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Dammam City Profile

Dammam History



Dammam City Profile


Ad Dammam, town lies in eastern Saudi Arabia, in Ash Sharqiyah (Al Hasa) Province, on the Persian Gulf. It is one of the nation's chief ports, serving as a major exporting point for petroleum and natural gas. King Faisal University (1975) is here. Ad Dammam was a small coastal community until the late 1930s, when it began to be developed as a port. Several large-scale residential and commercial building projects were undertaken here in the 1970s and early 1980s.

The port city is well connected by road, rail, and air with the rest of Saudi Arabia, as well as with its neighboring countries.

Apart from housing the main seat of the Easter Province administration, Dammam is a major residential and commercial center. An important section of King Faisal University is located here.  


Dammam is about 400 km away from Riyadh. It is the capital of the Eastern region and a very important port. It was a separate small town but now it has become one big town, linking Al-Khobar and Al-Dhahran. Dammam is now a major commercial center.

Historians believe that Dammam was initially called DAMDAMA, which means the sound of drums that announce the beginning or the end of the hunting season. Near Dammam lies a very important center for refining petroleum. The population of Dammam is about one million.


Dammam retains the spirit of its past heritage, for which its local population is very proud. The Trading Port is reflective of a map of olden days. One well-maintained watch tower stands guard on King Saud Road as you pass from the City Center to Jubail highway. A typical conical structure, representing a glimpse of the past, is situated on the right corner of the bifurcating road leading to Saihat.


  Dammam Transformation - ARAMCO


bulletNo area of the Middle East, or perhaps the world, has undergone such dramatic transformation in such a short period of time as has the Dammam-Dhahran-Al-Khobar triangle in eastern Saudi Arabia. Located on the Arabian Gulf across from the island of Bahrain, the region has ancient roots in history. Tombs, remnants of dwellings and historical references indicate that it was inhabited more than two thousand years ago. However, most vestiges of human habitation were buried by the encroaching desert sands and the area had been largely deserted for centuries.

bulletWhen the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932, the area was the site of several hamlets that depended on fishing and pearls for their survival. Over a span of a little more than half a century, the area has developed into a thriving hub of industry, commerce and science, and home to more than half a million people.

bulletThe area's transformation was launched with the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Saudi Arabia. The Eastern Province sits atop one of the largest fields in the world, and it was here in Dhahran in 1936 that Aramco, the predecessor of the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco, dug the famous Dammam No. 7 well that proved beyond doubt that the Kingdom possessed a large supply of hydrocarbons.

bulletThe discovery of new oil fields to the south, west and north of Dammam in the 1940s and 1950s, which now account for a quarter of the world's proven oil reserves, triggered a building boom. Experts and technicians from throughout the Kingdom and the world gathered to help search for new oil fields and bring them on-stream. New pipelines had to be installed, storage facilities built and jetties constructed to handle tankers. The growing number of experts working in Dhahran required the building of housing, hospitals, schools for their children and other amenities. Before long, Dhahran, the corporate headquarters of Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world, was spilling out into the desert in all directions.

bulletThe growth of the oil industry in the region had a similar impact on the small fishing village of Dammam and the hamlet of Al-Khobar. Within two decades of the discovery of oil, the mudbrick huts of the fisherman that crowded the shore and which constituted the only permanent dwellings in the area had given way to concrete buildings, modern housing, highways and landscaped streets. Located to the east of Dhahran on the Gulf coast, Al-Khobar briefly became the shipping point for Saudi Arabian crude oil to the refinery in Bahrain. In the years leading up to World War II, Saudi Arabian oil production was very limited, and since the company had no refinery of its own, most of the oil was sent by small tankers to Bahrain.

bulletWith the construction of a pipeline to Bahrain and the subsequent expansion of the oil industry in the post-war years, the focus of the shipping and oil industries shifted away from Al-Khobar northward to Dammam and Ras Tanura, one of the largest oil storage and shipping centers in the world, located 15 miles to the north of Dammam. As a result, Al-Khobar gradually found a new role as the commercial center for the entire region.

bulletThe discovery of oil in Dhahran and nearby fields and the growing importance of the entire region affected Dammam more than any other city in Saudi Arabia. Within three decades, the sleepy little fishing village had become the capital of the Eastern Province.

