JEDDAH, THE BRIDE OF THE RED SEA
Jeddah is a coastal city with a commercial port that overlooks the Red Sea. Located in the Western region of the Heejaz, Jeddah is the gateway to Mecca and Medina and consequently has always represented a crossroads of different cultures due to Muslims converging here from all around the world.
Besides enjoying the colors and scents of a coastal city, Jeddah is therefore considered to be the most cosmopolitan and liberal town of the country.
The city is very interesting from a touristic point of view as it allows to combine spirit of adventure, cultural interests and relaxation. Jeddah is in fact known for its cultural scene, amazing historical district but also for the possibility of hiking in the desert, enjoying splendid boat trips and private beaches in the Red Sea or travel to nearby cities like Taif.
One of the city’s main touristic attractions is the UNESCO district of Al Balad with its distinctive architectural style, historical buildings and traditional market. During the tour of Al balad don’t miss the opportunity to visit Masjid Al Shafi, Jeddah’s most ancient mosque and Beit Naseef, a museum and cultural center that was an ancient merchant house and the temporary residence of King Abdulaziz after the siege of Jeddah in 1925. Climb to the house rooftop to catch a breathtaking view of the sunset over the old buildings and listen to the enchanting evening Adhans (calls to prayer) resonating in unison.
For those who want to know more about Saudi culture we also recommend a visit to the permanent exhibition of Saudi artist Safeya Binzagr at her private 854 square meter museum. The artist is famous for having dedicated 30 years of her artistic career to the preservation of Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage giving an essential contribution to the Saudi art movement and to the historical reconstruction of her country’s folklore.
Private residence of Architect and Historian Sami Angawi, Al Makkiah mansion is also a cultural center in Jeddah where the Angawi Family regularly hosts lectures, concerts and discussions attracting leaders and visitors from around the world to bridge nations and faiths.
Mihrab Journeys can organize for you an exclusive private tour of the residence to discover its unique design based on the combination of modern construction techniques with traditional crafts. Angawi followed a concept of balance, known in Arabic as Mizan: “In our mansion, modernity and tradition, privacy and openness, stability and dynamism are equally represented to generate harmony,” explained the Architect who is also known for having dedicated his life to preserving the history and architecture of Islam’s holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
Another popular attraction in Jeddah is the Corniche, the waterfront, which features a coastal road, recreation areas, pavilions and large-scale civic sculptures as well as King Fahd Fountain, the highest fountain in the world.
It is particularly pleasant to take a walk or a bike ride in the evening when the Corniche becomes more alive. Along the corniche you can find cafes, restaurants and hotels with terraces where you can have a chat outdoors and smoke the Sheesha. Among the things to do at night, we want also to mention the brand new VOX cinema with IMAX screen at Red Sea Mall and Mall of Arabia.
In Jeddah you can find any type of international cuisine. Among the restaurants offering Arabic cuisine, the most popular are the Lebanese cuisine restaurant Byblos and the open-air restaurant Al Nakheel where you can taste fish specialties. We suggest to taste the local fish "Najel" which recalls the sea bass and sea bream. The Al Nakheel restaurant is also the ideal place to relax and smoke Sheesha (Narghile). For a different experience we suggest Al Anbariya Sea Food Park where you have the chance to choose the fresh fish you want to eat. This is cooked and served in a private room where you spend the evening with your friends. Another great place for dining is called Courtyard City, a courtyard with 5 restaurants serving Arabic and Italian cuisine including the Saudi restaurant Aseil.