life abroad

Saudi Arabia - RIYADH

Officially known as the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia (KSA), Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and the second largest in the Arab world. Saudi Arabia is the only country with a coastline along both the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Riyadh is the capital and largest city, with Mecca and Medina offering important cultural and religious centres. Jeddah, on the Red Sea coast, is the second-largest city followed by Dammam in the Eastern Province.

Located in the heart of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is known for its beauty and charm, where you will find both the rich history and culture as well as exciting modern life style.  A bustling metropolis, Riyadh is the centre of business, shopping, culture and entertainment, with events and festivals taking place throughout the year.

Riyadh has many excellent tourism attractions.  Kingdom Centre Tower is a favourite spot for tourists and locals, especially at dusk to watch the sun set over the desert.  You should take the journey all the way to the 99th floor of the world's third tallest building with a hole in to experience a panoramic view of Riyadh.  The National Museum has an ambitious span - from the history of Islam to the geology of the area, the lavish cars of the founding king and more.  Architect Raymond Moriyama was inspired by the form and colours of the sand dunes of the 'Red Sands' just outside Riyadh.  Also known as the Star Dome, the Al Faisaliyah Centre is a commercial skyscraper which houses a shopping centre stocked with well-known brands, a cigar lounge and several restaurants.  The golden ball within this distinctive building is the site of a particularly luxurious eatery.  Otherwise, shop in the magnificent malls, markets or souks scattered throught the city, or eat in vast variety of restaurants and cusines.

The most important religious annual celebration is Eid Al Fitr, following Ramadan.  Festivities take place throughout the city across three days and visitors are welcome to join in marking the moment when Ibrahim was willing to sacrifice Ismael, his son, for Allah.

The climate varies between the regions, providing a subtropical high-pressure system. Generally the Kingdom is hot in the summer and cold in winter where the rain falls often. Temperatures in the Riyadh region vary between 20°C and 50°C during the different seasons.  In summer when the temperature rises you will find perfect opportunities for doing business, shopping and entertainment in various malls and facilities in Riyadh, which are built according to the latest standards in air conditioning, providing mild and pleasant environment to do different types of activities.  In the closing part of the summer, desert breeze turns out nice and crisp in the night.  In winter, when the temperature drops, you will find great weather during the day and tangy cold at night giving a wonderful opportunity for visitors to enjoy sitting in front of the fire and enjoy a barbecue, whether you are having a picnic in a desert of living within the city.  Rains in Riyadh offer wonderful cool breeze from the desert environment surrounding the city.

Though dress codes are stricter than in many neighbouring countries, new recent laws request men and women should dress modestly.  Men are required to wear long trousers and a shirt.  Shorts, singlets and going topless are unacceptable for men and should not be seen in public at all.  Women are required to cover shoulders and knees and the traditional abaya and headscarf is now not necessary.