provinces, with Jeddah falling within the new province of Makkah with its provincial capital Mecca .
Prince Sultan bin Salman was a colonel in the Royal Saudi Air Force and astronaut. He is a grandson of King Ibn Saud and is the only Saudi citizen to travel in space. He was also the first Arab, the first Muslim and the first member of royalty in space.
Prince Sultan was born 27 June 1956, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the second son of Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. He completed his elementary and secondary education in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He obtained master'sdDegree in social and political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, USA. He is a certified civil pilot (FAA, USA-1976) and a fighter pilot, Colonel (retired)- Royal Saudi Air Force.
In 1982, he was appointed to the position of researcher in the Department of International Communications at the Ministry of Information in Saudi Arabia.
In 1984, he served as Deputy Director for the Saudi Arabian Olympic Information Committee at the Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Later that year, when the Department of Advertising was created at the Ministry of Information, he was appointed its Acting Director.
In 1985, he flew as a Payload Specialist on STS-51-G Discovery (17-24 June 1985). As one of a seven member international crew, which also included American and French astronauts, he represented the Arab Satellite Communications Organization (ARABSAT) in deploying their satellite, ARABSAT-1B.
Upon conclusion of his space flight, he helped in founding the Association of Space Explorers, an international organization comprising all astronauts and cosmonauts who have been in space, and served on its Board of Directors for several years.
In 1985, he was commissioned as an officer into the Royal Saudi Air Force. He holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and is qualified in several military and civilian aircraft.