Historic Jeddah
​The port city of Jeddah on the Red Sea is a sight to behold. It is the Kingdom’s second largest city and boasts the longest waterfront in the Jeddah Corniche. Historic houses, hotels and sculptures line the streets of this popular tourist destination, which serves as a gateway to the holy cities of Makkah and Medina. 

 Historic Jeddah on UNESCO list

Historic Jeddah – the old Al Balad quarter, with its old buildings and traditional souks —was put on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012.  Described as the Bride of the Red Sea, Jeddah is noted for its significance as an ancient trade and its characteristic Hejazi-style multi-story houses built out of coral. 

 Nasseef House

Nasseef House in the center of Jeddah is one of Jeddah’s most important monuments. Now a museum, it was  constructed in 1872 for Sheikh Omar Nasseef and took nine years to complete. It gained significance when King Abdulaziz stayed there in 1925, hosted by Nasseef, when the people of Jeddah pledged their loyalty to the king. The Sheikh bequeathed it as a gift to the nation on his death.

 Historic walls

Historic Jeddah is surrounded by a defensive wall with seven gates  which were built in stages according to necessity and are known as Bab Makkah, Bab Al Madina, Bab Al Sharif, Bab Jadeed, Bab Al Bint and Bab Al Mughrabi. At the beginning of the 2000s, Bab Al Saba was added.

 Ancient dwellings

The houses of Al Balad represent a distinctive Hejazi architectural style and are noted for their strength and durability. The most notable of these dwellings are Dar Al Nassif, Dar Al Jamjoom in Harrat Al-Yemen, Dar Al Ba'ashin, Dar Al Qabil and Al Shafi'i Mosque in Harrat. These buildings have stood the test of time due to their durability and sturdy construction. 


Along the facades of closely aligned houses, locked doors, still windows and winding narrow alleys, there are owners long gone, leaving behind stories, and a beautiful past that once filled these homes. Explore the countless markets,  the most popular being Souk Al Aluwi, Souk Al Baddu Souk Gabils and Souk Al Nada.

 Jeddah's historic districts

Inside the old wall Jeddah is divided into a number of districts, the best known being Harrat Al Mathloum , the site of the city’s oldest mosque. Harrat Al Sham is located in the north, to the south is Harrat Al Yemen (and Nasseef House) and Harrat Al Bahar, the seafront district. 

 Jeddah's traditional customs

The people of Jeddah – in common with the rest of the country – passionately believe in hospitality. When a guest arrives, a Hejazi family will decorate their house with lights, don traditional Hijazi costume and welcome their guest with song and verse. These rituals are particularly offered in Jeddah, during the month of Ramadan, especially in Al Balad, where the beautifully preserved buildings magnify the welcome. 

 Traditional Foods

In souks throughout the city visitors can find food vendors offering all kinds of traditional delicacy including hummus, a staple in Hejaz since ancient times,  snacks and juices from colorful wheeled carts. 


Held during the nation’s spring break, Jeddah Historic Festival includes traditional arts, old markets and Hijaz cuisine, enabling visitors to immerse themselves in bygone days and enjoy displays on everything from art to old coins. ​

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