Saudi Arabia between the past and present
Saudi Arabia is a royal Arab country located in the Arabian Peninsula on three-fifths of its area. It is bordered by Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait from the north, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and the Arabian Gulf from the east, the Sultanate of Oman and Yemen from the south, and the Red Sea from the west.
Al Salafiya movement appeared in the era of Prince Mohammed bin Saud, with the emblem "there is no god but Allah, and Mohammad is the Messenger of God", calling for pure reunification and the disposal of any innovations or associates to God. This call appeared first in Najad under the rule of Al-Saud, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab was the first in Direya. The Emirate of Direya continued to expand till it encompassed the entire area.
In year 1818 AD - 1233 AH, the old military army composed of the Albanian soldiers moved to Direya by the Order of Muhammad Ali Pasha, but stayed there only about a year, then returned to it again after the death of his brother, Abdullah bin Faisal, in 1306 AH / 1888 AD. In this period, Prince Mohammed bin Rashid, the Emir of Hail, appeared in the field and extended his authority over a significant portion of the Arabian Peninsula and the Ottoman government strongly backed him up in Astana to stand in the face of Al-Saud. The second period of the mandate of the Imam Abdul Rahman Al Faisal finished and he left Riyadh with his family, then headed to Qatar and Bahrain and after to Kuwait. One of his family members was his son Abdul Aziz, who was in the second decade of life. When Abdul Aziz arrived with his father to Kuwait, he began thinking of returning to Riyadh.
King Abdul Aziz was able to enter Riyadh on the fifth day of the month of Shawwal 1319 AH, January 17, 1902. He managed to conquer Riyadh and overcome opponent Al Rashid, and was also able to combine Ihsaa and Qoutaif, and the rest of the Hijaz and Najad at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, led by Sultan bin Bejad between 1913 and 1926. Abdul Aziz became King of Hijaz on the eighth of January 1926, which was known later as the Kingdom f Hejaz and Najad. In 1934 a war broke out with Yemen which ended by the inclusion of the Asir province and part of the desert of the Empty Quarter. A royal decree was issued in September 23, 1932 AD which called for the unification of all state provinces, and which became known as the Saudi Arabia Kingdom, and this date became the National Day of the Kingdom with King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud King of Saudi Arabia.
There are about 14 main Saudi Arabia cities:
» Mecca: the sacred city and the aim of Muslims is located in the western side. Its population is more than 1 million and a half.
» El Medinah El Monawara: the sacred city which contains the Messenger's Mosque and the Prophet's tomb. It contains most of the Islamic most famous mosques like Kabaa Mosque and El Koblatain Mosque. Its population is more than 1 million, in addition to visitors; it is located west of the Kingdom.
» El Riyadh: the Capital and governance center. Its population is more than 5 million people.
» Jeddah: the second largest Saudi city. Its population is more than 3 million people. And it is considered the economical capital of the Kingdom and the Two Sacred Mosques' Gate.
» Al Dammam: is located on the eastern coast. It is the eastern port of the country that overlooks the Arab Gulf. It contains the first oil well discovered - Al Khair Well, and after the discovery Al Dammam grew and became more important as being the center of oil fields administration (either the marine in the Gulf waters or the land in the desserts of the Empty Quarter and Dahnaa). Its population is more than 1 million people.
In the past, the movement from east to west across the Kingdom or from north to south or even between the interior was hard and took tens of days, given the wide geographical area, the distant urban from each other, the diversity of terrain and the difficulty of its tracks, in addition to the lack of paved roads and the scarcity of modern means of transportation.
Now Saudi Arabia has the largest network of roads in the Middle East after the Arab Republic of Egypt as it varies between land, air, and marine roads. As to land roads, they vary from one region to another and there is a railway linking between King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam port and between the dry port in the city of Riyadh passing by Ihsaa, Dhahran, Baqeeq, and Hard. While asphalted roads extend to a great distance, the most important are: Hijaz - Riyadh road, Riyadh - Dammam road, and the South road.
The Kingdom's ports are divided into:
» Commercial ports: King Abdel Azziz Port in Dammam - Jeddah Islamic Port - King Fahed Port in Jubeil - King Fahed Port in Yanbuh - Jazzan Port.
» Industrial ports: King Fahed Industrial Port in Jubeil - King Fahed Industrial Port in Yanbuh.