bulletThe simultaneous growth of Dammam, Dhahran and Al-Khobar brought the three jurisdictions into physical contact, with the result that the triangle which connects the cities is now one large urban and industrial mass. This entire region, covering some 300 square miles of land, is now known as the Dammam Area and is run by a single municipal entity.

bulletThe growth of the Saudi Arabian oil industry into the largest in the world brought about the rapid development of the region. As oil production increased, so did the number of people required to run the industry.

bulletThe growing population needed more housing and services. First-rate hospitals and schools provided further incentives for people considering a move to the area. Service industries sprouted up to support the oil industry and meet the needs of people living in the Dammam Area. As a result, a region which had several hundred inhabitants some sixty years ago now boasts a population of well over 500,000, growing at a pace of over five percent a year.

bulletThe key to the success of the Dammam Area is that unlike oil towns in other parts of the world, it has developed in all spheres. It is now a modern urban and industrial center which happens to be the headquarters of the Saudi Arabian oil industry.

bulletAs this sector was growing in the early years, the Saudi Arabian government took steps to facilitate the evolution of the Dammam Area. New roads and highways connected the area to other urban and industrial centers in the Kingdom. A railway line connected Dammam to the agricultural center of Al-Kharj and on to Riyadh. An international airport was established between Dhahran and Al-Khobar to connect the region to other parts of the Kingdom and the world.

bulletTo encourage the growth of non-oil industries, an industrial city was established in the open space between the three cities. Now home to more than 124 factories, the industrial complex is completely engulfed by an urban mass. As a result, a second industrial city was established further away from the Dammam Area along the highway to Riyadh. Located on nearly 6,000 acres of land, the Second Industrial City is already home to 120 factories, with 160 others under construction.

bulletThese plants manufacture a variety of consumer and industrial products that are marketed throughout the Kingdom and are exported to other countries around the world. Handling such exports, as well as imports from abroad, is the domain of shipping agents and commercial companies located in Dammam and Al-Khobar, making the Dammam Area not only a major oil producing and exporting area, but also a commercial and shipping center.

bulletThe growth of the region has necessitated the construction of a larger and more modern airport to replace the Dhahran International Airport which is now cramped for space. The new King Fahd International Airport, located 30 miles to the west of Dammam, will service not only the Dammam Area but also the Jubail Industrial City, some 40 miles to the north.

bulletAs it has in other parts of the Kingdom, the Ministry of Health has established several modern hospitals and a network of health care centers in the Dammam Area. These are supplemented by hospitals and clinics set up by the private sector.

bulletHaving been built from the ground up, the Dammam Area was designed from the outset on the principles of modern urban planning. Residential areas are separate from commercial sections, roads are broad and straight and buildings conform to a master plan. One of the main features of the development of the area is land reclamation. Vast stretches of the shallow Gulf waters have been filled, with hotels and office buildings occupying what were once marshes.

bulletWater for household, urban and industrial use is provided by desalination plants that supply approximately seven million cubic feet of treated water to the area each day. The availability of water underpins the urban and industrial growth of the Dammam Area, and provisions have been made for expanding existing desalination facilities to meet future growth.

bulletThe Dammam Area is also famous for the wide variety of recreational facilities it offers residents and visitors alike.

bulletThe Dammam-Dhahran-Al-Khobar area is a major hub for shipping, oil, commerce and industry. Tankers take on oil at the terminal in Ras Tanura.

bulletIn many ways, the Dammam Area has evolved as the link between Saudi Arabia and the outside world, exporting the Kingdom's products and importing its needs and thriving on the interaction between Saudi Arabia and other countries.

