Saudi Arabia Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Saudi Arabia Population and cities


According to Countryaah website, around 30 million people live in Saudi Arabia.

Ethnic composition

The country’s population consists of around 73% Saudi Arabians (over 30% of which are nomads and semi-nomads). Another 27% are foreign guest workers, most of whom come from the Near East and Black African region. Most of them come from India, Pakistan, Iran, the Philippines, Indonesia and Sudan.

Religious affiliation

The state religion in Saudi Arabia is Wahhabism. This is an extremely strict branch of Sunni Islam. Overall, around 98% of Saudi Arabia’s residents are Muslim. Approx. 76% are followers of Wahhabi Islam, a further 12% belong to other Sunni schools of Islam and about 10% are Shiites – especially in the Eastern Province. In addition, there are around 2% Jews, Christians and Hindus (foreign workers). However, practicing religions other than Islam is prohibited in Saudi Arabia. National


Arabic is the official language in Saudi Arabia. However, English is mostly used as the language of business and teaching at the country’s universities.

Capital and other cities

The capital of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh with about 7 million residents. According to Abbreviation Finder, SAU stands for Saudi Arabia in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

Other larger cities are:

  • Jiddah, with about 3.2 million residents
  • Mecca, with approx. 1.5 million residents
  • Medina, with about 1.8 million residents
  • Dammam, with about 750,000 residents
  • Taif, with approx. 420,000 residents


Ad’Diriyah is located 20 km northwest of Riyadh on the banks of Wadi Hanifah. This ancient city steeped in history was once the capital of the first Saudi state. Today it offers not only old buildings and streets but also the mosque, the school and the home of Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahab.

Jeddah (Jeddah)

Jeddah on the Red Sea is particularly worth seeing. The warm and humid climate is not for everyone. The city, however, has a wonderful old town with beautiful merchant houses, most of which consist of Ottoman architecture. Many of the old buildings have recently been lovingly restored. Jeddah still offers a wide range of leisure facilities and promenades. The bay in particular is a paradise for sailors and divers. The atmosphere is friendlier and more relaxed than in Riyadh, for example.


Medina is among other things the place where the Prophet Muhammad died and is buried. His grave is in the impressive, tearfully beautiful Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (= Prophet’s Mosque), also known as Qubbat al-Nabi (= “Prophet’s Dome” or “Green Dome”). This breathtaking sacred masterpiece was built on the spot where Muhammad’s home used to be. The entire house later became part of the mosque when it was expanded under the Umayyad caliph al-Waleed ibn Abd al-Malek. The mosque built by Muhammad in 623 was also included in the Prophet’s mosque; it is the second holiest mosque in Islam. The holiest is the Al-Masjid al-Haram in Al-Makkah and the third holiest is the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Al Quds (Jerusalem). Al-Madinah also has the very first mosque of Islam, the Masjid Quba. It is considered the fourth holiest Islamic house of God.

A detailed description of the city of Medina and its special features can be found here >>>


Makkah is the holiest place of Islam thanks to the holy mosque Al-Masjid al-Haram with its seven minarets and the holy Ka’bah inside. The annual pilgrimage to Makkah is one of the cornerstones (arcane) of Islam, along with the profession of faith, giving alms, prayer (five times a day) and the celebration of the fasting month of Ramadan. Hajj is prescribed and should at least once in the life of a Muslim who is financially and physically able to do so. Islam knows two types of pilgrimages to Makkah: The main pilgrimage (Hajj) takes place during the Muslim month of Dhu al-Hijjah and brings between 2 and 3 million believers to meet in Makkah. The smaller pilgrimage, the Umrah, can be done at any time of the year.

A detailed description of the city of Mecca and its special features can be found here >>>


Ar-Riyad (Riyadh), the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a metropolis with millions of people, whose name means “The Gardens” in its German translation. About 20% of the Saudi population live here. In pre-Islamic times, the Hajar settlement was located where Riyadh today extends. This was built at the confluence of several rivers, whereby these have dried up over the centuries and are only preserved as wadis today. But at that time they provided fertile soil. The former settlement was famous for its date palms and the many orchards. The name Riyadh is a reminder of these circumstances.


This popular holiday resort is located a little above Makkah, on a 900 m high cliff on the edge of a plateau. The climate here is pleasant and moderate.

