Historic Jeddah
​​​​​​​​​​The port city of Jeddah on the Red Sea is a sight to behold. It is the Kingdom’s second largest city boasting the biggest waterfront area known as 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 Mecca and Medina.

 Historic Jeddah

Ancient buildings and traditional souqs (markets) can be found in the old town called al-Balad and gates mark where the city wall once stood. Historic Jeddah is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which describes it as the “bride of the Red Sea” and notes its significance as an ancient trade city. It is famous for its multistory houses built out of coral. Tourists can also view the city’s mosques and wander around endless markets.

 Nasseef House

 Nasseef House can be found in the center of Jeddah; it is one of the most important monuments in Jeddah and has since been converted into 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 showed loyalty to the King Abdulaziz, may Allah bless his soul. Nasseef gave it as a gift to the state which in turn restored it many times.

 Historic walls

Jeddah is surrounded by a wall with seven doors connecting the city to the outside world. 
These seven gates have been 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 century, a new gate was added called Bab Al Saba.

 Ancient dwellings

The houses of Old Jeddah represent a distinctive architectural style built according to the dominant architectural style in the Hijaz region and are noted for their strength and durability. These houses reflect the reality of the Kingdom’s original heritage found in its four old quarters. The most notable of these dwellings   are Dar Al Nassif, Dar Al-Jamjoom in Harrat Al-Yemen (The Yemeni District), Dar Al-Ba'ashin, Dar Al-Qabil and Al-Shafi'i Mosque in Harrat. These buildings have stood the test of time due their durability and sturdy construction. 


Along the facades of closely aligned houses, locked doors, still windows and winding narrow alleys, are owners long gone, leaving behind life stories, and a beautiful past that once filled these homes. Explore the endless lines of  markets with 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 has been divided into a number of  districts, the most well-known being Harrat Al-Mathloum that took its name after one of its inhabitants and features the town’s oldest mosque. Harrat Al-Sham is located in the north, Harrat Al-Yemen in the south where you can find Nasseef House and Harrat Al-Bahar, or the seafront district. 

 Jeddah's traditional customs

Jeddah's customs, as the rest of the country, surround welcoming guests. When a guest arrives a Hijaz family will have decorated their house with lights, and some residents wear traditional dress  known only among Hijazi people. The host and his family will sing songs celebrating their guests. These rituals are aesthetic features of the city of Jeddah, during the month of Ramadan, especially in the central historic region where there is so much history which has been preserved beautifully.  

 Traditional Foods

​In the souks or markets of the town you will find vendors selling all kinds of traditional delicacies including delicious hummus which has been a staple part of  the Hijaz diet since ancient times. Vendors of traditional food also offer local cuisine and juices from wheeled carts, present across the town. 


Do not miss the opportunity to attend the Jeddah Historic Festival and enjoy traditional arts, old markets and Hijaz cuisine. The festival coincides with  spring break and the month of Ramadan. The artistic and historical offerings allow visitors to immerse themselves into the rich history of the area with displays on everything from art to old coins. Visitors can also see old Islamic mosques and traditional clothing.

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