Full name: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Population: 26 million - about 31% of the population is made up of foreign nationals
Area: 2.24 million sq. km
Major Language: Arabic
Major Religion: Islam
Currency: Saudi riyal
Main Export: Oil & Gas
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has become one of the wealthiest nations in the region thanks to vast oil resources. The Kingdom is one of the main players in the Arab and Muslim worlds; its stature is built on its geographic size, its prestige as the custodian of the birthplace of Islam and status as major oil producer.
The working population in the Kingdom is very multi-cultural due to the job opportunities, competitive salaries and benefits for all nationalities.
Saudi Arabia follows the Hejira calendar, which is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar. The weekend is Thursday and Friday, with Friday being the holy day.
With its rich heritage and colourful past, Saudi Arabia is well-endowed with Arab tradition and culture. The Kingdom has over 600 storytelling and literary events, folklore and Saudi dance festivals, and dramatic arts festivals. Of these, the colourful Janadriya Festival is the largest single event, being national in scope and celebrating all aspects of Saudi culture including the fine arts, folk dancing, painting, weaving, literature, traditional and modern poetry.
Almost all items and well-known brands available in Europe and North America can be found in Saudi Arabia. Malls also have an array of restaurants and fast food outlets like Domino's Pizza, KFC and Starbucks. In addition to the modern malls, you will find every town has a variety of traditional shopping centres, and especially a number of fascinating souks (covered markets).
For an update on healthcare developments in Saudi Arabia, have a look at this blog post.