The Flag of Saudi Arabia
The Arabic text on the flag is the Shahadah or Creed, which is the corner stone of Islam. It translates as "There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah".
The emblem of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia consists of two crossed curved Arabian swords surmounted by a date palm.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia situated among three continents: Asia, Africa and Europe. It is part of west Asia and is parallel to the eastern coast of Africa. They are separated by the Red Sea which is the main passageway to the Mediterranean that is linked to Europe and then to the Atlantic Ocean through Gibraltar.
Area and Population
The area of Saudi Arabia is 2,240,000 square kilometers. Its territories stretch between 36-34 degrees longitude to the east of Greenwich. It is between 34-32 degrees latitude. The total population is around 24,500,000 people.
Constitution of The Country
The constitution of the Kingdom is the Holy Qur’an, the book of Allah that Allah revealed to the last of His messengers and prophets, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him). The Kingdom follows the Islamic Sharia (the law of the true and tolerant religion Islam), as the basis for its source of legislation and procedures. Among the most important objectives of the Kingdom at the foreign affairs level is serving Islam and Muslim all over the world to enhance pan-Arab and Islamic solidarity and to contribute to world peace and security.
The Flag and Emblem
The flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is oblong, green spreading from the mast till its end with the words of Tawheed (the testimony of Islam) “La Ilaha Ilala Allah Muhammad Rasoul ul Allah”, written with the Thuluth calligraphy in white color. Under these words, there is a drawn sward with its hilt towards the mast in white color as well. The emblem of the Kingdom consists of two Arabian swords crossed against each other, on top of them there is a date-palm tree. The two swords represent justice, power and sacrifice. The date palm represents growth, prosperity and vitality.
Official Name and National Day
The official name of the Kingdom is “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”. It is called for short sometimes Al-Saudia (Saudi Arabia) or Al-Mamlakah the Kingdom. The national day falls on the first day of Libra, 23rd of September. It commemorates the anniversary of the unification of the Kingdom by the late King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud within a unified entity and a strong integrated state.
Calendar and Timing
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia follows the Higri Calendar, based on the date of the migration of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon Him) from Makkah to Madinah. This calendar based on the lunar year, 12 months each 29 to 30 days. Many establishments use both the Higri and Gregorian Calendars.
Timing in the Kingdom is Greenwich plus three hours (GMT + 3).
Government Offices Timing
Official timing in the government departments is from seven to eight hours daily. It starts mostly at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. from Saturday through Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are official weekends.
In the private sector, work hours are eight hours a day. Friday is a holiday. On Thursday, there is a half-day work hour from morning until noon. Office hours distributed into two shifts in private offices from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The weekend holidays in the government departments and educational institutions are on Thursday and Friday. I n the private sector weekly holiday is only on Friday. The seasonal holidays are the two holidays of the Eid Al-Futr (the feast that comes by the end of the holy month of Ramadan) about one week holiday. Eid Al-Adha, the feast that comes by the end of pilgrimage about ten days holiday.
The annual academic holiday is almost three months. It usually starts towards the end of June and ends by the beginning of September.
The official currency in the Kingdom is the Saudi Riyal. It is equal to one hundred halalas. Currency denomination starts with one Riyal, five Riyals, ten Riyals, twenty Riyals, fifty Riyals, one hundred Riyals, two hundred Riyals and five hundred Riyals. One US Dollars is equal to Saudi Riyal 3.75.
A big road network interconnects Saudi Arabia. Transportation is available between and within the regions. Road transport is available by taxicabs (called limousine) and by busses. Car rental (driver not included) is also available in all cities of the Kingdom. Air transport is ideal for transportation among the cities of the Kingdom, as distances are quite long. Saudi Airlines and Sma Airlines and Nas Airlines operate domestic flights. The number of domestic airports in the Kingdom is twenty-six airports, in addition to three international airports: King Khalid Airport in Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah and King Fahad Airport in Dammam. All main airports have transportation services using SAPTCO busses and airport taxicabs.
Administrative Areas of Madinag Region
The Madinah Munawarah Region comprises six governorates/cities surrounding it. These governorates are Yanbu, Al-Ula, Al-Mahd, Khaibar, Badr and Al-Hanakiya. Added to those governorates are seven main administrative centers: Wadi Al-Far’a, Al-Mlaileeh, Al-Suwaiderah, Al-Freesh, Abiar Al-Mashi, Al-Yatimah and Al-Hafr. Urban areas, villages and agricultural settlements extend all over the region.
