The Forbidden Kingdom

asdfIn October 2010 I had the rare opportunity to travel to a closed country, which currently does not allow any tourists at all, but still has several millions of pilgrims every year  –
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“Three Kings”
: founder of the state and father of all kings – King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud;  Right: current King Abdullah; Left: Crown Prince Sultan.
The display or recording of pictures in the kingdom is a very sensitive theme. Accepted are for example portraits from the Royal Family, which can be found in hotel lobbies, on banknotes or newspapers.

“Living in a fortified compound”
Several security checks have to be passed to enter the gated community.

Because of high temperatures up to 50°C in summertime, windows are built small to keep the heat outside.
To allow light into the building, the architecture works with indirect sunlight through shafts.

“Stairway to …?”
Around the compound a trail with artificial waterfalls and small hills was constructed for residents.
For non-heat resistant walkers the trail is also illuminated throughout the night.

A newly constructed mountainous road leads up a high plateau to Ta’if.

Unbelievable but true – a green KSA
The wooden balcony serves as an “exterior” shower, where water can drop down easily but no one outside will be able to watch.
This small mountain village is located near the Yemeni boarder in the very south of the kingdom.

“Candy Mountains”
On places of particularly beauty small cabins are constructed to offer privacy and protection agains heat and wind.

“Enjoying the beach of Jeddah”
One possible meaning of the city’s name, Jeddah, is “Grandmother” since it is said that Eve was buried there.
After pilgrims prayed to the assumed grave it was paved over in 1975, so the islamic monotheistic article of faith would not be violated again by anyone.

“Finger of God”

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