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Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

One of the most devout and confined countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has emerged from being an underdeveloped desert kingdom to become one of the wealthiest nations in the region thanks to its vast oil resources. Named after the ruling Al Saud family, which came to power after the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire after World War 1, the country includes the Hijaz region - the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the cradle of Islam.

The kingdom is sometimes called "The Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina, the two holiest places in Islam.