English Reading Practice
Saudi Arabia is a country in the Middle East on the
Peninsula. A "peninsula" is a piece of land that has water on three
sides. It is the second largest Arab country in the world.
It is an Islamic country that is ruled by a monarchy. A "monarchy"
means a country with kings and queens.
Saudi Arabia has the world's largest oil reserves and so is a very
wealthy country. "Wealthy" means rich. Having so much oil makes it an
important ally for many other countries in the world who use Saudi
In addition, Saudi Arabia is well-known around the world for its
Islamic culture. This can be seen in the way that people dress, in the
laws of the country, and in the very important pilgrimage sites located
around the country. A "pilgrimage" is a trip or journey for religious
Islamic Culture in Saudi Arabia
The most visible sign of Islamic culture in Saudi Arabia is the
clothing that people wear. This type of clothing is called hijab. Men
in Saudi Arabia wear clothes that have long sleeves and go down to
their ankles. Women also wear long sleeves and are covered to their
ankles. In addition, women wear headscarves to cover their hair.
Because Saudi Arabia is a desert, it is very hot during the day.
Clothing is made of lightweight fabrics like cotton so that the people
can be covered without getting too warm.
Perhaps the most important part of Islamic culture in Saudi Arabia are
the pilgrimage sites. These are places that Muslims from around the
world travel to. Sometimes people travel many times in their lives.
Most of the time, people are only able to make the trip once because it
is so long. The most important of these sites are called Mecca and
Mecca is a city on the southwestern coast of Saudi Arabia. It usually
has two million people who live in Mecca. During the pilgrimage season,
however, there can be up to six million people in Mecca.
Mecca is called a "holy city" by Muslims. It is believed to be the
birth place of Mohammad, the Islamic prophet. A "prophet" is a person
that is believed to be sent by God to teach the people.
Mecca is also considered holy because it is the site (place) where the
Muslim holy book called the Quran was first given to the
For these reasons, Mecca is one of the most important places to visit
on a pilgrimage for Muslims. Over fifteen million Muslims visit Mecca
each year during their pilgrimage.
Medina is believed to be the second holiest city in Saudi Arabia. It is
the place where the Islamic prophet, Mohammad, is buried. It is located
in the western part of Saudi Arabia.
Like Mecca, Medina has become a very modern city because of the number
of pilgrims that come to visit each year. Pilgrims from all over the
world visit the city and have left their mark.
Today, the center of
Medina is closed to non-Muslims, but the rest of the city has been
influenced by many different cultures including Egyptians, Indians, and
Saudi Arabia is an important and interesting country. It is important
to countries around the world because of its oil. It is important to
Muslims around the world as the birth place of Islam.
And now, practice:
Saudi Arabia - Exercises
1. What does "monarchy" mean?
a) a country with kings
b) a country with emperors and empresses
c) a country with a president and vice-president
d) a country with a Prime Minister
2. What does "pilgrimage" mean?
journey for religious reasons
b) a vacation for fun
c) a business trip
d) a trip with friends
3. What does "site" mean?
1. Saudi Arabia ________ the world's largest oil reserves.
c) has had
d) will have
2. Saudi Arabia is well-known around the world ________ its
3. Perhaps the most important part of Islamic culture in Saudi Arabia
are ________ pilgrimage sites.
1. Why is Saudi Arabia such a wealthy country?
2. How many times do most Muslims make the pilgrimage to the holy sites
in Saudi Arabia?
3. What are the two most important pilgrimage sites in Saudi Arabia?