If you are interested in Oriental culture and history, you should visit one of the biggest countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia. When we look from the historical and religious aspects, this country is mostly known as the heart of Islam, with the city Mecca where religious people are coming for pilgrimage. However, this desert country has much more to offer. As one of the biggest producers of oil, Saudi Arabia is one of the richest countries in this part of the world. Therefore, having so many amazing monuments and modern buildings is not a surprise.
Saudi Arabia was closed for visitors from many countries for a long time. However, they decided to open their borders for tourists last year, for around 50 countries. Also, they are aware that the whole world will become less dependent on oil, and they decided to invest more in architecture, entertainment, and tourism. Also, they are removing some restraints to attract more visitors from western countries, such as a ban for women to drive and allowing unmarried couples to rent apartments. They also announced some relaxation of the dress code, which might lead to the allowance for women to walk around the public places without the burka. Moreover, this country has so much to offer, and if you are interested to visit Saudi Arabia, here are some of the most important things you need to know.
If you are from some western country, you will probably find it unusual when you notice that most of the public spaces have separate areas for men and women. While the law about the clothes is used, especially for women, which now can walk without a cloak, it is still forbidden to dress provocatively. Also, you should avoid taking photos of local people before you ask them. Moreover, never play music during the prayer time, which is considered as an offense. You should learn more about the time when they are having prayers, because shopping malls, restaurants, and stores are closed during that time. Furthermore, you should know that alcohol and drugs are illegal in Saudi Arabia.
Local people are well-known as being polite and friendly to foreigners and don’t get surprised if some of them invite you to lunch or coffee at their home. Moreover, always accept a gift, and eat and drink with your right hand. When you are visiting someone in Saudi Arabia, you should take off your shoes before going into their home. Also, local people will be interested in your culture, but you should avoid themes related to religion and politics.
Considering that this country is in the Middle East, many people from western countries have a question about the security of traveling there. However, you should know that Saudi Arabia is completely safe, and you are free to visit all of its parts. The only important thing is to respect their cultural and official laws. You should learn more about their tradition, dress code, the meaning of some monuments, and many other things before you go there.
What makes this oriental country so unique is a great contrast between historical monuments and modern structures. Some of the most interesting places here are Al-Jawf, Dammam, Hofuf, Jeddah, Jizan, Mecca, Qassim, and Riyadh.
- Al-Jawf; This city is in the northern parts of the country, and the main attractions here are many historical monuments and ancient towns. You should visit Sakakah City, Dumat Al-Jandal, and Al-Rajajil Site.
- Dammam; Even though it is not as popular as some other places like Riyadh and Doha, there are many interesting sites you can visit in Dammam, such as Dolphin Village, Corniche, Center for World Culture, Tarout Castle, Regional Museum, and the Coral Island.
- Hofuf; This city is another amazing place where you can enjoy on the beach or by having a walking tour across the town. The most interesting parts of Hofuf are Al Ahsa National Park, shopping venue Qaisariah Souq, Ibrahim Palace, and Al-Qara Caves.
- Jeddah; The second biggest city in Saudi Arabia is a well-known pace when it comes to shopping. Also, this place was a center for trades for a very long time. The main attractions of this place are King Fahd’s Fountain, Fakieh Aquarium, City Gates, Museum, and Floating Mosque.
- Jizan; This place is different from other cities because of the diversity in nature since Jizan is not completely in the desert, which means that this place is perfect for people who love hiking.
- Mecca; This town represents the holiest site for Islam since the Mohammad is born here. Each year, millions of people are coming to this place for a pray. Also, you can see amazing monuments, mostly related to religion.
- Qassim; If you would like to visit some festivals where you can enjoy the tradition and food of local people, the best city for that is Qassim. Besides that, you should visit Buraidah Water Tower, Camel Market, King’s National Park, and Buraidah Museum.
- Riyadh; The capital of Saudi Arabia is a place where you can see the full meaning of that contrast between tradition and modern architecture, with ancient ruins, old palaces, and skyscrapers, all of them in one place. The most interesting monuments are Al-Musmak Castle, Al Murabba Palace, AlFaisalya Center, and National Museum.
As you can see, Saudi Arabia has a long history and rich tradition. You can learn a lot about history from visiting multiple museums in each town. People are friendly to strangers and always interested in talking. Oriental food is also delicious. What makes Saudi Arabia so unique is an amazing combination of the modern way of living and tradition that they respect for centuries. If you are planning to visit this country, you will need a visa, and since they allowed foreigners to come as tourists, the price of eVisa is less than $200, and the process of application is simple, you can read more about the terms of getting an eVisa at evisa.express/en/saudi-arabia.