Khobar (الخبر) is a large city located in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the Persian Gulf. It has a population of 360,000 (2009 census) and forms part of the greater Dammam metropolitan area along with Dhahran, which together have a combined population of over two million. All three urban centers are served by the King Fahd International Airport, the distance to the airport terminal from Khobar is about 50km (30 Miles).
Many of Khobar’s residents work for Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company. Traditionally, Khobar has also been a city of shopkeepers and merchants, and the city today has many modern malls and boulevards with shops run by international franchises, and restaurants. Together, Khobar, Dhahran and Dammam are often known as “The Triplet Cities”. Khobar today is a bustling economic centre with many skyscapers under construction. The nearby city of Dammam has the second-largest port in Saudi Arabia.
In earlier days, Khobar was a small port on the Persian Gulf, a fishing village inhabited mainly by Al Dawasir tribe members. With the discovery of oil in the 1930s, it was transformed into a major commercial and shopping center and an industrial port. In modern times, the larger port of Dammam has taken over most commercial shipping activities for the Eastern Province, and oil is exported via the dedicated Saudi Aramco port of Ras Tanura. As a result, Khobar has transformed and extended its water front along the Persian Gulf into a scenic Beirut-like corniche with parks, eateries, and family beaches, thus making it one of the most iconic features of the city. Moreover, Khobar’s ideal location along the Arabian Sea has made it increasingly popular amongst people traveling from cities within the Kingdom (such as the capital Riyadh which lies approximately 400km west).
The city is divided into four areas: Khobar, Subekha, Thuqba and Aqrabia. While Khobar, Subekha and Thuqba are mainly commercial areas with not much residential scope, Aqrabia consists of mostly residential complexes, accommodating about 50% of the city’s population.