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Open map of Saudi ArabiaFlag of Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia / Cities and Towns /
Arabic: 'azh-zhahrān

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Dhahran airport, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
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Dhahran airport, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Dhahran airport, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

City in northwestern Saudi Arabia with 105,000 inhabitants (2003 estimate).
Dhahran lies at the southwestern end of a tip of land stretching out into the Persian Gulf, forming a large metropolitan and industrial area, with about 1.2 million inhabitants, together with Dammam, Khobar and Qatif. For Dhahran, Khobar provides the necessary shopping functions.
Practically all of Dhahran's economy is linked with the petroleum industries here. The administrative headquarters of Saudi Aramco is located here. There is also a US Air Force Base.
Dhahran has excellent connections with other urban centres of Saudi Arabia by highways, and is also linked to Bahrain with a causeway. The King Fahd International Airport is located to Dhahran, but is shared by all the cities in the region.
Dhahran is a fenced off city, and is only inhabited by people working for or linked to the Saudi Aramco. While a large part of the population now are no longer US citizens, the community of Dhahran is dominated by American values and English language. Despite higher costs of living, Dhahran is counted as a very attractive place to live, and an increasing number of Saudi families chose to live here.
Community life in Dhahran is exempted from Saudi regulations, involving far more social rights for women.

1938: The site of Dhahran is the scene of the first oil discovery in Saudi Arabia.
1939: Oil exploitation starts at Dhahran, allowing King Ibn Saud to begin a large-scale modernizing program.
1945: A US Air Force Base is established in Dhahran.
1963: The King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals is founded in Dhahran.
1996 June 25: A truck bomb explodes in Dhahran, killing 19 Americans working at the air base, and wounding more than 500 others.
1999: The King Fahd International Airport opens.

By Tore Kjeilen