Dammam is the fifth largest city in Saudi Arabia. It is famous for being where oil was first discovered in the country. It is also one of the most famous port cities in the whole of the Middle East. With striking structures and idyllic artificial islands, Dammam is a great city to visit when you want to relax on the Arabian Gulf. So, whether you are planning a trip or just curious to know more, here are some of the most interesting facts about Dammam.
7 Interesting Facts about Dammam
1. Damman is the fifth largest city in Saudi Arabia
Dammam – in Arabic: الدمام Ad Dammām – is the capital and largest city of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. It is part of the Dammam Metropolitan Area. With a population of 1,304,688 (as of July 2022), it is the fifth largest city in Saudi Arabia. The largest city in Saudi Arabia is Riyadh, with a population of 7,538,200, followed by Jeddah, Mecca, and Medina.
2. Damman is the largest port in the Persian Gulf
Damman is an important commercial hub and port. The King Abdul Aziz Sea Port in Damman is the largest port in the Persian Gulf. Its import-export traffic in the country is second to the Jeddah Seaport. It is also the third largest and third busiest port in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
3. The Dammam oil field is where oil was first discovered in the country
The Americans first discovered oil in Saudia Arabia in March 1938. The discovered commercial quantities of oil at Dammam oil well No. 7 at 1,440 metres deep. Today, Saudia Arabia has around 17 per cent of the world’s proven petroleum reserves. The Ghawar oil field, located in Al-Ahsa Governorate, is the largest oil reserve in the world, with an estimated 75 billion barrels of oil left. To put that into context, the oil field has enough reserves to fill 4,770,897 Olympic-sized swimming pools. A litre of drinking water is more expensive than a litre of oil in Saudia Arabia.
4. The Dawasir tribe settled Dammam in the early 20th century
Around 1923, with permission from King Ibn Saud, the Dawasir tribe settled the area that eventually became Dammam. Originally a fishing hamlet, the city developed into its current state within half a century, soon after the discovery of oil in the Dammam oil well. The city developed as both a port city and an administrative centre.
5. Dammam is the capital of the Eastern Province
After the unification of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz made Dammam the capital of the newly formed Eastern Province. The unification of Saudi Arabia started in 1902 when the House of Saud, or Al Saud, conquered the various tribes, sheikhdoms, city-states, emirates, and kingdoms of the region. On 23 September 1932, Ibn Saud proclaimed the union of his dominions into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
6. The Khobar Water Tower is an iconic Dammam landmark
One of the city’s iconic landmarks is the Khobar Water Tower. The striking 3-storey structure is located on an artificial island, is 90 meters tall, and consists of three bays. Its upper floor houses a restaurant which has sweeping views of the city, the waterfront corniche, and the shimmering Arabian Gulf.
7. Dammam is connected to an artificial island
Another artificial island, which are a regular feature in Saudi Arabia, is Al Marjan or Al Murjan Island, aka Coral Island. A bridge connects the island to Dammam, and you can take a ferry ride to the island. This artificial island extends 4.5km into the Arabian Gulf and features a park, playground, ferry rides, walkways, bicycle lanes, and a cafeteria for drinks and snacks, as well as a floating cafe over the water. This place is popular with both tourists and locals alike who come to bask in the serenity of nature.