How much do YOU know about Saudi Arabia?

How much do YOU know about Saudi Arabia?

Okay; let’s have some fun and test your knowledge about the Kingdom.  I’ve put some questions together about the Kingdom and purposely made them multiple choice.  Don’t worry, the answers follow below the questions.  I hope that you will enjoy this “quiz.”  When my spouse and I were living in the Washington, DC area we used it as an ice-breaker one night when we held an “Arabian Nights” party at our house.  We decided to invite our mutual friends, our neighbors as well as various diplomatic friends.  We got our guests to group in teams and work together on the questions and we had small gifts representative of Saudi Arabia for each team for their efforts as well.  In addition we also introduced our guests who were not already familiar to traditional Saudi food, music and dance.  We also encouraged all guests to come dressed in what they believed was representative of traditional Saudi dress.

We found that the party was not only a great ice-breaker for all of our guests to get acquainted but to enhance everyones knowledge of Saudi Arabia with a positive appreciation.

Okay, here goes…get ready and most of all, have fun!


  1. (1) What is the capital of Saudi Arabia?

                  a.  Jeddah                     b.  Riyadh                     c.  Al Memlika

  1. (2) When was the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as we know it today established?

a.  23 September 1916             b.  23 September 1930             c.  23 September 1932


  1. (3) How many Kings have ruled Saudi Arabia (to include its present King)?

a.  4                                         b.  6                                         c. 7

  1.  (4) Who was the first King to rule Saudi Arabia?

a.  Abdullah                              b. Abdulaziz                             c. Saud


  1.  (5) The Grand Mosque (Haram) is located in which holy city?

a.  Mecca                                 b.  Medinah                              c.  Riyadh

  1. (6) In addition to being Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah is also Commander of which organization?

a.  Saudi Army                         b.  Ministry of Interior               c.  National Guard

  1. (7) Who is the present Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia?

a.  Prince Bandar                      b.  Prince Naif                          c.  Prince Sultan

  1. (8) Which government ministry in Riyadh is housed in what is commonly referred to as the “Space Ship Building?”

a.  Ministry of Water & Power  b. Ministry of Interior                c.Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  1. (9) Eid al Fitr is celebrated when?

a.  At the end of Ramadan        b.  At the beginning of Ramadan            c.  During Hajj

  1. (10) The currency of Saudi Arabia is?

a.  The dollar                            b. The durham                          c.  The riyal

11.  The traditional long white dress worn by Saudi males is called a?

                  a.  jalabiyah                              b.  thobe                       c.  shirtcoat

12.  The traditional black robe worn by women in Saudi Arabia when outside of their homes is called?

                        a.  dust-catcher                         b. abaya                       c.  chador

13.  The color of the Saudi flag is?

                        a.  green                                   b.  white                       c.  green and white

14.  Saudi Arabia’s national emblem is a palm tree with two crossed swords centrally located.  What does this emblem signify?

                  a.  growth, prosperity and strong warriors         b.  desert mirages and power                c. growth, prosperity, power and valour.

15.  The official calendar used in Saudi Arabia is the?

                  a.  Hijra                        b.  Gregorian                c.  Arabic

16.  How many countries share a  land border with Saudi Arabia?

                  a.  6                             b. 7                              c.  9

17.  The  Rub’ Al Khali is also known as what?

                  a.  Empty Quarter         b.  Red Sea                  c.  Date Farm

18.  Saudi Arabia is divided into how many provinces?

                  a.  13                           b.  15                           c. 12

19.  The first University was founded in Riyadh in 1957.  What is its name?

                        a.  Prince Sultan University        b.  Aramco University               c.  King Saud University

20.  If you have been served tuhmer and kawa you are enjoying the traditional Saudi hospitality of?

                  a.  chicken and rice       b.  dates and coffee                  c.  bread and milk



1.      b

2.      c

3.      b

4.      Abdulaziz

5.      a

6.      c

7.      c

8.      b

9.      a

10.  c

11.  b

12.  b

13.  c

14.  c

15.  a

16.  7 (Yemen, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan.  Bahrain was not counted as it is separated by a causeway and not linked by land.)

17.  a

18.  13 (Al Bahah, Northern Border, Al Jauf, Medina, Al Qasim, Ha’il, Asir, Eastern Province, Al Riyadh, Tabuk, Najran, Mecca Province, Jizan)

19.  c

20.  b



Observations on Finnish President visit to Saudi Arabia

I was watching the news last night on Saudi TV which had a segment on the Finnish President’s visit to Saudi Arabia.  If you are not aware, the President of Finland is a woman, Tarja Halonen.  The news segment featured her meeting and greeting both the King and the Crown Prince.  She looks like a lovely and a very natural person.  So natural that while meeting the King and shaking his hand with one hand, her other hand clutched the strap of her bulky purse which was hanging from her shoulder.  To my recollection this is the first time I recall seeing a leader of a country meeting another leader where ones handbag was prominently in the picture.  In addition, when presented with a cup of Arabic coffee, she turned away from the King twice to admire and touch the Arabic coffee pot.  I’m sure she likely received one as a gift if anyone else noticed as much as I did how much she admired it.I do not want this posting to be interpreted as catty as that is not the intention.  But on the matters of protocol and etiquette I found these gestures to be a bit unusual, particularly with the cameras capturing all.  However in closing, from all accounts, it looks like the meetings between the two leaders went well and were very productive.  And for those not aware, Saudi Arabia will be opening an embassy in Helsinki.

Saudi Arabia: It’s Always About the Veil

This morning I watched “Good Morning America” broadcast from MBC. A portion of the show was focused on Laura Bush and her visit to Saudi Arabia. The reporter was broadcasting from Riyadh so in addition to covering Laura Bush’s campaign for breast cancer awareness and prevention, segments were also dedicated to Saudi Arabia in general. Naturally that also means focusing on gender issues. Why is it that reporters, when it comes to gender issues, first focuses on the issue of the veil and alluding that if a woman veils she is likely oppressed? The newscast stated that in spite of women having to veil, not being able to drive and not being able to vote progress is being made in the Kingdom vis-à-vis empowerment for women. I take umbrage to use of the phrase “having to veil.” The veil is a matter of choice and dictated more by customs and culture. While the majority of Saudi women choose to veil, there are more and more Saudi women who are also choosing to go uncovered. One must also make a distinction when referring to veiling as well. I prefer to say whether a woman chooses to wear a hijjab (which covers the hair but not the face) whereas the veil implies that the hair and face are both shielded from view.I would prefer rather that instead of an American journalist provide prospectives on Ssaudi women and what they can and cannot do or what rights they do or do not have, go out and let the Saudi women speak to the American people! One just might be surprised by what is said!In closing I don’t want to sound like I am bashing Good Morning America or the enthusiastic journalist who was doing her job but as one who routinely faces queries about how on Earth I abide living in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia where an “Islamic terrorist” must lurk around every corner, I tend to be very sensitive about how the Kingdom is portrayed.


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