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Main » 2011 » March » 13 » Jeddah
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Jeddah

Jeddah

Jeddah (The bride of The Red Sea) is a Saudi Arabian city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Mecca Province and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The population of the city currently stands at over 3.4 million. It is considered the second commercial capital of Saudi Arabia. Jeddah is considered to be the principal gateway to Mecca, Islam's holiest city. Muslims are required to visit at least once in their lifetime.

Jeddah is known as the Paris of Arabia, It is one of the few cities in the region to have built around, rather than over, its times gone by. Although it's definitely a modern metropolitan area, Jeddah (which is mid-way down the country's Red Sea coast) is also the most interesting and friendly big city of Saudi Arabia's big cities. Jeddah is centered on town, the strip of buildings along its coastline road and the old city directly behind them.

 

Life

Life in Jeddah is different from many cities in Saudi Arabia for many reasons. Firstly, Jeddah is a cosmopolitan city, more so than any other city in the country; it has many people coming from all over the world, who share their cultures. Secondly, it has many historical buildings, with traditional designs, and it has lots of buildings near the beach. It also has very nice beaches and a Cornice where people spend a very good time and relax. Also, Jeddah has the tallest fountain in the world, named King Fahd Fountain. Last but not least, it has the annual Jeddah Festival. During the festival, there are many games and activities held in the city. There are shopping sprees, water skiing competitions, art exhibitions, and music festivals. Not only that, the prices of the things that are sold there are reasonably cheap.

Transport

1- Airport

Jeddah is served by King Abdul-Aziz International Airport which is one of the world's busiest airports. The airport has four passenger terminals. One is the Hajj (pilgrimage) Terminal, a special outdoor terminal covered by very huge tents, which was constructed to handle the more than 2 million pilgrims who pass through the airport during the Hajj season. The Southern Terminal is used for Saudi Airlines flights with the Northern Terminal for foreign and other national airlines. The Royal Terminal is a special terminal for VIPs, foreign Kings and Presidents, and even the Saudi Royal Family. A portion of the airport was used by Coalition B-52 heavy bombers during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

2- Seaport

Moreover, the Jeddah Seaport which is the 32nd busiest seaport in the world (2007) handles the majority of Saudi Arabia's commercial movement.

3- Roads and rails

Jeddah does not have any rapid transit system but a current plan to connect the city to the capital, Riyadh, via a train. It is now under construction. The Haramain High Speed Rail Project will provide a high speed rail connection to Mecca and Medina. Modern streets connect the city parts to each other. In Jeddah the main highways run parallel to each other with an eight lane road.

Culture

 Religious significance

The vast majority of Jeddah citizens are Sunni Muslims, with a minority of Shia Muslims, and Asian, Western, and Arab Christians. There is also non-Muslim/non-Christian Asians. There are no non-Muslim citizens; while there are Muslims who are not citizens, all non-Muslims are resident expatriate workers. The city has over 1,300 Mosques and has no Churches, Synagogues, or other types of places of worship; non-Muslims are also strictly not allowed to celebrate their religion in any way openly. However, some Filipino workers report the presence of Churches inside some Gated communities.

Open-air art

During the oil boom in the late 1970s and 1980s, there was a focused civic effort at bringing art to Jeddah's public areas. As a result, Jeddah contains a large number of modern open air sculptures and works of art, typically situated in roundabouts, which makes it to this day the largest open-air art gallery in the world. Sculptures include works by a variety of artists, ranging from the obscure to international stars such as Jean/Hans Arp, César Baldaccini, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Joan Miró and Victor Vasarely and often depict elements of traditional Saudi culture - coffee pots, incense burners, palm trees, etc. The fact that Islamic tradition prohibits the depiction of living creatures, notably the human form, has made for some very creative modern art, ranging from the tasteful to the bizarre and downright hideous. These include a mounted defunct propeller plane, a giant geometry set, a giant bicycle, and a huge block of concrete with several cars protruding out of it at odd angles.

Museums and collections

There may be about a dozen museums or collections in Jeddah. Some of these, showing a wide variety of educational aim and professionalism, are the Jeddah Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography run by the Deputy Ministry of Antiquities and Museums, the Jeddah Municipal Museum, the Naseef House, the private Abdul Rauf Hassan Khalil Museum and the private Arts Heritage Museum.

 Media

Jeddah is served by four major Arabic-language newspapers, Asharq Al-Awsat, Al-Medina, Okaz, Al-Bilad, as well as two major English-language newspapers, The Saudi Gazette and Arab News. Okaz and Al-Madina are Jeddah's and some other Saudi cities' primary newspaper with over a million readers focusing mainly on issues that affect the city.

Jeddah is the largest radio and television market in Saudi Arabia. Television stations serving the city area include Saudi TV1, Saudi TV2, Saudi TV Sports, Al-Ekhbariya, ART channels network and hundreds of cable, satellite and other specialty television providers.

The Jeddah TV Tower is a 250 m (820 ft) high television tower with an observation deck at Jeddah. The construction of the tower started in 2006 and finished in 2007 and is a part of the new branch of Ministry of Information in Jeddah.

Cityscape

Old Jeddah

The Old City with its traditional multistory buildings and merchant houses has lost ground to more modern development.

 Resorts

The city has a lot of popular resorts, including Durrat Al-Arus, Crystal Resort, Al Nakheel Village, Sands, Sheraton Abhur, and many other splendid resorts. Many are renowned for their preserved Red Sea marine life and offshore coral reefs.

 Hotels

The increasing occupancy rates of hotels every year depends on the number of tourists and hajj pilgrims. In the last few years, Jeddah received more than 2.5 millions pilgrims per year.

 Consulates

One of three consulates of the United States of America in Saudi Arabia is located in Jeddah, along with consulates for 67 other countries such as United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and People's Republic of China as well as countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Arab League states.

Landmarks

King Fahd Fountain

Jeddah's King Fahd's Fountain is a major landmark built in the 1980s and listed by the Guinness World Records organization as the highest water jet in the world at 312 meters (1,024 feet) and can be seen from very far distances. The fountain was donated to the City of Jeddah by the late King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz which is where the name is derived.

NCB Tower (National Commercial Bank is Saudi Arabia's first bank).

Built in 1983 and believed to be the highest tower in Saudi Arabia during the 1980s, with a height over 235 m (771 ft).

IDB Tower

The Islamic Development Bank is a multilateral development financing institution. It was founded by the first conference of Finance Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), convened 18 December 1973. The bank officially began its activities on 20 October 1975.

Jeddah Municipality Tower

This is the headquarters of the metropolitan area of Jeddah; the new building of the Municipality is one of Jeddah's highest towers.

The increasing occupancy rates of hotels every year depends on the number of tourists and hajj pilgrims. In the last few years, Jeddah received more than 2.5 millions pilgrims per year.

By Shimaa Abd El Mageed

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeddah

www.jeddah-ksa.com

www.the-saudi.net


Source : http://www.factofarabs.net/ERA.aspx?Id=427&TId=36
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