Houses of Old Jeddah

The old houses of Historic Jeddah were built based on old designs and architectural style, that served as an authentic and genuine form of art.

Locals built their houses using carefully quarried rocks from the nearby “Arba’een Lake". The rocks were reshaped using hand tools and set according to their sizes along the wooden beams obtained from the surrounding areas, such as Wadi Fatima, or imported from other countries, especially from India through the local seaport. They used clay dug out from the bottom of “Bahr Al-teen Lake” to bind the rocks. Construction method was to position rocks into Midameks, which are blocks of rocks being separated by wooden beams called “Taqalils”.  Wooden beams were separated by a meter apart. This method helped distribution of weight evenly on the walls. Older buildings to a large extent resemble the modern buildings in the area, where the wooden beams are used to hold the rocks and concrete together, and also to reduce weight on the building.
The most popular oldest buildings that still stand in good shape are, Al Naseef House and Al Jamjoom House in Harat Al Yemen, Ba Ishen House, Al Gabil House and Al Shafe’ey Mosque in Harat Al Madhloom, Al Ba Najah House and Al Zahd in Hart Al Sham.  Some of these buildings rise to a height of more than 30 meters. Even with the passage of decades, some of them are still in good condition given their sturdy construction.

The old houses in Historic Jeddah were provided with wooden lattices as wind-catchers in every room. Large “Rawashin” (bay windows) were also used made of ornate wood to decorate walls over a large area, which facilitated the airflow and distribution of cool air throughout the house, as well as they would cast shadows across the walls and alleviate heat. The houses were constructed alongside in such a way that they produced extensive shadows on each other rendering them cool in hot summers​

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