Dhahran's origin started as a company town
in the mid 1940s right after the end of world war II. Located in Saudi Arabia
, in the Eastern Province. It was founded by Aramco
(Arabian American Oil Company) and continued to expand using oil revenues. The name Dhahran is Arabic
for two backs, local tribes gave the name Dhahran to twin hills approximately 50 meters high, still in existence today in the center of the town.
On the outskirts of Dhahran lay Doha, another town founded by Aramco. Doha is slowly weaning off the company for its maintenance and is slowly being handed over to the government by setting up a local governor.
Dhahran used to be the most modern town to be found anywhere in Saudi Arabia. While theaters are not to be found in any other city in Saudi, Dhahran had its own theater. Watching movies used to be free in Dhahran in the 60s and 70s, but today employees have to pay a minimal fee of something close to 1$ to watch a movie. Newly released movies are hardly viewed in the theater, most movies are at least 2 years old. Dhahran hospital also boasted to have the highest qualified doctors and most modern equipment around, but its reputation of being so began to decline in the mid 90s as better hospitals began to be constructed through out the country.
Aramco built two museum, one is located inside the residential compound, giving background to the history of the town. And another museum located outside the compound, giving background to Saudi Arabia in general. The larger museum located out of the compound contains carbon dated bones dating back approximatly 5000 years ago. Additionally, colored pottery from the 6th century is also on display.
UPM (University of Petroleum and Minerals) was built in 1967 right next to Dhahran compound. Originaly intended to be a center for oil research, it now offers more than 80 degrees in many fields. It was renamed to KFUPM (King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals) 2 years after Fahd bin Abdul Aziz
. The campus was built to accomodate 5,000 students, but due to bad and corrupt management, there are something close to 15,000 students at any given time.