Saudi Arabia is one of the most interesting tourist destinations of our time. However, on the Internet, many myths are told about this country, debunking which is the purpose and task of this material.
Saudi Arabia is an unusually closed country, which is almost impossible for an ordinary tourist to get to.
This is a myth. Until recently, it was possible to visit here on an investment visa, like Artemy Lebedev, or with pilgrimage purposes to Mecca. But in 2019, the death of the conservative monarch opened the country to travelers from 49 countries, including Russia.
The only thing you need is an electronic visa with a price of 11,000 rubles with insurance from a medical firm accredited by the Saudi government included in the price. From the documents you need a foreign passport and photos. Usually the answer is given within an hour after sending the documents and confirmation of payment.
Saudi Arabia is a very rich and successful country
This is partly a myth.
Despite the fact that GDP at PPP in this country is twice as high as russia's, the picture in fact in the country speaks of devastation, insecurity and dozens of problems of various kinds - from mess and corruption to poverty. The greatest contrast is noticeable if you cross the border from the Emirates or the Sultanate of Oman, and the latter is comparable in GDP to Russia.
The city has a widespread construction site, and in the complete absence of infrastructure for pedestrians, there is a leisurely destruction of countless unfinished buildings, among which beggars walk around.
This is a consequence of the economic crisis caused by the fall in oil prices in the early tenths and has dragged on to this day, and even the greatest stratification between the incomes of the rich and the poor.
37 million people live in the country, of which 35% are labor migrants-guest workers from East African and Asian countries, disenfranchised and half-poor, but ready to work literally for a penny. You can enter the country only with the guarantee of a native Arab - this document is called kafil. For the period of stay, a labor migrant is not much different from a slave, his documents are even taken away from him, and he does not have the right to change his job or place of residence. A kind of modern serfdom.
At the same time, the indigenous people are extremely dissatisfied with the migration policy: unemployment among students reaches 30% and is growing from year to year. At the same time, not only the Saudis have labor migrants, but only in this country their stay is comparable to a disaster, which affects the criminal situation.
Where does the money from oil production go? Very simply, on the royal family. It includes more than two hundred princes with a total number of over 25 thousand people, which is a consequence of the practice of polygamy and excessive fertility. Is it any wonder that the only way to pursue a career in a senior state apparatus is to marry a princess, and all other places are occupied by princes and viceroys, as well as their numerous and violent inheritance? At the same time, regardless of whether the next Al-Saud is in office or not, he is paid a solid salary annually, which allows him not to deny himself anything and live in luxury.
Thus, a significant part of GDP settles in the pockets of the ruling dynasty, while a much smaller amount reaches ordinary citizens. About the diversification of tax sources, we have not yet heard of it.
What is interesting: all Persian monarchies do not take income tax from their citizens. Only corporations are taxed, while for all there is a rate of 20-23%, and for oil state giants - all 90%.
Gasoline in Saudi Arabia is cheaper than water
This is a myth.
Until 2016, fuel in the country was really junk - no more than 9 rubles per liter, but subsequent years radically changed the situation. Today, a liter of the 95th costs about 50 rubles in Riyadh, which, of course, is lower than in Russia, but not by an order of magnitude.
It is interesting to note that diesel fuel is not in honor here: there are no cars, and only 9% of the total number of gas stations sell diesel fuel.
In addition, there are no rivers or lakes: 80% of the water is extracted from the earth's thickness with the help of countless wells, and the rest falls on desalinated water. This makes life-giving moisture a damn expensive pleasure: the bath here is available to a lucky few, most are content with a shower.
There is no LGBT community in Saudi Arabia, it is impossible to get alcohol and drugs
This is a myth.
The death penalty for homosexual relations is in force in the country, and it is regularly used, but the LGBT community is blossoming and smelling, since non-family men and women are separated. The legislation does not allow premarital relations, so guys periodically realize their sexual potential with their peers. This is especially true of educational institutions where separate education is practiced.
Experts argue that the laws in this area are gradually softened, and the courts reduce the terms and less often apply the death penalty under this article. And in 2018, the media even thundered a scandal with a same-sex wedding a few kilometers from the holy for all Muslims Mecca!
Paradoxically, many believe that being gay in Saudi Arabia is even easier than straight. In any case, there are more elements of crimes arising from civil legal relations.
It is also very difficult to find alcohol. Residents - and it is completely impossible, although travelers can get a permit from the police and buy them in specialized trade institutions.
With prohibited substances, it is almost the same – the article for this is also fatal, and the share of drug trafficking in the total number of executed death sentences is more than half, but the situation does not change for the better. Countless drugs pass through the country. So, in 2020, more than 15 tons of amphetamine alone were seized here, which is equivalent to 52% of the global total. Most are manufactured in underground factories, carefully disguised as pharmaceutical firms.