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Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia encompasses most of the Arabian Peninsula, including the Red Sea and Persian Gulf coastlines. Of course being a hot desert country, Saudi Arabia regularly exceeds high temperatures of over 50 degrees from May to September with an average of 42 degrees. Nevertheless this doesn’t stop this unique place from being 19th in the world’s most visited countries, attracting 14.3 million people in 2012!

The country is powerfully known as the original birthplace of Islam including the religion’s most sacred mosques; Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Medina’s Masjid an-Nabawi; the burial site of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Prayer times are a regulated daily occurrence with all shops and offices closed for up to 30 minutes during each of the five prayers Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and lastly Isha’a. Many religious locals take to the holiest of places, the Kaaba in Mecca, to complete the Hajj pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime attracting millions of pilgrims each year.

As for shopping, you won’t find anything more authentic than Saudi Arabia’s souq markets. Located in the capital Riyadh and Jeddah, it is well worth seeking out with various sections populated by different immigrant groups for a wide variety of foodstuff and local treasures.  Jeddah, a port city on the Red Sea is one of the more modern hubs in Saudi Arabia with luxury hotels, beaches and attractions for every traveller.

If you’re looking for a holiday bursting with a strong ethos and rich in attractions then Saudi Arabia is the perfect place for curious explorers alike.