It is bounded on the east by the Arabian (Persian) Gulf; on the west by the Red Sea; to the south and southeast by Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar; and to the north and northeast by Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait.Saudi Arabia has a hot desert climate with high humidity on the coastal fringes.Hijaz has strong and ancient urban traditions and is the location of Mecca (Makkah) and Medina (al-Madinah).Other important Hijazi cities are Jiddah, a seaport, a commercial center, and formerly diplomatic capital; Taif, summer capital; and Yanbu, a newly developing industrial and longtime port city.However, all the regions share traditional ways of life in a harsh desert environment and from a long history that includes the creation of the contemporary state and its culture in the last three centuries.They also share a common history of development since the 1950s, including a vast oil-revenue-induced boom between the mid-1970s and the mid-1980s, military events that led to the presence of foreign troops on Saudi Arabian soil in the 1990s, and the process of "globalization" at the end of the twentieth century. The population in 1992 was about 16,900,000 and was increasing at a rate of 3.3 percent annually.Trade and urban centers have long existed in this area, but the tricity complex of Dammam, al-Khubar, and Dhahran has been predominant since the 1960s, while Jubail is becoming a large industrial city.
Conversationally, people use colloquial Arabic ( amiya ). The national day is 23 September, marking the unification in 1932 of the regions of Najd and its dependencies, Hijaz, and Asir to form the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Identities connected to the traditional ways of life of the Bedouin and of oasis-dwelling farmers, fishers, craftspeople and artisans, and merchants, caravaneers, and long-distance traders remain in force even as economic changes have transformed or ended those ways of life.