Red Mermaid, this is what this modern city is called. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh.
With a population of about 4 million people (as of 2014), Jeddah is an important commercial hub in Saudi Arabia and that’s why considered as the country’s commercial capital.
Jeddah is considered also a big Islamic tourist destination in Saudi Arabia and the principal gateway to Makkah, Islam's holiest city, which Muslims are required to visit at least once in their lifetime. It is also a gateway to Madina, the second holiest place in Islam.
Jeddah is the most easygoing city in the kingdom and cosmopolitan part of the country with much diversity in its expat population.
Historically, politically and culturally, Jeddah was a major city of Hejaz Vilayet, the Kingdom of Hejaz and other regional political entities according to Hijazi history books. It is the 100th largest city in the world by land area.
Jeddah is located in the western region of Saudi Arabia (called Hejaz Tihamah) which is in the lower Hijaz Mountains and lies with Red Sea coast.
The Red Sea is one of the world's main navigation routes, connecting three continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe.
The Red Sea known in Arabic (Al-Baḥr Al-Aḥmar) and historically, it was also known to western geographers as Mare Mecca (Sea of Mecca).
Narrow strip of water extending southeastward from Egypt, for about 1,200 miles (1,930 km) to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects with the Gulf of Aden and thence with the Arabian Sea.
Its maximum width is 190 miles, its greatest depth 9,974 feet (3,040 meters), and its area approximately 174,000 square miles.
The Red Sea is a rich and diverse ecosystem, the 2,000 km long coral reef system in the Red Sea ranks among the top five coral reefs in the world.
The Red Sea is known for its picturesque diving areas which considered also one of the best dives in Saudi Arabia.
The importance of the Red Sea lies in its being a major transit point for the export of oil from the Arabian Gulf to the world markets.
Tourism in Jeddah
Jeddah is a modern city with a high potential to spend the most amazing times, whether for recreation or work. It is a city that beats with vibrant and pleasure when everyone enjoys a visit, both young and old through entertainment and cultural events throughout the year.
In term of urban development, Jeddah has done much to improve its image over the years. North Jeddah in particular has undergone massive redevelopment to make the Corniche (Beach) more attractive to visitors, while upscale department stores and malls have expanded shoppers' choices.
The city has many popular hotels and resorts as well as famed for its international cuisine and seafood, and it remains a sweet spot for seasoned and novice scuba divers.
The Al Balad district, the heart of old Jeddah, is a nostalgic testament to the city's by gone days, with the beautiful coral architecture of historic buildings casting some welcome shade over the bustling souqs where shopkeepers hawk their goods.
There are some listed attractions; you might have the interest to visit:
- Jeddah Regional Museum of Archaeology & Ethnography
- Humane Heritage Museum
- Nasseef House
- Al Tayibat City Museum for International Civilization
- Floated Mosque (Alrahmah Mosqe)
- Fakieh Aquarium
- King’s Fountain
- Aljoharah Stadium
Transportation in Jeddah
Jeddah, relies on air and sea transportation (King Abdulaziz Airport & Islamic Jeddah port) which are the most important means of transporting passengers to and from the city.
In addition to air and sea traffic, Jeddah is connected to Saudi Arabia’s most important road, the Highway 40, which crosses the entire Arabian Desert to Dammam. Adventurous expats can board an overland bus to Abha, Dammam, Ji’zan, Najran, Riyadh, Taif, or Yanbu.
On the end of 2017, the Saudi Government will start operate Al Haramain Express Train Project, one of the important elements in the expansion of the railway network in the kingdom. Which is specifically designed for Hajj Season due to the growing number of pilgrims from inside and outside the kingdom. It will be connected between Makkah and Madinah through Jeddah City with a length of more than 450 km equipped with modern signaling and communication system.
Although the Saudi government has instigated a plan to develop a public transport system in Jeddah, which includes a metro, busses and ferries, it will take at least seven years to be up and running. Until this point, the Short-term visitors rely on taxis to get around (white limousines recognizable by the taxi sign on top of the car), rental car, or via a shuttle service to most international hotels in town.
Education in Jeddah
There are several kinds of educational facilities which are providing an international education in Jeddah whether private schools or colleges. Some international schools, where the language in the classroom is generally English, but where you can find kids of various nationalities. Others, aim at instructing children from specific countries or with particular linguistic and cultural backgrounds, such as German or Japanese students.
Accommodations in Jeddah
Expats moving to Jeddah will be glad to hear that it is the least expensive metropolis in the Middle East. In one of the Living Surveys done in 2016, Jeddah was listed on rank 230 out of approximately 372 expatriate destinations. In Jeddah, most expatriates move into so-called compounds. These communities are particularly attracted foreign residents from Anglo-American countries, Continental Europe, and Japan. In upmarket compounds, facilities include a convenience store or small supermarket, a restaurant, a hairdresser, an info center, management staff, a swimming pool, a gym, various sports grounds, a nursery or daycare center and a playground for resident kids, and limousine service.