17 Weirdest Things in Saudi Arabia
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|Weird things in Saudi Arabia. Photo: CNN
Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in recent years toward bettering the lives of its citizens. To lessen its reliance on its massive oil reserves, the kingdom is also continuing to invest heavily in its infrastructure and future development.
However, you may never see anything like these anywhere else in the world except Saudi Arabia...
1. More than 100 camels are sold in the capital of Saudi Arabia every day
2. Saudi Arabia is the only country where women are forbidden to drive.
While there is no outright ban on women drivers in the conservative Islamic state, foreign visitors are required to obtain a Saudi license. Women are not granted these licenses, making it impossible for them to legally operate a motor vehicle.
3. Saudi Arabia is erecting the world's tallest building, which will be 1 kilometer tall — taller than 492 LeBron Jameses standing on top of one another.
The Jeddah Tower, also known as the Kingdom Tower, will be the tallest building in the world. It is predicted to reach a height of 1,024 feet (or 3,280 feet).
But Iraq has its own plans to outdo the Saudis, with a tower called The Bride that will be 500 feet taller than the Jeddah Tower.
LeBron James is 2.03 meters (6 feet) tall.
4. Non- Muslims aren’t allowed to step foot in Mecca and Medina.
Don't even think about trying to sneak into Mecca or Medina, the two holiest cities in Islam, if you aren't a Muslim.
The judge may order deportation or impose a hefty fine as punishment.
5. Every shop in Saudi Arabia will close immediately during salat (prayer time).
Don’t be surprised, it’ll open immediately after, Lovin Saudi cites.
6. Saudi Arabia's annual military expenditure is four times as much as the GDP of Afghanistan.
In 2014, Saudi Arabia spent $80.8 billion on its military, up from $67 billion the year before. This ranks the country fourth in terms of military spending, after the United States, China, and Russia.
7. Gambling is in principle illegal.
|Gambling is in principle illegal. Photo: Twitter
The punishment for gambling can be as severe as six months in jail, but many Saudis play poker and gamble online using virtual private networks (VPNs).
8. Being gay or transgender is illegal.
According to human-rights activists with the Blue Veins group, two transgender people were stuffed into bags, beaten with sticks, and tortured to death in March of 2017.
Changing one's gender surgically is against the law in Saudi Arabia.
9. No public displays of affection.
Be careful where your hands are since the new public-decency code expressly forbids public displays of affection.
PDA is subject to a maximum fine of 3,000 riyals ($800).
10. The kingdom's Ghawar oil field has enough reserves to fill 4,770,897 Olympic swimming pools.
The kingdom has substantial oil reserves. The largest oil field in the world is in Saudi Arabia, at Ghawar. The remaining oil is thought to be 75 billion barrels.
The volume of a pool that is Olympic in size is 660,253.09 gallons.
11. On average, one person has been executed every other day in Saudi Arabia in 2015.
The number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year is at least 151, the highest number since 1995. This grim new milestone in the use of the death penalty by Saudi Arabian authorities is the result of an unprecedented wave of executions.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia's annual execution toll has hardly ever surpassed 90.
12. Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river.
|Photo: Business Insider
With 830,000 square miles, Saudi Arabia is the second-largest Arab nation after Algeria and the thirteenth-largest country in the entire world.
An Nafud and Rub al-Khali are two of the largest desert regions, and 95 percent of the nation is classified as a desert or semidesert. The amount of arable land is only 1.45%.
Although it lacks a river, its "extensive coastlines on the Red Sea and Persian Gulf provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through the Red Sea and Suez Canal.
13. Saudi Arabia's population is slightly bigger than Texas', but Texas' GDP is nearly twice as large.
Around 28.8 million people called Saudi Arabia home in 2013, which is a little more than Texas' 26.5 million people. Saudi Arabia's GDP, however, was only about $750 billion in 2013, compared to Texas' $1.4 trillion GDP.
Additionally, Texas would rank 13th in terms of GDP if it were its own nation, just above Australia and below Spain, even though Saudi Arabia has the 19th-largest GDP.
Overall, this indicates that Saudi Arabia and Texas are the more productive countries.
14. Saudi Arabia's petroleum sector makes up 45% of GDP, which makes it bigger than the total GDPs of Iraq, Morocco, Rwanda, and Tonga combined.
The value of Saudi Arabia's petroleum industry is estimated to be $335.372 billion.
Morocco's GDP is $104.4 billion, Rwanda's is $7.451 billion, Tonga's is $466 million, and Iraq's is $222.879 billion.
15. The expected cost of the Kingdom Tower's construction is 19.2 times as much as the amount Taylor Swift made last year.
|Kingdom Tower. Photo: Youtube
The Kingdom Tower is expected to cost $1.23 billion.
Taylor Swift reportedly raked in $64 million in 2014.
16. The zig-zag-shaped border between Saudi Arabia and Jordan is rumored to be a byproduct of Winston Churchill's love of boozy lunches.
A peculiarly shaped border that separates Jordan and Saudi Arabia is known as Winston's Hiccup or Churchill's Sneeze.
That line was allegedly drawn by Winston Churchill "with a stroke of a pen, one Sunday afternoon in Cairo" after "a particularly liquid lunch."
17. Almost 60% of the labor force in Saudi Arabia is foreign.
The labor force of the kingdom has undergone some structural improvement, but it still depends largely on foreign labor. Saudi nationals continue to work primarily in the public sector with little incentive to enter the private sector or to increase productivity.
Notably, foreigners make up the majority of Saudi Arabia's workforce in both the oil and service industries.
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