Saudi Arabia: geography

Saudi Arabia occupies the greater part of the Arabian Peninsula, which in turn consists predominantly of an extensive plateau with a desert landscape and bare volcanic rock. To the southwest of it lies the Asir Mountains. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Saudi Arabia.

To the west, Saudi Arabia borders the Red Sea and to the east is the coast of the Persian Gulf, which is lined with swamps and salt flats.

The desolate desert area of the “Rub al-Chali” (“Empty Quarter”) extends over the southern part of the country. There are no rivers or lakes in Saudi Arabia.

Area and land use

Saudi Arabia covers an area of 2,149,690 km².


  • ForestAbout 0.6% of the country is forest or scrubland.
  • Meadows and pasturesApprox. 39% of the land is used as meadow or pasture land.
  • Fields and fieldsAbout 1.76% of the land is used as arable land or fields, especially for growing wheat, barley, fruit and vegetables.
  • DesertsAround 60% of the country consists of the Rub ‘al Khâli, Nafûd, Dhana and Najd deserts.
  • MountainsIn the south of Saudi Arabia are the Asir Mountains.

National borders

Saudi Arabia borders the following seven states:

Iraq, with a length of 814 km,

Jordan, with a length of 744 km,

Kuwait, with a length of 222 km,

Oman, with a length of 676 km,

Qatar, with a length of 60,

United Arab Emirates, with a Length of 457 km as well as

Yemen, with a length of 1,458 km.


The coastline of Saudi Arabia has a length of 2,640 km.

Tidal range

In Saudi Arabia, the mean tidal range of the Persian Gulf is only around 0.4 m. The tidal range of the Red Sea is between 0.6 and 0.9 m.


The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada. It is up to 16 m there, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax.

On the German North Sea coast, the tidal range varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, it is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Saudi Arabia extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from 16 ° to 32 ° 10 ‘north latitude Δλ = from 34 ° 35′ to 56 ° east longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

For Saudi Arabia, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time (without daylight saving time). A minus sign means that it is earlier there and a plus sign that it is later than after CET:

Δt (CET) = + 2 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

Highest level of the sun in Riyadh

Riyadh lies at a northern latitude of around φ = 24.5 ° and thus just outside the tropics.

When the sun or its image point is at the northern tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 °, summer starts in Riyadh, this is June 21. Accordingly, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

24.5 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °


H = 89 °

89 °, i.e. almost vertical, is the highest level above the horizon (exactly: above the horizon) that the sun can take in Riyadh.


Jabal Sawdâ

The highest mountain in Saudi Arabia is Jabal Sawdâ with a height of 3,133 m.

Other high mountains are:

  • Jabal al Lauz, with an altitude of 2,580 m
  • Jabal Radwa, with a height of 1,814 m
  • Jabal at Tubaiq, with a height of 1,366 m
  • Jabal az-Zalma, with a height of 1,258 m


There are no rivers in Saudi Arabia, but there are many wadis (dry river beds) that only carry water after heavy rainfall.


There are no lakes in Saudi Arabia.


There are a few tiny islands offshore, the largest of which is Jazyrat Farasan in the Red Sea.

Red Sea, Persian Gulf

Saudi Arabia borders on:

Red Sea

The Red Sea is a strait between the northeast of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It is around 2,190 km long and around 378 km wide near Asmara – but otherwise almost everywhere more than around 200 km. At Bab al-Mandab, in the strait at the transition to the Gulf of Aden, it is only a little more than 13 miles wide. Its area covers around 270,000 km². In the north it is connected to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal and in the south via the Gulf of Aden to the Indian Ocean. Its greatest depth is at 2,605 m. The salt content of the water is quite high at 4.2% and leads to good visibility under water (divers) due to reduced algae growth. The Red Sea borders Egypt, Eritrea, Israel, Yemen, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. On the border with the Gulf of Aden – on the African side – there is still Djibouti.

Persian Gulf

The Persian Gulf lies between Iran, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula. It covers an area of 235,000 km² – with a maximum depth of around 100 m and a water content of around 6,000 km³. In the south it goes over the less than approx. 60 km wide and strategically very important Strait from Hormuz into the Gulf of Oman and then into the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean as part of the Pacific Oceanover. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf also includes the following countries: Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The inflow of “fresh water” comes from the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers – the Shatt al-Arab – on the border between Iraq and Iran.

Saudi Arabia Population