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Rainfall is scarce except in the area of Asir, where it is sufficient for agriculture on terraced farms and upper slopes and alluvial planes.
Rainfall is adequate for the nomadic herding of sheep, goats, and camels and for the sustenance of nondomesticated desert fauna, but crop production is dependent on irrigation from underground aquifers.
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.
Agricultural oases are the sites of villages, towns, and cities.
This area's rangelands have long sustained nomadic pastoral production and are the homelands of the main Bedouin communities.
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.
A must-read for English-speaking expatriates and internationals across Europe, Expatica provides a tailored local news service and essential information on living, working, and moving to your country of choice.The seaports of Hijaz and Asir also have populations traditionally oriented toward the sea, for trade or fishing, a characteristic they share with the Eastern Province.The largest oasis, al-Ahsa (al-Hasa), is watered by artesian wells and springs in the interior of the Eastern Province and provides dates and other crops.Saudi Arabia has no rivers or permanent bodies of water other than artificial lakes and pools.Wadis, the dry beds of ancient rivers, sometimes flow with runoff from downpours and seep with underground water. Najd, the geographic center and political and cultural core, is a vast plateau that combines rocky and sandy areas with isolated mountains and wadi systems.
The Eastern Province is also the main source of oil wealth.