Saudi Arabia History, Language and Culture

History of Saudi Arabia

Sandwiched between the Empires of Rome and Asia, Saudi Arabia was an important trade centre where caravans laden with highly prized spices, myrrh and frankincense traversed the Arabian Peninsula.

Around the year 610, Saudi Arabia became the birthplace of Islam when Prophet Muhammad, a native of Makkah, received a message from Allah through the Angel Gabriel. When the Prophet started to preach the oneness of God, his popularity grew and many converted to Islam. In 622, Prophet Muhammad led his followers to the town of Yathrib, which was later renamed Madinat Al-Nabi or Medina. This event, known as the Hijrah, now marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.

The modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia started in 1932 when King Abdulaziz successfully united various tribes into one nation. The new nation quickly embarked on various plans to modernise through economic and social development initiatives. In recent years, in the wake of a diminished oil market, Saudi Arabia has been keen to diversify its economy away from its dependence on oil. Tourism, healthcare and tech-based industry are some of the areas that the government is expanding.

Did you know?
• Arabic words and sentences are written and read from right to left, and books and papers from back to front.
• Saudi has a high population of youth. In 2020, young people aged 15-34 made up 36.7% of the Kingdom's population.
• Saudi Arabia has a desert climate but its mountains in the northern region receive snowfall from time to time.

Saudi Arabia Culture


About 83% Sunni Muslims and 9% Shia Muslims. There are many foreigners working in Saudi Arabia and they have different faiths.

Language in Saudi Arabia

Arabic. English is also widely spoken (many Saudis speak excellent English).

Language phrases

Common Arabic Phrases
• It's nice to meet you = Forsa sa'eda or Tasharrafna
• Do you speak English? = Tetkalam Engleezy?
• I don't understand much Arabic = Ma afham Arabi
• What is your name? = Eysh Esmk?
• My name is … = Ismii …
• How are you? = Kaif halak? Kaif al hal? or Kafik?
• I'm fine, thank you = Ana bikhayr shukran
• How much? = Kam? or Be kam?

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.