The Eastern Province

Saudi Regions

Places to Visit in Eastern Province

Saudi Regions

The Largest Province of Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province is the largest province of Saudi Arabia. It makes up around 36% of the total land area of the country. This easternmost part of Saudi Arabia used to be home to the ancient Dilmun civilization in pre-Arab times. Today, it is one of the most economically important regions of Saudi Arabia. The largest oil field in the world, the Ghawar oil field is located in this region. Around a third of all oil produced by the country comes from this oil field.

 

The entire east coast of Saudi Arabia is encompassed in the eastern province. Pristine beaches on the Arabian Gulf make this region a popular tourist hot spot. It shares borders with the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, and Oman. Bahrain is also linked to the province by the 25 km long King Fahd Causeway. The capital of this province is the city of Dammam. It is the sixth most populous city in the kingdom.  

 

History

Evidence suggests that one of the earliest known civilizations on earth took roots in this region. During the late 4th millennium BC to 800 BC, the area served as a major trading and commercial hub of the Dilmun civilization. The land used to be extremely fertile during that time. Maritime trade was done with what scholars agree to be the Indus Valley Civilization. Mesopotamia also had great commercial ties with the Dilmun civilization. 

 

The entire region came under Muslim rule during the Rashidun Caliphate. Fast forward to the establishment of Saudi Arabia, the region became a major industrial and tourist hub of the country.

 

Geography

A large part of the Eastern Province is covered by desert. This vast arid region with distinct reddish-orange sand is known popularly as the Rub’ al Khali or ‘The Empty Quarter’. Even though most of the empty quarter is classified as having a hyper-arid climate, there are a few notable oases in the region like the Al-Ahsa Oasis.  

 

Al-Ahsa is the world’s biggest oasis, having over 2.5 million palm trees that are spread over an area of 85.4 km2. It has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

Cultural Life

A major portion of the population of the province is concentrated in major cities like Dammam, Jubail, and Al Khobar. Since the province is a hub of industry and trade, there is a large population of foreign nationals in the area. The most widely used language in the province is the official Arabic language. Due to a sizable expatriate population, you will also find numerous people speaking a host of other languages like Indian, Filipino, Bengali, and Urdu. 

 

Being a popular tourist destination, the eastern province offers modern transportation and world-class infrastructure. Having close proximity to other gulf nations gives the region a multi-ethnic culture that celebrates diversity and welcomes all. Being the center of centuries-old trade routes of the East and the West has helped this region benefit from the best of both worlds. The cities have evolved over time and you will find all the latest amenities and facilities in the region. Huge shopping malls, entertainment centers, sports activities, fine dining options as well as traditional local cuisine can be enjoyed according to the preference of the visitor. 

 

Popular Attractions

Some of the Gulf region’s first human settlements can be found in Al Ahsa, home to one of the world’s largest oases and the region’s first UNESCO-listed city. Visitors will love Al Ahsa’s natural springs, clustered among more than 3 million date palm trees, and the beautifully preserved archaeological sites that capture the kingdom’s culture and traditions. Take time to experience the sublime views from Al Qarah Mountain, or take a guided tour of the maze of caverns and coves that weave through the cliff sides.

 

For more of an urban vibe, make a stop in the region’s anchor city, Dammam, or venture out to nearby Al Khobar. Visit the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Science & Technology Center (SciTech), where kids can take a virtual tour into space, explore the human body or enjoy a 3D IMAX screening. For downtime, stroll along the corniche or dabble in the waters at Half Moon Bay. For those wanting an off-road adventure, take a guided trip into the dramatic dunes of the Empty Quarter, the world’s largest continuous sand mass. End your day by watching the sunset over the shimmering plains for a truly magical experience. The eastern province offers everything from street art to vintage museums.

 

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