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Shining a light on Jeddah: The Saudi Arabian port city and the gateway to Mecca

By LLM Reporters on 26th November 2020

While we’ve all heard the phrase ‘travel broadens the mind’ how many of us can actually say that we’ve truly explored? With the world being made up of so very many unique and culturally rich cities, towns and regions, it is often an easier option to go with what you know, follow a recommendation from a companion or opt for a widely publicised place.

One place that may not initially spring to mind when planning your next city break is Jeddah, but if we have piqued your interest so far then read on for a guide to visiting this port city on the Red Sea.

Where is Jeddah?

The city of Jeddah is located in Saudi Arabia, in the Hejaz region. With a population of nearly 3.5 million people, Jeddah is the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia, and the biggest city in the Makkah Province. It is also the second largest and second busiest seaport in the Arab world, next to the Port of Jebel Ali in Dubai.

The city is the main gateway to Mecca, which is the known as the holiest city in Islam, located about 65 kilometres to the east, and it is also somewhat close to Medina, about 360 kilometres to the north. These are paths that are taken by over two million Muslims each year for the Hajj pilgrimage.

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Jeddah is a place that blends the old with the new

The Jeddah Tower

The Jeddah Tower is still under construction but it is shaping up to be the main focus of the already very luxurious Jeddah. It is meant to be the greatest luxury commercial and residential building in the city, becoming its main attraction upon completion.

It will be 252 stories tall and will have luxurious home residences, a few hotels – including a Four Seasons branch, which will be one of the main destinations for tourists to stay during their visit – social amenities, commercial shops and boutiques, and also one of the highlights will be an observatory deck, which will give visitors and residents a beautiful view of the city and the Red Sea, since it is being built just off the coast.

Jeddah’s background

The city of Jeddah has not always been a must-visit destination. Before World War II, the economy of the city was focused on local fishing and pilgrim expenditures. After the war, the city was able to expand the economy alongside its horizons thanks to the royalties from oil exploitation, which granted them a whole new level of wealth. They were also able to include manufacture of cement, pottery, clothing, and also oil refineries and steel-rolling mills.

Located on the banks of the Red Sea, between what looks like a never ending desert and beautiful coastlines, the city of Jeddah is a grand and unique place to visit, which can only be found on the Arabian Peninsula.

Jeddah, a destination filled with luxury and beauty

When you love to travel, you are always on lookout for new and fun places to visit, and this is why you should include the city of Jeddah on your bucket list. It has a lot to offer tourists; from a variety of malls to visit and shop, local and international restaurants, museums, theme parks, ancient neighbourhoods, and a breath-taking waterfront and coastline as well.

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The Abdul Raouf Khalif museum and mosque. Imgae credit: Gimas/Bigstock.com

What to do in the city of Jeddah

It is an excellent destination for enthusiastic tourists, offering different great cultural and interesting places to visit during your stay. Read on for the some of the top spots and what to do in the city of Jeddah.

The Al Rahma Mosque

Located on the edge of Jeddah, the Al Rahma Mosque is built over the water, specially designed to look like it is floating on the Red Sea when the tide is high. It is a fully functional mosque, where locals go to pray every day, and it is also open for visitors that just want to admire the architecture and Islamic art. The mosque features traditional architecture, and it has a modern lighting and sound system. We recommend visiting during sunrise or sunset, to fully enjoy the light that illuminates the stained-glass windows.

Visit the Red Sea Mall

Located in the northern suburbs, the Red Sea Mall is an enormous shopping complex that houses over 240,000 square metres of shops, luxury boutiques, commercial offices, dining and entertainment options, including a five-star luxurious hotel, the Elaf Jeddah Hotel. You will be able to find from down-to-earth and economic options, up to the most luxurious brands, local and international as well.

Be inspired by the Fountain of King Fahd

One of the highlights and most visited attractions of the city is the King Fahd’s Fountain, the tallest and most amazing water fountain of its kind in the world. The water fountain ejects a water stream from the Red Sea straight into the air, up to a height over 240 metres. You can enjoy the spectacle at any given moment during the day, but you will find that the best show is admired at night, when the fountain lights up with over a hundred spotlights.

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Located on the edge of the Jeddah, the Al Rahma Mosque is built over the water

Jeddah’s public bus system

In the city of Jeddah there is a public bus system that has several different paths through the city. They are a major way of transportation for locals and can get pretty full during peak hours. Tourists that visit Jeddah should ride the bus at least once during their stay.

Pick your travel dates wisely

It is very important that you choose your travel dates to the city of Jeddah wisely. During the summer months, the city can experience high temperatures and tourists that suffer from heat sensitivity should consider this beforehand.

You can also have quite a unique visit if you head there during the 30 days of Ramadan, which can vary between April and May or close to those months, as local shops and restaurants close during daytime hours to admire the religious holiday. There are also beautiful cultural activities at night-time, since the festivals are at their all-time high during the month-long season.

Understand and respect the local laws

Before you decide to travel to Jeddah, it is critical that you make sure to research and understand the laws of Saudi Arabia. The city of Jeddah is a welcoming and hospitable city open for visitors, and tourists that respect their local customs, traditions and laws that will respect their way of life. If you can respect them, you will have a very nice and unforgettable vacation in Jeddah.