Dammam Attractions

Dammam is the largest town in the eastern region; it has expanded to the city limits of two other modern towns, Al-Khobar and Dhahran. Near Dammam are located the most important centers in the world for the production and refining of petroleum. The population of Dammam is greater than a million. The most important features of the city are:  


bulletKing Fahd International Airport
The terminal complex is planned to accommodate two major terminals: one for Saudi Arabia national air carrier, and the other for foreign air carriers. The terminals and their concourses will face each other across a central area, developed in the manner of a park, extending between the aircraft cross-taxiways at each end of the complex.

bulletHalf-Moon Bay (South of Khobar)
There are many spots where diving is possible along the Arabian Sea coastline, but few are attractive. South of Khobar at Half-Moon Bay is a site where a diver group has placed old trucks and cars in the water near shore, attempting to create an artificial reef. The spot is about 5 kilometers south of the Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd Amusement Park in an open coast area just past a public bathroom, and a private marina (shown above left). Pull off the road and park next to the covered picnic structures (shown above right) that have a raised concrete floor. A large tractor tire in the inter-tidal shallow water area marks the spot to begin the dive. This location sports various types of fish and many many small shells. There is little if any coral growth here, and the vehicles seem to be covered in barnacles, but it remains an interesting dive. You can arrange diving here through Sharky's in Khobar or Durrah Dive Center in Jubail. There is a group of divers who meet here early on Friday mornings to dive.

A panoramic view of natural beauty, Dammam Corniche forms part of the gigantic seaside project stretching from Aziziah Beach to Tarot Island. Interspersed along the Corniche are massive, modern art installations, which reflect the creativity of their makers and the nation's love of art.
The Corniche is a local destination of families and friends for leisure time, especially in the evenings after work to enjoy. A spacious area between Dammam and Al Khobar has been designated specifically for sports and game facilities. Major clubs, which allow locals and expatriates alike to take part in sport, are located in this area.
Water sports are available to all at the Coastal City set up by the General Presidency for Youth Welfare, which is now a commercial concern open to families, in Half Moon Bay to the south of the city, and through private clubs in the area.

bulletKing Fahd Park
The King Fahd Park in Dammam is the largest in the Kingdom. King Fahd Park is located along the Dammam-Dhahran Express Road, north of the Gulf Palace and almost equi-distance from the townships of Dammam and Al-Khobar. Spread over 67 acres in the heart of the Dammam Area, its millions of trees and bushes is a haven of greenery and many ornamental pools provide a refuge for families in the heart of the city.
A large number of smaller parks are scattered throughout the area with scenic beauty, perfect places to spend evenings. The water for much of the parks comes from recycling urban and industrial runoff. The sprawling area of the park contains amenities for families, from children to elders alike. A central cafeteria serves fast food and drinks in a large sitting area for families. You will also find pools, man-made lagoons, fountains, greenery, and buildings - all designed to offer soothing relief.
Within the park, Saudi Amusement Center caters to the entertainment of children. Extremely modern in concept and design and run by professionals, the center boasts an exciting train ride to take visitors around the park.

bulletNational Museum
Dammam National Museum is located on the 4th floor of the Dammam Public Library, opposed the Dammam Stadium on the cross lane from the Dammam-Al Khobar Highway.
A must for visitors to the region, the museum focuses on the country's history, culture, and inhabitants through displays of relics and remnants of handicrafts.

bulletKing Abdul Aziz Seaport
A modern port complex, known as the King Abdul Aziz Seaport, was built at Dammam to handle non-oil shipping. The Dammam-Riyadh railway and highways connect the port to points throughout the Kingdom. The complex is equipped with four jetties, the longest being two miles, hundreds of cranes and lifts, storage facilities, a ship repair dock and a modern ship traffic control center. The complex is now the Kingdom's largest outlet to the sea in eastern Saudi Arabia.

bulletKind Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
Several hundred modern primary and secondary schools provide all residents of the Dammam Area with access to free education. The region boasts several colleges and is also the site of one of the most modern universities in the Middle East. The King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, located in Dhahran, offers graduate and post-graduate degrees in engineering, applied engineering, science, industrial management, environmental design and other fields. It also runs a state-of-the-art center where scientists conduct research on a variety of topics, from geology to computer design. Additionally, two of King Faisal University's Colleges, medicine and architecture and urban planning, are located in Dammam.

bulletHeritage Centre Dammam
This museum depicts various aspects of regional life in Saudi Arabia. It also has a restaurant. Dammam Corniche. Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography: Interesting collection of local Bedouin crafts, traditional costumes and Islamic pottery, as well as some Stone Age tools.




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