Historic Jeddah is struck by its heritage and originality in the depths of history. Every house and every market in its streets smells of history.
Saudi Jeddah is the “Bride of the Red Sea”; it has been embracing all of its people, visitors, and residents since the era of the Rashid Caliph Othman bin Affan, before it was declared a seaport for Makkah in 647 AD.
Historic Jeddah gains its importance as it was a meeting place of civilizations and a seaport for the pilgrims on their blessed journey towards Makkah Al-Mukarramah.
Historic Jeddah has received the attention of the Saudi leadership throughout the country’s history and receives special attention and care from His Highness, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who directed the launch of the “Revitalizing Historic Jeddah” project within the Historic Jeddah Development Program, which aims to develop the living space in the region.
This revitalization project reflects the young prince’s interest in preserving and rehabilitating historical sites to achieve the goals of Vision 2030 in a way that reflects the Arab and Islamic depth of the Kingdom as one of the most important pillars of the vision.
What do you know about it?
Historic Jeddah is an open-air museum; it contains the heritage that tells the history of Jeddah vividly; Thanks to this, it has been booked as an important place in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Historic Jeddah includes a large group of vintage sites, most notably: the Jeddah Wall, the lanes that tell a story of a bygone era, historical mosques, and the markets that the city’s people and visitors still flock to in large numbers of visitors and vacationers to enjoy the historical area of Jeddah and the center of Souk Al-Balad.
The municipal houses in Old Jeddah represent a distinct architectural and engineering art, these houses fall within the architectural style prevailing in the Hejaz region, which is characterized by strength, durability, and solidity. Some of them date back to 500 years or more and take a form that indicates prestige, lofty, and steadfastness.
Whoever contemplates these houses sees the reality of the authentic Saudi heritage distributed in its four ancient avenues.
Among the most famous of these houses in the House of Al Nasif , the House of Jamjoom in the Al-Yaman neighborhood, the House of Al Baeshen and Al Qabel, Al Shafi’i Mosque in the Al Mazloum neighborhood, and the House of Al Banaja and Al Zahid in the Al Sham neighborhood.
Some of them, due to their durability and construction, are still in good condition after decades.
Historic Jeddah is famous for its houses designed with a very distinctive and beautiful structure. It was built using coral reefs extracted from the depths of the Red Sea. It is also famous for its colorful balconies, known as (Mashrabiyas).
Matbouli House Museum
Located west of Bab Makkah on the outskirts of the historic Al-Alawi market, the private Al-Matbouli House Museum is an impressive embodiment of Hejazi architectural designs, recently transformed into hospitality and museum.
The house was built by the coral of the Red Sea; it includes nine beautiful wood lattices on the front of the house, which added an aura of enchanting beauty to its occupants to enjoy contemplating the designs of its ceilings and winding steps.
Its rooms are decorated with the most beautiful antiques of local manufacture, which in its splendor reflect glimpses of the nobility of historic Jeddah.
Al-Alawi (Upper) Market
Al-Alawi Market is located in Jeddah near the Matbouli House Museum. It is a brightly colored market that contains a network of labyrinths of narrow alleys filled with the smell of spices, and the call of street vendors.
Another historic market located in the city is Al-Hajjaj Market that is considered the largest of Saudi Arabia’s popular markets.
The market is named as the best destination in Jeddah to acquire the finest Arabic dates and local foods.
This royal palace overlooking the popular market is one of the most beautiful traditional and archaeological houses for the merchants of Jeddah.
On a recent basis, the House became a residence for the King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz after the annexation of Jeddah in 1925. It was a favorite resting place for King Abdulaziz.
A few meters northeast of Beit Nassif is the historic Al-Shafi’i Mosque, named after one of the most famous Muslim scholars (Imam Al-Shafi’i), it features a stunning minaret, a beautifully designed central hall surrounded by exposed wooden beams, and a mihrab dating back to the seventh century.
Aiming at reviving the city, Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, had launched a new development project to renovate historic Jeddah.
This is within the framework of the Kingdom’s government plan to develop the historic city of Jeddah, to become a major heritage center to attract business and major cultural projects, in addition to making it an important cultural destination for many entrepreneurs interested in heritage and historical projects.
The (Historic Jeddah Revitalization Project) aims to work on developing many of the historical and heritage monuments that exist in Jeddah, especially as it contains more than 600 heritage and cultural buildings, and a large number of historical mosques, which are represented in 36 historical mosques.
Moreover, there is an interest in the development of five major historical markets, in addition to the development of major historical sites such as the ancient waterfront, which was a major route for the pilgrims’ journey in past periods.
The new heritage project also contributes to the preparation of an integrated heritage environment within Historic Jeddah, in light of the presence of many natural environmental components, which are the distinctive waterfronts, green spaces, and open gardens that cover 15% of the total area of Jeddah.
The new project will be implemented according to multiple tracks over 15 years. The project includes improving the level of infrastructure and services in addition to developing urbanization in line with the form of the heritage architectural system in Jeddah, which contributes significantly to improving the quality of life for citizens.
This is in light of the Kingdom’s government’s interest in national heritage and nature with contemporary engineering designs, which makes Historic Jeddah an important destination for many visitors interested in seeing distinctive heritage, cultural and urban sites, as well as picturesque nature and wonderful marine destinations.
The “Revitalizing Historic Jeddah” program is considered a developmental renaissance for the governorate of Jeddah, as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims, through the launch of this program, to invest all the heritage and natural scenic elements that are available in Jeddah, following the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030.