Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia and the largest city on the Arabian Peninsula. It is located on the eastern part of the Najd plateau at about 600 metres above sea level. Its name means gardens or meadows, so it is named due to a natural fertility provided by its location at the juncture of Wadis Ḥanīfah and Al-Baṭḥā.
Riyadh grew from a small, fortified desert village in the 17th century into a modern metropolis in the 20th century. The population of this city currently ascends to 7.6 million people, being the 3erd largest city in the Arab world.
Riyadh is also the political and administrative centre of the country as it's the headquarters of the government bodies, such as the Saudi Royal Court and the Council of Ministers of Saudi Arabia.
It has a hot desert climate with long hot summers and short, mild winters. The average high temperature in August is 43.6 °C. The precipitations are very low in summer, receiving the most during the months of March and April. It is also known due to their heavy dust storms that on certain occasions can become so thick that they can cause the suspension of classes at schools and cancellation of hundreds of flights.
Data and Facts
Saudi Arabia is an Islamic absolute Monarchy in which Sunni Islam is the official religion.
As residents of a major city in a Muslim country, Riyadh’s inhabitants adhere to a number of social norms that include segregation of the sexes and the need to protect the privacy of the family. Public gatherings are mainly restricted to male attendants, however, many activity centres allow women and families to attend at special times or in reserved areas.
- The city celebrates the Unification of the Kingdom as a public holiday annually on the 23rd of September.
- Riyadh hosts more than 4000 mosques in the city.
- The Kingdom Centre is the tallest skyscraper in the country and one of the tallest in the world.
- Country motto: There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
- The Head of State, since 2015, is King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
- Currency: Saudi riyal.
- The GDP nominal is US$762 billion per year. GDP per Capita ascends to US$ 56,8.
The city is divided into 14 municipal districts and the Diplomatic Quarter, managed by the Municipality of Riyadh headed by the mayor of Riyadh, and the Royal Commission for Riyadh which is chaired by the governor of the Province, Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud. Each municipality contains several districts being in total 130 of them.
The chief administrator of the city is the major, currently Tariq bin Abdul Aziz Al-Faris, who is appointed by the King of Saudi Arabia.
The executive branch for the Development of Riyadh is the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) which is responsible for the socio-economic, cultural and environmental development of the city.
The public sector is the largest employer in Riyadh due to its condition as the country’s capital. It hosts numerous government public services, it employs more than one-third of the city’s workforce and is the source of approximately half of Riyadh’s total production of goods and services. Every publicly quoted company is compelled by law to have an office in the city.
In the private sector, more than two-fifths of the workforce is employed in services, about one-fourth in construction, more than one-fifth in trade, and about one-tenth in industry, producing machinery, equipment, metallurgical goods, chemicals, construction materials, food, textiles , furniture and publications.
Saudi Arabia was among the world’s 25 top exporters in 2016, shipping US$207.6 billion worth of goods around the globe. Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest oil reserves which are concentrated largely in the eastern province. It has also the world’s sixth largest natural gas reserves
Saudi Arabia’s highest-value exports are crude and processed petroleum oils. Other exports include ethylene polymers (plastics), organic chemicals, petroleum gas, tugboats and pusher craft, and aluminium according to the International Trade Centre.
Riyadh is also of great economic importance, as it is the headquarters of many banks and major companies including Saudi Arabia's central bank and several national banks
Olaya district is the commercial heart of the city, with accommodation, entertainment, dining and shopping options.
Riyadh is also the location of the King Abdullah Financial District, one of the world's largest financial centres. The district is still under construction but it will consist of 59 towers in an area of 1.6 million square meters. It will provide more than 3 million square meters of space for various uses, 62,000 parking spaces and accommodation for 12,000 residents.
We can also mention that the world’s largest water desalination company is headquartered in Riyadh. Daily, the Saline Water Conversion Corporation produces 4.6 million cubic meters of desalinated water as of June, 2016.
Riyadh is served by an advanced infrastructural framework that includes modern networks of transportation and communications. It also includes a large number of electric power stations and it stands out the fact that two thirds of the city's water is drawn from the desalinated industry.
Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport is the city's main airport and one of the largest in the world by land area. It serves over 17 million passengers a year even though it was built only for 12 million so there are plans to expand this construction.
The airport is located 35 km north of Riyadh and consists of 5 passengers terminals.
The city is served by a modern major highway system connecting the south and north, while the Northern Ring Road connects the east and west.
Railway and metro
The Saudi Railway Organization operates two passengers and cargo lines between Riyadh and Dammam.
There are two future projects approved to connect the city with Jeddah and Mecca. It is also planned to open 6 lines of metro in 2020.
The main company, known as the Saudi Public Transport Company, offers trips within the kingdom and neighbouring countries.
Over the past decade the prosperity of the country has been fuelled by the oil and gas exportation but there is an implemented plan to spend the growth by 2030 in which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is set to become the global leader of the digital economy through the full deployment of emerging technologies, data science, Cyber security, cloudification, Blockchain and machine learning.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
Riyadh’s numerous educational institutions accommodate students at all levels of learning. At the beginning of the 21st century, there were about twice as many male as female students enrolled in Riyadh’s universities. The educational system for women has been developed gradually and there are now a number of schools registered in Riyadh for female-only education at all levels.
King Saʿūd University, oldest university in the country, founded in 1957.Islamic University of Imam Muḥammad ibn Saʿūd, founded in 1953.
King ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz City, which carries out research designed to promote the enrichment of the Saudi society through technological development.
King Khālid Military College (1982)
King Fahd Security College, originally established in Mecca in the mid-1930s.
Riyadh provides its residents free health care services throughout public medical centres and hospitals. There are also a number of private clinics specialized to treat patients with a rare or extreme condition. In some cases, patients even travel from abroad to receive these services.
It stands out the Riyadh Tv Tower, built in the early 1980s, operated by the Ministry of information. The National Saudi television channels emit through this tower. The television broadcasts are mainly in Arabic however some radio channels are also in English and French.
The main newspapers are in arabic
- Asharq Al-Awsat, owned by the city governor,
- Al Riyadh
- Al Jazirah
We can also find 2 newspapers in English, Saudi Gazette and Arab News, and one Malayalam language newspaper called Gulf Madhyamam.
The music of Riyadh includes both Western and traditional music. Saudi traditional music is quite limited. However, the migratory lifestyle of the bedouin mitigated against carrying excess baggage, including musical instruments. Simple rhythms, with the beat counted by clapping or striking together everyday implements formed the basis of the music in the country.
Riyadh is proud to contain a large amount of historical and cultural centres among the city. It was selected as the cultural capital of the Arab world in 2000 by UNESCO.
The King ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Historical Centre displays the history of the foundation of the kingdom and possesses a collection of restored buildings including a mosque, library, and conference hall. A number of other cultural facilities are located in Riyadh, including the National Museum, which houses a variety documents and antiquities, and the National Library.
The traditional sport of Riyadh was camel racing. It used to be and still is very popular in Saudi Arabia however nowadays the most popular sport is Football. The city hosts 4 major football clubs: Al Hilal, Al Nasr, Al Shabab and Al Riyadh; and has several large stadiums such as King Fahd International Stadium where the FIFA Confederations Cup has been hosted 3 times.
The other popular sports among Saudis are basketball, Volleyball, handball, gymnastics, swimming, cycling, archery, and table tennis