Saudi Arabia is a desert country encompassing most of the Arabian Peninsula, with Red Sea and Persian (Arabian) Gulf coastlines.
Known as the birthplace of Islam, it is home to the religion’s 2 most sacred mosques: Masjid al-Haram, in Mecca, destination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, and Medina’s Masjid an-Nabawi, burial site of the prophet Muhammad.
iyadh, the capital, is a skyscraper-filled metropolis.
Abha is the capital of Asir province in Saudi Arabia.
It is situated 2,200 meters above sea level in the fertile mountains of south-western Saudi Arabia, near Asir National Park.
Abha’s mild climate makes it a popular tourist destination for Saudis.
Jeddah, a Saudi Arabian port city on the Red Sea, is a modern commerical hub and gateway for pilgrimages to the Islamic holy cities Mecca and Medina.
Resort hotels, beaches and outdoor sculptures line the Corniche, a seafront promenade anchored by the iconic King Fahd’s Fountain.
The city’s Al-Balad historic district dates to the 7th century and retains traditional homes built from coral.
Mecca, in a desert valley in western Saudi Arabia, is Islam’s holiest city, as it is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the faith itself.
Only Muslims are allowed in the city, with millions arriving for the annual Haji prilgrimage.
Dating from the 7th century, the central Masjid al-Haram or Sacred Mosque surrounds the Kaaba, the cloth-covered cubic structure that is Islam’s most sacred shrine.
Medina is a city in western Saudi Arabia.
In the city center, the vast Al-Masjid (Prophet’s Mosque) is a major Islamic pilgrimage site.
Its striking Green Dome rises above the tombs of the Prophet Muhammad and early Islamic leaders Abu Bakr and Umar.
The Masjid al-Qiblatain is known as the site where the Prophet Muhammad received the command to change the direction of prayer to Mecca.
Nov-Mar is a popular time to visit, when the temperatures are mild and there is occasional rain.
Al Janadriyah is a national festival celebrating traditional culture and heritage, whose program includes camel racing and arts events such as operetta and Al Ardah folkloric dance.
Temperatures become extremely hot and rain is rare in May to Sept.