Jeddah is a city in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia and the country's commercial center. With a population of about four million people , Jeddah is the largest city in Makkah Province, the second-largest in Saudi Arabia , and the tenth-largest in the Arab world. Jeddah Islamic Port, located on the Red Sea, is the second-largest and second-busiest seaport in the Arab world .
Jeddah is the principal gateway to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, located just 65 kilometres to the east, while Medina, the second-holiest city, is located 360 kilometres to the north. The city takes its name (which means “ancestress,” or “grandmother”) from the location there of the reputed tomb of Eve, which was destroyed by the Saudi government in 1928 in the belief that it encouraged superstition.
Jeddah is of Saudi Arabia's primary resort cities and was named a Beta world city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network . Given the city's close proximity to the Red Sea, fishing and seafood dominates the food culture unlike other parts of the country. In Arabic, the city's motto is «Jeddah Ghair», which translates to «Jeddah is different». The Berber traveler Ibn Battuta visited Jeddah during his world trip in around 1330. He wrote the name of the city into his diary as «Jiddah». Some archaeologists' studies suggest the existence of inhabitants in the region now known as Jeddah since the Stone Age seeing as they found some artifacts and 'Thamoudian' writings in Wadi Breiman east of Jeddah and Wadi Boib northeast of Jeddah. Some historians trace its founding to the tribe of Bani Quda'ah, who inhabited it after the collapse of Sad Ma'rib in 115 BC. Some believe that Jeddah had been inhabited before the tribe of Bani Quda'ah by fishermen in the Red Sea, who considered it a center from which they sailed out into the sea as well as a place for relaxation and well-being.
Facts and Data
- Eve’s Tomb is believed to be situated in an area in Jeddah
- Jeddah has more than 40 branches of the popular chain restaurant Al Baik
- Jeddah has the world’s tallest unsupported flagpole
- Al Balad, located in Jeddah, is a UNESCO Heritage site
- The Jeddah Tower in construction is to be the tallest tower in the world once finished
After World War II, Jiddah was completely modernized and expanded with the new wealth acquired by Saudi Arabia from oil royalties. One of Saudi Arabia’s largest cities and busiest seaports, Jiddah was the diplomatic capital of the country and the location of the Saudi ministry of foreign affairs and of the embassies and missions of foreign governments before these were all transferred to the Saudi capital of Riyadh in the mid-1980s.
Metropolitan Jeddah comprises 137 districts.
Jeddah has long been a port city. Even before being designated the port city for Mecca, Jeddah was a trading hub for the region. In the 19th century, goods such as mother-of-pearl, tortoise shells, frankincense, and spices were routinely exported from the city. Apart from this, many imports into the city were destined for further transit to the Suez, Africa, or Europe. Many goods passing through Jeddah could not even be found in the city or even in Arabia. Jeddah Economic City, previously known as Kingdom City, is a 5,202,570 m2 project approved for construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The project is designed by the Kingdom Holding Company, a firm owned by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. Jeddah Economic City will host both commercial and residential development including homes, hotels, and offices. The centerpiece of the development will be Jeddah Tower, planned to be the tallest building in the world upon its completion. The entire project is estimated to cost $20 billion .
King Abdullah Street is one of the most important streets in Jeddah and runs from King Fahd Road by the waterfront in the west of Jeddah to the eastern end of the city. This road also faced a catastrophe in 2011 when it was submerged with rainwater.
Tahaliyah Street is an important fashion and shopping street in central Jeddah. It contains many upscale department and high fashion brands stores as well as boutiques. It has been renamed Prince Mohammad bin Abdul Aziz Road by the government, but this official name is not widely used. It also has many fine dining options.
Madinah Road is a historically significant street in Jeddah. It links the Southern districts with the North, and contains the Main offices of several companies and showrooms.
