Arabian Desert or Eastern Desert, c.86,000 sq mi (222,740 sq km), E Egypt, bordered by the Nile valley in the west and the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez in the east. It extends along most of Egypt's eastern border and merges into the Nubian Desert in the south. The Arabian Desert is sparsely populated; most of its inhabitants are based around wells and springs. Today most of the desert can be accessed by roads. Since ancient times Egypt has used the porphyry, granite, limestone, and sandstone found in the desert mountains as building materials. Oil is produced in the north. The name Arabian Desert is also commonly applied to the desert of the Arabian Peninsula.