Jeddah, the wonderful city of Saudi Arabia, is steadily growing in stature as the commercial capital and a gateway to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The most easygoing city of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah has a rich history of trade and commerce through its port, in the bygone era.
Today, Jeddah is changing its image with innovative architecture and design. The Corniche and seafront has been tastefully developed along with interesting public squares and upscale shopping malls. It also has a reputation of serving delectable, fresh, sea food and international cuisine. There is lots to do in Jeddah and Saurabh Das gives us his top tips on what to see and where to go in the city.
King Fahd’s Fountain
King Fahd’s Fountain is the world’s largest water fountain, and is located on the newly decorated Jeddah Corniche. Visit the Fountain in the evening to see its wonderful lighting effects. The fountain was constructed between 1980 and 1983, and was inaugurated in 1985. The Fountain jets water to a height of 853 meters with a maximum speed of 375 kilometers per hour, and is visible throughout the city of Jeddah!
Balad is the old part of Jeddah and reminds one of the bygone glory of the city. This is the location where the first settlement of Jeddah was established by fishermen over 2,500 year ago. The port of Jeddah received millions of devotees, who arrived in the country via sea, to visit the holy sites of Mecca and Medina. The architecture in Balad mainly showcases traditional coral stones and woodwork of Roshan which helps to regulate the flow of air.
The beautiful Floating Mosque is located on the North Corniche, jutting out from the Red Sea. Its unique architecture and positioning gives out an illusion as if it is floating on water. The interiors are wonderfully decorated, made of shining white marble. The mosque is also a favourite spot for Mecca bound pilgrims during their stay in Jeddah.
The Bab Medina Gate is a part of the old city wall that used to enclose the old historic neighbourhood of Balad on all sides. Today, the city gate is the only remaining part of that wall. The Medina Gate is an imposing city gate, made up of limestone and embedded with corals, and is wonderfully illuminated in the evening with stunning lighting effects.
Makkah Gate, one of the oldest structures in Saudi Arabia, also known as the “Quran Gate”, is located on the Makkah Mukkarram road of the Jeddah-Makkah highway. It is the official entrance to the holy city of Makkah and the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad. The gate was designed in 1979 by an Egyptian architect, Samir Elabd, and the structure is an elegant representation of the Holy Quran resting on a book stand.
The Jeddah Corniche is an amazing waterfront which has been redeveloped into a contemporary Red Sea playground. The Corniche runs all along the waterfront for over 60 kilometers. The north and south of the Corniche has good beaches and coral reefs, which can be best explored by scuba diving and deep sea diving.
Saudi Arabia’s only aquarium for public, the Fakieh Aquarium is an amazing destination which offers a comprehensive insight into the marine biology of the Red Sea, as well as from other seas and oceans from all over the world. Close to 200 species of sharks, dolphins, sea lions, groupies, sting rays, napoleon wrasse, sea horses, Murrays, and sea dragons, among others.
Silver Sands Beach
Silver Sands beach is an exclusive, well-maintained beach in Jeddah, which is a hotspot for expats living in the city. The beach has lovely palm trees amidst the backdrop of the shimmering Red Sea. It offers excellent swimming and water sports facilities, along with a restaurant, an exclusive club and many more amenities.
Mall of Arabia
The Mall of Arabia is a highly popular shopping mall located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and is located on the eastern side of Medina Road. The mall is located close to the King Abdulaziz International Airport, and features Kidzania, Billy Beez and Vortex – three amazing kid’s entertainment zones.
Souq Al Alawi
The Souq Al Alawi is one of the traditional souqs of the country, and is located in the heart of the old city. This place is an amazing destination, if you’re looking to buy genuine Arabian jewelry, Islamic art, and traditional dresses. Bargaining is encouraged by the local merchants here, and the souq is extremely pedestrian-friendly, giving you a great shopping experience without the disturbance of bikes and cars.