A Port City in the Desert: Jeddah
Jeddah is the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. It is a beautiful coastal town near the Red Sea. Due to its proximity to Mecca, the pilgrims regularly use the port to be transferred to Mecca. The city's legacy dates back to Ottoman Empire. During the reign of the Ottoman caliph Osman the third, the port was built to enable travel to Mecca by sea. Thanks to the port, the city grew faster and became one of the largest and most important cities on the coast of the Red Sea. Jeddah isn't only a transitional city considering the sea route but also for the airlines as well. The tourist circulation is quite high.
In the past, the city coast was walled. Today, it's a commercial city thanks to its position. The city came under the rule of Ottomans after the Hedjaz campaign of Yavuz Sultan Selim. The city was attacked many times by the pirates. The was used as the Ottoman's fleet base during the Indian campaign. From 1950s onwards, it has prospered due to its high oil production. Today you may see many skyscrapers in the city.
Places to Visit in Jeddah
Jeddah is home to many historical and natural places that are worth seeing. The most important one is the old city called Al-Balad. It is a very old settlement and the building material of the structures is the corals of the Red Sea. This gives the houses a beautiful and very colourful view. Al-Balad, the centre of the city until 1982, was selected as an UNESCO world heritage site due to its preserved authenticity.
Al-Abad is home to hundreds of coral houses. One of them is quite remarkable. It is known as Nasseef House or Bayt Nasseef. It was built by a famous merchant family. In 1975, it was turned into a private library where almost 20 thousand books accumulated, by the family. Then, in 2009, the structure was turned into a museum.
Jeddah is a settlement with great sculptures. However, these sculptures are mostly in geometric forms. The most remarkable one is situated on the transit point to Mecca. It is called the Mecca Gate and is in the shape of Kur'an. This highly symbolic monument is a nice place for taking photos.
There are beautiful beaches in Jeddah. One of them is a nice coastal village called Durrat Al-Arus. It is a holiday place with many hotels, shopping malls and business centres. It is also visited quite a lot due to its proximity to the city. The theme and aqua parks here attract many tourists. There are affordable hostels as well. The longest coastal town in Jeddah is called Corniche. It is very relaxing to take long walks along the coast and eat at local restaurants on the beach.
The Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Street has been known as Tahlia Street as well. It represents the wealthy side of the oil-rich city. It resembles the large shopping streets in Europe with luxurious shops and shopping malls.
It is an oil-rich country with many high buildings and skyscrapers. The construction of Burj al-Mamlakah will be accomplished in 2018 as the title of the tallest building by breaking the record of Burj Khalifa. The construction area is also an attraction for many. The National Commercial Bank, also known as Al-Ahli Bank, also has 235 meter height and an attractive architecture. Another high building worth mentioning in the city is the municipality that rise from the middle of the city. The fountain in the middle of the city, called King Fahd Fountain, can jet the water as high as 300 meters. The view is fabulous and can be seen from far away.
You may find many places to visit in Jeddah. It offers tourists a diverse climate, with the desert and its coast. The oil-rich country is not only authentic but also highly developed as it has many high and luxurious buildings around.