» Oil Ports: Ras Tanoura Port - Al Jouaima Port - Ras Al Khafaji Port - Rabegh Port - King Fahed Industrial Port in Yanbuh.
» Passenger transport ports: Jeddah Islamic Port - Dabaa Port.
» Fishing Ports: Kutaif - Al Kanfaza - Allaith - Ras Tanoura - Tarout - Dareen - Yanbuh.
The Saudi Kingdom has 27 airports:
- King Fahed Bin Abdel Azziz Airport in Dammam
- King Khaled Bin Abdel Azziz Airport in Riyadh
- King Abdel Azziz Airport in Jeddah
- Prince Mohammad Bin Abdel Azziz in El Medinah El Mounawara
- Abha Regional Airport in Asser
- Hael Regional Airport in Hael
- Al Qasseem Regional Airport in Qasseem
- King Abdullah Bin Abdel Azziz Regional Airport in Jeezan
- Tabook Regional Airport in Tabook
- Al Taif Regional Airport in Meccah
- Al Qaisouma Domestic Airport in the Eastern Region
- Al Ihsaa Domestic Airport in the Eastern Region
- Al Jawf Domestic Airport in Al Jawf Region
- Al Krayat Domestic Airport in Al Jawf Region
- Douma Al Jandal Domestic Airport in Al Jawf Region
Cultural and Social Life:
The Saudi Culture has strengthened and developed within the framework of the Islamic teachings and legislations. One of the most sacred parts of the world, Mecca and Medina, are located in the territory of Saudi Arabia; every day in the five prayers times, they summon for praying and Muslims head to the mosques across the country to perform their prayers. Thursday and Friday are the public holidays in the country.
The Saudi official uniform for men is a long shirt made of cotton called dress, in addition to Al Shammagh which is a piece of cloth made of cotton lined with red fixed on the head with black Ikal or Ghatra which is a white piece of cloth made of light cotton, and both are put on the head. In some formal occasions, like holidays and weddings, some Saudis prefer to wear in addition to the above, Al Basht or the shawl. The traditional Islamic dress of Saudi women is a black cover for the body and called Al Abaya in addition to the head cover veil.
Saudi Arabia strictly prohibits eating pork and drinking alcohol of all kinds, depending on the vision of the Islamic law, and bread and rice are considered important in each meal. The famous dishes in Saudi Arabia are Kabsi, Ghozi, and Mendi. Arabic coffee is one of the most important traditions of Saudi society and one of the most important aspects of hospitality, usually offered with dates, of different types. Also Arab tea which is often mixed with mint is one of the habits of the Saudi society, which is drunk in informal gatherings between friends and family and also in formal occasions like engagements and weddings.
One of the most famous national habits in Saudi Arabia which is practiced collectively is Al Arda, and is considered the national dance in Saudi Arabia. It is a dance with swords inspired by the old nomadic traditions, accompanied by drum beatings and singing traditional poems. Al Najdi Arda is a group of folkloric dances, and each region in Saudi Arabia has a particular method. It is the result of the evolution of an old Arab habit known to the Arabs since Pre-Islamic Era during war; and though there are no written texts from the ancient Arab tradition which link between it and the nowadays Arada, but it is clear that the elements of the basic Arada accompanies war since the Pre-Islamic Era, as drums are hit in war since old times, sword is carried, and enthusiastic poem is a basic element in war.
Al Najdi Arda, as known, is an art of war people used to perform after victory in the battles before the unification of the country when war prevailed in the Arabian Peninsula. The requirements of this type of art is a flag, swords, and guns for chanters of war poems, while there is a group of drummers beating it on harmonious rhythm with chanters; and the drummers standing in the back are called fermentation drums, while those in the center perform special dances to the drums forums, and there is a flag carrier in the middle. Nowadays the Najdi Arda is performed during festivals, weddings, and national events seasons in the presence of the Saudi King, princes, and citizens.
In addition Arda dance, there is also Al Diha Dance, widespread in the north of the country and in Jordan, as well as in Al Sihba, famous in the Hijaz, and is originally inspired by the old Andalusia Arab in Makkah, Madinah, and Jeddah. Dance and singing are accompanied by flute tunes. The drum is also one of the important musical instruments in Saudi Arabia popular dances.
And Saudi Arabia remains rapidly developing in all sectors and fields, where it managed to be one of the biggest and most important economical, cultural and intellectual countries...