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Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah

Jeddah is one of the largest and greatest cities in Saudi Arabia with magnificent attractions that capture tourists from all over the world.

One of Jeddah’s historical places is Al-Balad, “The Town” in Arabic, which brings the ancient history with modernism.

This UNESCO World Heritage site, also known as the ‘Historic Jeddah,’ offers a fantastic journey to the majesty of the past.

Ancient History

Al-Balad dates back to the 7th century and preserved as a reminder of Saudi Arabia’s history.

It served as a crucial trading hub in the Islamic world and the gateway for Muslim pilgrims on their way to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

The Town stands as an unprecedented example of those areas that have withstood the test of time and elements, surviving the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the modern Saudi state.

Architectural Wonders

Al-Balad’s architecture is a living proof of the stunning Hijazi style, featured by stone buildings and intricate wooden latticework known as rawasheen.

These captivating wooden windows and balconies consisted of aesthetic complex designs of circles, crescent moons, arrows or stars with shades of blue or green.

Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
The blue color is one of the most popular for doors and windows in the old city.

With an extraordinary combination between the ancient Hijazi heritage and contemporary innovative approaches, Al-Mangour was not just a traditional craft for decorating windows, rather a window to the bequest of woodworking in Saudi Arabia.

Artists crafted Al-Mangour screens to create a net-like pattern between spaces, marking the hidden beauty of separation without isolation.

These exceptional screens manifest themselves through the Roshan, an iconic distinctive window style that decorated houses of the Hijazi area in western Saudi Arabia.

Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Al-Balad

Angawi House

Al-Balad contains about 300 historic buildings, shaping the rich cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia.

Among extravagant buildings, in the heart of downtown Jeddah, the sound of engraving dazzling details on wood fills the air.

It is the sound of professional hands working with wood to craft urban and traditional styles that perfectly mirror the Saudi heritage.

Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Angawi House

The Angawi House is the home of the Angawi family, standing as a woodworking workshop that captures heritage lovers across the world.

The design of the house is a spectacular combination Hijazi and Islamic architectural styles.

It has become a living museum with 40 years of work and a lifetime of studying architecture around the world.

Angawi family has revived the ancient building practices and showcasing them in a modern context.

Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Angawi House
Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Angawi House
Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Angawi House
Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Angawi House
Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Angawi House

Nassif House Museum

The historic Nassif House is one of the oldest and most famous homes in Al-Balad.

It was the home of Nassif family, and currently owned by the Saudi government and converted into a museum.

Then in the 7th century, buildings were split into numerous homes and rooms.

This was driven by a decree from Caliph Uthman ibn Affan, stating that Jeddah would be the official port for those coming to perform a pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam’s holiest site.

Currently, the house is a charming museum known as Bait Nassif.

 

Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Nassif House Museum

Al-Shafii Mosque

Al-Shafii mosque is the oldest mosque and one of the biggest mosques in Al-Balad.

Located in Harah al-Mazlum, King al-Muzaffar Sulayman of Yemen originally built the mosque in 1250.

It is basically built of coral stone and wood, and it consists of a hypostyle hall supported by columns and an inner courtyard paved with white marble slabs.

Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Al-Shafii Mosque

Al-Shafii is rectangular in shape and consists of two sections extending from the west to the east. The western part consists of an open-air square courtyard with four columns.

The eastern part contains the Iwan wall facing the qibla, or the direction of Mecca to which Muslims face during prayer. All the columns of the Iwan date back to the Ottoman era.

Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Al-Shafii Mosque
Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Al-Shafii Mosque
Discover Al-Balad: A Saudi Treasure Trove in the Heart of Jeddah
Al-Shafii Mosque

How to Get to Al-Balad?

Al-Balad is easily accessible by public transportation.

The closest bus stop is the Bab Makkah Bus Station, just a short walk from the district.

Taxis are readily available and ride-hailing apps offer a convenient option.

Related Topics:

Al-Mangour: Forgotten Hijazi Craft Revives Woodworking in Saudi Arabia

Discover Sabya’s Ancient Castles, Living Proof of Saudi Architectural Heritage

Where Past Illuminates Present: Saudi AlUla Reveals Anonymous Past of Wonders

 

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