English Reading Practice

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is a country in the Middle East on the Arabian 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 Arabian oil.

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 reasons.

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 Medina.



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 people. 

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 Filipinos.

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

Vocabulary Questions

1. What does "monarchy" mean?

a) a country with kings and queens

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?

a) a journey for religious reasons

b) a vacation for fun

c) a business trip

d) a trip with friends

3. What does "site" mean?

a) people

b) place

a) city

b) company

Grammar Questions

1. Saudi Arabia ________ the world's largest oil reserves.

a) has

b) had

c) has had

d) will have

2. Saudi Arabia is well-known around the world ________ its Islamic culture.

a) in

b) at

c) through

d) for

3. Perhaps the most important part of Islamic culture in Saudi Arabia are ________ pilgrimage sites.

a) a

b) an

c) the

d) that

Comprehension Questions

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?


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