Abha


Abha

Infobox City
official_name = Abha
أبها




image_caption = Looking at Abha from the mountains.
mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
subdivision_type = Province
subdivision_name = Asir
elevation_m= 2200
leader_title = Prince
leader_name = Faisal ibn Khalid
area_note =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 =
area_land_km2 =
area_water_km2 = 0
population_as_of =
population_total =
population_density_km2 =
utc_offset = +3
timezone =
footnotes =

Abha ( _ar. أبها) is the capital of Asir province in Saudi Arabia. It is situated at 2,200 metres (7,200 ft) above sea level in the fertile mountains of south-western Saudi Arabia near the National Park of Asir. Its mild climate makes it a popular tourist destination for Saudis.

History

Abha's homes are made of stone and mud and were built by hand. Some homes are over 300 years old and still inhabited. The slight graduation from one layer to the next gives these houses the overall impression of truncated pyramids. Foundations are usually stones. The houses are built in shelf-like, overlapping, vertical rows that act as rain guides, keeping the rain from saturating the walls and washing them away.

Abha has a well known marketplace, which is open daily. The market is always busy with activity and people moving about. The locals bargain for goods like: fruits, vegetables, and coffee beans among other items. Local specialty items like ornate silver Bedouin jewelry or hand-woven baskets are also available.

Geography

Abha is located in the Southern Region of Asir, it is highly elevated and it is home to the culminating point in Saudi Arabia, Jabal Al Sooda (the Black mountain) which stands at 3300 meters high. The area is subject to rain, sometimes heavy, some of its neighboring villages and rural areas are sometimes the witnesses of flash-floods during the winter. The fresh weather comparatively to the rest of the peninsula makes it an attraction point during the summer.

Abha is the administrative capital of the Asir region, therefore home to the governorate of Asir. All Government departments are located there. Also there are extensive medical and educational facilities. King Khaled University and Prince Sultan College for Hotel Management are located in Abha. There is a regional airport in Abha that links it to a minimum of 4 cities with direct flights. Jeddah, Taif, Riyadh and Dammam. Al Watan, which is one of the main Saudi daily newspapers, has its head office and printing presses in Abha.

Ethnography

The inhabitants of Abha, like that of Asir in general, are made up of many races, religions and backgrounds. Islam is the religion of almost the totality of the Abhans, with Ismaili and Zaydi Shias forming the plurality of the religious adherents. Hanbali and Maliki Sunnis form the second largest ethno-religious group in the city. Wahhabi Muslims form the remainder of the population and the most recent addition to the ethno-religious milieu of the city.

Tourism

The Saudi government has been promoting Abha as a tourist destination and has created events, such as the Abha Festival during the summer, to draw people to the city. Events are organized to attract visitors to discover the city and its surroundings, such as sporting events, shows, exhibitions and musical performances by famous Arabic poets and singers. Artist Talal Maddah died on stage during a performance in Abha.

Cable cars have been installed in the city and its surroundings providing a view of the landscape....

Education

King Khalid University is a public university in Abha, Saudi Arabia founded in 1999 of merging Imam Muhammed Bin Saud University of Islamic Studies and King Saud University of The South.


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