In just a few days, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will celebrate their National Day. Buildings, roads and cars will be decorated with Saudi flags, there will be traditional festivals, folklore dances, songs and friends and family will come together to mark the occasion. Here at joi we have a specialist category of National Day gifts that people can send in celebration, and we have put together a list of some amazing facts about Saudi Arabia that you definitely didn’t know.
First a little history…..
Saudi National Day commemorates the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by King Abdulaziz. The visionary King had fought tirelessly to unify the country after decades of upheaval and uncertainty from warring tribes and competing interests. King Abdulaziz, head of the Al-Saud family, was finally able to unite the country under the name Saudi Arabia on 23rd September 1930 and since then the day has been a major celebration every year. Citizens come together to honor traditional customs, celebrate the nation and pay homage to those who helped build the country, including the ruling Al-Saud family.
Think you know Saudi? Think Again….
That Would Make One Awesome Risotto….
350 million years ago there was a 20 foot mushroom (yes, a mushroom) in Saudi Arabia. Scientists claim it is likely to have been the largest living thing on dry land at the time.
Unsurprising, given its desert climate, there are lots of camels in Saudi, but did you know that over 100 camels are sold every day in the capital city of Riyadh.
Up, Up and Away
Many countries around the world would like to claim they have the world’s tallest building, but in 2019 that honor will be bestowed upon Saudi. Jeddah Tower, in Jeddah, will rise through the clouds at 3,280ft tall (quite a bit more than the Burj Khalifa’s 2,717). Designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill of Chicago, it will be the first building in the world to reach the 1km high mark. The project is expected to cost well over 1 billion dollars.
King of the Kingdom
The Saudi king’s official title is “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.” Since January 2015, the monarch has been King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Too Much For Michael Phelps
Saudi’s oil reserves are envied the world over and their Ghawar oil field is the largest in the world. It has enough oil to fill 4,770,897 Olympic swimming pools. We’re pretty sure even Michael Phelps couldn’t swim that many!
Thank Goodness For The Coast
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world that doesn’t have a river. It is the 13th largest country in the world at 830,000 square miles, but 95% of the country is considered desert or semi-desert and only 1.45% of the land is arable.
Youth Will Rise
The population of Saudi Arabia is overwhelmingly young. Only 5% of the population is over 60 compared to 47% that is under 24. With such a contrast to more ageing populations (like Japan) this bodes well for the modernization of such an important country.
Money, Money, Money
Around 45% of Saudi’s GDP comes from its petroleum sector, it accounts for over $300 billion, which is also bigger than the total GDPs of Iraq, Morocco, Tonga and Rwanda, combined. But in a crucial effort to diversify the economy, 6 new ‘economic cities’ are being built. They will add millions of new jobs and are projected to add an extra $150 billion to the GDP – that is 3.5 times the total GDP of Kenya.
Ready For Anything
Saudi Arabia spends 10.4% of its GDP on its military. (The US spends around 3.5%). Their commitment to security, training and equipment will ensure it has a first-class military able to protect the Kingdom and assist allies around the world.
Women To Be Proud Of
Traditional restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia have often prevented them from succeeding in certain walks of life, but there are several signs that this is changing and that an evolution in attitudes is occurring. More than half of the college and university graduates are women, in 2015 17 women were elected to public office positions in an historical election where women could vote for the first time and in February 2017 Sarah Al Suhaimi became the first woman to chair the Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange. In May this year, King Salman also announced further rule relaxations for women that many hope will open up their ability to access services without a male relative.
A beautiful and fascinating country, Saudi Arabia has a lot to be proud of as it celebrates its National Day and no doubt there will be some amazing festivities for everyone to enjoy. If you, or someone you know is celebrating or you would like to mark the occasion with something sweet, make sure you visit joi and you can have something special delivered in Jeddah or Riyadh.