Location: Saudi Arabia, named after the ruling dynasty of Sa'ud, occupies nearly fourth-fifths in the Arabian Peninsula.
History: In the province of Hejaz are Medina and Mecca (the religious capital), the holy cities of Islam. The mosque of the Prophet in Medina enshrines the tomb of Mohammad, who died in the city in 632. More than 600,000 Muslims from about 60 nations pilgrimage to Mecca, the Prophet's birthplace, every year. Of the total population, 6m are foreigners.
The Saudi king, whose official title is custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (at Mecca and Medina), rules as absolute monarch. His heir and deputy, the crown prince, is selected from among the Sa'ud family by its leading members in consultation with the ulama, or supreme religious council. The king governs according to Islamic law, choosing a council of ministers, many of whom are Sa'uds.
Economy: Saudi Arabia has great oil wealth (25% of global oil reserves) and is the foremost exporter of petroleum products today. The kingdom's reserves are estimated to last 80 years.
Crops: Agricultural products are dates, wheat, barley, fruit hides and wool.
Industry: Petrochemicals, fertilizers, steel, gas, plastics. New industrial cities are being built at Jubail and Yanbu on the Gulf.
Mission in India:
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
D-12, NDSE Part II,
New Delhi - 110 049
Tel: 91 - 11 - 2625 2470-71, 2625 6419
Fax: 91 - 11 - 2625 9333, 2625 7082
Indian Mission in Saudi Arabia:
Embassy of India
B-1, Diplomatic Quarter
PB No 94387, Riyadh - 11693
Tel: 00 - 966 - 1 - 4884144, 4884691/ 92
Fax: 00 - 966 - 1 - 4884750