The Governorate of Al-Ula
It is divided into two parts; Al-Ula (Dedan), the well known holy area and Al-Ula (Al-Hijr) known as Madain Saleh, full of famous archeological ruins. It is 450 kilometers north of Madinah on the international road to Tabuk, Jordan and Syria. It comprises 14 administrative centers: \ Shallal, Al-Najeel, Al-Hajar, Al-Thalath, Al-Abraq, Al-Berika, Al-Ward, Al-Fargha, Al-Slailah, Al-Nashifa, Al-Hajar, Abu Raka, Al-Azeeb, Moghira and Fadala. The governorate is famous for its diversified economic activities like agriculture, tourist resources and metallurgy. Its location on the international road gives it a potential growth in the field of services. There are areas that can support environmental tourism like Jabal Dukhan, Herrat Ouerud and Jabal Nahr.
Noble Lineage of The Holy Prophet (PBUH)
He is Muhammad (PBUH) ibn (son of) Abdullah ibn Abdul Muttalib named (Shaibah) ibn Hashim named (Umar) ibn Abdimanat named (Al-Mogirah) ibn Qusai named (Zaid) ibn Kelab named (Hakeem) ibn Murrah ibn Ka’ab ibn Lu’ai ibn Ghalib ibn Fehr (he is Quraish) ibn Malik, ibn Al-Nadher ibn Kenanah ibn Khuzaimah ibn Mudrikah named (Amer) ibn Elyas ibn Mudhar ibn Nizar ibn Ma’ad ibn Adnan. Adnan is descended from Ismail ibn Ibrahim (PBUH).
The mother of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is Sayedah Aminah Bint Wahab ibn Abdimanat ibn Zuhra ibn Kelab, the fifth grandfather of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) day and night forever and ever.
Madain Saleh Historical Sites Opening Hours
Time of visit at Madain Saleh Historical Sites is from 7:00 am until to 6:00 pm, seven days a week.
Entering the Historical Sites
Everybody is welcome to visit the historical sites. There is no need of entry permit because Prince Sultan Ibn Salman has cancelled the necessary permit.
There are tour guide, motel, hotel, Desert Camping Accommodations, restaurants and other services that are available in Al-Ula City; the nearest city to Madain Saleh sites. Upon choosing the right budget, visitors can ask around to know the services that fits to their needs.
The local population is composed of homogeneous mixture of ancient Arab tribes and different Arab and non-Arab residents from other countries who have come to the area to work and earn a living. All people there enjoy brethren ties, friendship and mutual respect. The local people do not show any hostilities or sensitivity of the foreign visitors or non-Muslims and treat them as guests who must provided with service, protection and care, which are inherent Arab characteristics. The visitor receives care and respect in all places, while touring the area, visiting the archeological sites or even shopping at the local markets. People there welcome any visitor at their homes or their farms in order to have access to more information about the area. Moreover, some people have their own museums in their homes or farms containing many of the region's heritages, which the visitor can visit in free of charge.
Madain Saleh area has some services such as paved ways linking it to the province. It is link to the Madinah Airport by 290 km. long road, by Hail Airport through 416 km. long road and to Al-Wajh Airport by 230 km. long road. Work is under way to connect the Governorate to Tabuk via road to Tabuk Airport. In addition, the Government is working on setting up a local airport for the service of the governorate people and tourism in particular. The area is provided with mobile, landline telephone and electricity services. There are 3-Star and 4-star hotels in the town of Al-Ula. Madain Saleh and the monumental fenced area in particular are still in need of essential basic services such as office for tourist guidance, tourist hotel, paved roads, WCs, restaurant and entertainment services. Development and rehabilitation of the bush-tree area, tourist publications, guides, brochures and maps, multi-purpose exhibition, market for local products and tourists’ needs, travel agency, car rental and information services.
Laws & Regulations
Non-resident tourist of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia needs to obtain a visa from one of the Saudi embassies. Visas at present granted for purposes of visit, Hajj and Umrah. Tourism or business visas require you to check with the Saudi embassy in your country or visit the website of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Upon your arrive at the Kingdom via any of its four international airports; i.e. King Khalid Airport in Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah, King Fahad Airport in Dammam or Prince Mohammad ibn Abdul Aziz Airport in Madinah, you can move freely within the Kingdom as long as you carry a valid visa. Unfortunately, Madain Saleh lacks the proper means for transportation, so it is advisable to coordinate with the travel agency, which arranged the visa in your country or to rent a private car from the airport, where car rental service are available.
The heritage sites