Ten interesting Facts About Saudi Arabia

Haddsch – die Pilgerreise nach Mekka Die fünfte Säule des Islam besagt, dass jeder freie, volljährige und gesunde Muslim, der es sich leisten kann, einmal in seinem Leben die Pilgerreise nach Mekka, Haddsch genannt, antreten solle. Dies ist immer nur zu bestimmten Zeiten möglich und zwar im Dhu l-hiddscha, dem zwölften und letzten Monat im muslimischen Kalenders (meist im September oder Oktober, je nachdem wann in Mekka die Mondsichel gesichtet wird). Die Zahl der Pilger, die nach Mekka reisen, steigt jedes Jahr, mittlerweile sind es bereits über zwei Millionen.

1. Mecca and Medina are two of the holiest cities of Islam. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter this sacred ground.

2. Rubhal Khali, also known as the “Empty Quarter”, is one of the driest places in the world. This desert, which is 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) long and 500 kilometers (310 miles) wide, occupies a large part of Saudi Arabia.

3. In Saudi Arabia, it is strictly forbidden to carry and drink alcoholic beverages.

4. Homosexuality and the unbridled portrayal of non-Muslim religions are regarded as crimes committed in Saudi Arabia.

5. Saudi Arabia is the only place in the world where beheading, chipping of hands and limbs and stony stones are not illegal.

6. Gender segregation is commonplace in Saudi Arabia. Single women – whether native or foreign – must never be accompanied by a male stranger.

7. In Saudi Arabia, one liter of drinking water is more expensive than one liter of oil.

8. In the Saudi tradition you respect the privacy of others. Never, never direct your camera to women. You can photograph men, but only with their permission.

9. Until 2006, it was also forbidden to photograph government buildings, palaces and airports. To this day, you can get problems with civilians – and even with some policemen who have not noticed the change of the law – when you are walking around and taking photos openly.

10. The elegant Arabic Oryx was once listed as “extinct in the wilderness” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). After its reintroduction into the remote deserts of Saudi Arabia, the status of the antelope was changed to “threatened”, making it one of the few animals in the world whose population has risen again after almost disappeared forever.