Historic Jeddah


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Historic downtown Jeddah

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One of the main cities in Saudi Arabia

This historic coastal city was an ancient trading port and is now one of the most significant commercial and historical hubs of modern-day Saudi Arabia

The ancient port city of Jeddah is one of the best-known and significant destinations in Saudi Arabia, playing host to one of its main international airports and offering easy access to the Holy City of Mecca 90kms to the east. Jeddah sits on the Red Sea in the west of Saudi and has a very cosmopolitan feel to it, a legacy of the myriad of influences it has enjoyed thanks to the traders, seafarers and pilgrims who have passed through over the centuries. A fascinating blend of ancient and modern, traditional and contemporary, it is a beguiling place to visit and the perfect start or end point to an adventure through the Kingdom.

The beating heart of Jeddah is Al Balad, the UNESCO-listed historical quarter which houses a huge number of souks tucked away by winding alleys, superb eateries and cafes and some stunning old buildings. Indeed, the quarter was home to Abdulaziz Bin Saud who lived at the recently renovated Nasseef House until her ascended to the throne of the unified Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1925. Whilst the 7th Century origins of the quarter are still evident there is a reassuringly familiar feeling to Al Balad and it is undoubtedly one of the highlights of a visit to Jeddah.

Being on the Red Sea means that Jeddah has always been a significant fishing port and visitors are able to learn more about this 2,500 year old industry with a visit to Tayebat City which pays homage to the heritage of the industry. The museum there is spread over 4 floors and is home to some 60,000 artefacts charting the history of one of the world’s most historic industries. There is also a chance for visitors to get a rare glimpse in to the inner workings of Islam when they see a recreation of the Kaaba, a sacred black cube that is found in Mecca’s Grand Mosque.

From a leisure perspective the Jeddah Waterfront offers plenty of places for swimming in the Red Sea, secluded beaches, walking and cycling paths, restaurants and cafes as well as installations by famed sculptors such as Henry Moore and Joan Miro. The area is also home to the King Fahd Fountain, the largest in the world with its water launched 300 metres in to the air – a spectacular site at the best of times but especially beautiful at sunset.

Of course, the Red Sea is renowned as one of the best diving spots in the world and Jeddah is no exception in offering a range of amazing dive sites, superb PADI certified dive schools and excellent dive shops. The pristine reefs of the shoreline are superb places to explore this underwater wonderland and the seafood restaurants around the city benefit from the huge array of fresh fish found in the warm waters of the Red Sea.

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