The city’s economy, once dependent on pilgrim expenditures and fishing, was diversified to include steel-rolling mills, oil refineries, and the manufacture of cement, clothing, and pottery. Other activities include cattle raising and dairying and many small industries.
Arable land and water are scarce, and food must be imported. Vegetables and fruits are brought in daily from the surrounding wadis, such as Wadi Fāṭimah, from the area of al-Ṭāʾif to the east-southeast, and from the southern agricultural areas, such as Bilād Ghāmid and Bilād Zahrān. Foodstuffs are imported from abroad mainly through the port of Jiddah, 45 miles (70 km) to the west on the Red Sea. Industry is limited and includes the manufacture of textiles, furniture, and utensils. The overall urban economy is commercial and service-oriented.
Jeddah is served by King Abdulaziz International Airport. The airport has four passenger terminals. One is the Hajj Terminal, a special outdoor terminal covered by large white tents, which was constructed to handle the more than two million pilgrims who pass through the airport during the Hajj season. The Southern Terminal is used by Saudia and Flynas , while the Northern Terminal serves foreign airlines. A plan for the extension of the airport is being developed. The Royal Terminal is a special terminal reserved for VIPs, foreign kings and presidents, and the Saudi royal family. Before King Abdulaziz Airport opened in 1981, Kandara Airport served Jeddah. It was at Kandara, a neighborhood very near the town center. However, the old Jeddah airport experienced heavy congestion, especially during hajj seasons. After the airport became defunct, the area was redeveloped for housing.
The Jeddah Seaport is the 32nd busiest seaport in the world as of 2008. It handles the majority of Saudi Arabia's commercial movement. It is manufactured by spanish trainset manufacturer Talgo.
In 2017 Jeddah seaport handled 4,309,765 TEUs and in the year 2018 handled 4,215,248 TEUs. Highway 40, which begins in Jeddah, connects the city to Mecca, Riyadh and Dammam on the east coast. Jeddah does not have any rapid transit system, but a rail system connecting the city to Riyadh is now under construction. The Haramain High Speed Rail Project will provide a connection to Mecca and Medina. There is a contracted plan to build an extensive light metro system known as the Jeddah Metro, throughout the city by 2020.
Modon is developing new industrial cities in Sudair, Jazan, Ar’ar, Al-Kharj, Al-Gurayaat, Zulfi, Al-Baha and a second industrial estate in Jeddah. Also, Modon is re-developing existing industrial cities, as well as building model factories. Modon is also establishing industrial cities in the reformatories of Al-Ha'er and Jeddah in cooperation with the Public Administration of Prisons.
The Saudi Gazette reports that there is a plan in the works to tackle the traffic issue. A reported 3 billion Saudi Riyals will be put into constructing flyovers and underpasses in an effort to expedite traffic. The plan is scheduled to take about five years from its start to finish.
Social and Human resource aspects
As of 2005, Jeddah had 849 public and private schools for male students and another 1,179 public and private schools for female students. The medium of instruction in both public and private schools is typically Arabic, with emphasis on English as a second language. However, some private schools administered by foreign entities conduct classes in English. These include 10+ Indian schools following the CBSE board of education system, several Pakistani and Bangladeshi schools as well. As of 2005, Jeddah also had four Philippine international schools, with two more scheduled to open shortly afterward.
The central library at King Abdulaziz University (main branch) is a five story building that has a large collection of Arabic and English language books, rare books and documents as well as access to several online databases. It is open for public access and allows borrowing of books after requesting a library card. Saturdays are dedicated for female visitors. King Abdul Aziz Public Library is a philanthropic institution which was founded and supported by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, chairman of its board of directors. Established in 1985, the library was officially opened by the King on 27 February 1987. It emphasises Islamic and Arabic heritage and history of the Kingdom. The library is divided into three branches (men's, women's, and children's). In April 2014, Prince Mishaal Ibn Abdullah Abdulaziz opened a new public library in Jeddah by Makkah Governor, under the name of King Fahd Public Library.