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Saudi Arabia has become one of the major world players since its inception in 1932. As it’s taken its place on the world stage, it’s become clear that Saudi Arabia does things a little differently from most other countries. Check out these weird facts about Saudi Arabia.
1. Saudi Arabia only has one movie theater, an IMAX in Khobar.
2. The monarchy in Saudi Arabia is the last real and absolute monarchy in the world. It’s been ruled by the Al Saud family since the country came into existence, and the king’s official title is “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.”
3. The whole country of Saudi Arabia measures in at 83,000 square miles, making it the 13th largest country in the world, and the largest in the Middle East.
4. The Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia began construction in 2014 and when it’s finished it will hit a full 3,280 feet, making it the tallest building in the world.
5. Of all the countries in the world that don’t contain a single river, Saudi Arabia is the largest.
6. A World Bank report in 2000 found that the most dangerous countries in which to drive were Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Thailand, and South Africa, but if you look at fatalities, Saudi Arabia outstrips them all.
7. Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest importer of tobacco in the world, smoking has been banned in most public places.
8. Beheadings are still a form of execution in the country, but they’re considering moving to firing squads due to a lack of swordsmen to perform the executions.
9. It is entirely illegal to drink alcohol anywhere in Saudi Arabia, although there is a healthy black market.
10. Homosexual activity is a crime punishable by imprisonment, flogging, or even the death penalty.
11. It is illegal to use birth control in Saudi Arabia.
12. It’s normal for weddings in Saudi Arabia to have separate ceremonies for men and women, with the bride and groom only coming together later.
13. Only Muslims are allowed to become citizens, and no non-Muslim places of worship can be built in the country.
14. Over 30% of the population is made up of immigrants.
15. Baby camel is considered a delicacy, especially in Jeddah and Jejaz.
16. There is an annual camel race called The King’s Cup that sees 2,000 camels racing 19 km.
17. One legend says that when Winston Churchill was drawing out the boundaries between Saudi Arabia and Jordan he hiccuped thanks to too much drink, his hand slipped, and he gave Saudi Arabia an extra chunk of land that’s now called Winston’s Hiccup.
18. Women have been forbidden to drive since 1990, and they cannot travel abroad without the permission of their husband.
19. Saudi Arabia contains some of the largest deserts in the world, and is over 95% desert or semi-desert.