Jeddah is a city in the Hijaz Tihamah region on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. 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 currently at 3.4 million people, Jeddah is an important commercial hub in Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah is the principal gateway to Mecca, Islam's holiest city, which able-bodied Muslims are required to visit at least once in their lifetime. It is also a gateway to Medina, the second holiest place in Islam.
Economically, Jeddah is focusing on further developing capital investment in scientific and engineering leadership within Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East. Jeddah was independently ranked fourth in the Africa - Mid-East region in terms of innovation in 2009 in the Innovation Cities.
Jeddah is one of Saudi Arabia's primary resort cities and was named a Gamma world city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC). Given the city's close proximity to the Red Sea, fishing and sea food dominates the food culture unlike other parts of the country. The city has been labeled as "different" by the majority of Saudis in an effort to promote tourism in the city, that had been previously perceived as "most open" city in Saudi Arabia.
Historically, Jeddah has been well known for its legendary money changers. The largest of said money changers at the time (the late Sheikh Salem Bin Mahfouz) eventually founded Saudi Arabia's first bank, the National Commercial Bank (NCB).
During the oil boom in the late 1970s and 1980s, there was a focused civic effort to bring 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, making the city one of the largest open-air art galleries in the world.
Sculptures include works by Jean/Hans Arp, César Baldaccini, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Joan Miró and Victor Vasarely. They often depict traditional Saudi items such as 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, as well as bizarre, modern art. These include a giant geometry set, a giant bicycle, and a huge block of concrete with several cars protruding from it at odd angles.
LOCAL FOOD AND FINE DINING
Blending Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines, Jeddah's restaurant scene is full of spice, sharing platters, metre-long kebabs and sushi. Eating out is a truly multicultural experience, where international culinary influences cross paths with typical Saudi food. Unmissable for their elaborate décor, signature dishes and stunning views, here are ten of Jeddah's must-visit restaurants.
Is home to an exquisite selection of internationally inspired restaurants sure to satisfy everyone's taste buds. The aromas wafting from the Persian bakery taunt guests with the delights that await them in whichever restaurant they choose to dine in.
The Amara's menu changes seasonally to ensure that only the freshest and tastiest ingredients are used in each dish. Guests can enjoy the healthy Arabic food whilst looking out over the hypnotic Red Sea.
Next door, Ajji serves sushi and other Asian dishes with a unique Bellevue twist, all prepared at the live-cooking station in the centre of the restaurant.
The Lumiere completes the public dining set as the newest member of the Bellevue family. It is only open for dinner and the pink and gold luxurious décor makes it the most fairy-tale like of them all.
For a taste of local Hijazi cooking style of seafood in an elegant environments, Twina Park & Seafood Restaurant is the place for it. The restaurant location is easily accessible by the corniche and it has a wide varieties of fish and other seafood cooked in different dishes.
KING FAHAD'S FOUNTAIN
The fountain was donated to the city of Jeddah by King Fahd, hence its name. It was constructed between 1980 and 1983 and was launched in 1985 The fountain jets water to a maximum height, according to different sources, either 853 feet (260 m)or 1,024 feet (312 m)above the Red Sea. Even at the lower figure, King Fahd's Fountain would easily be the world's tallest; the second-tallest is the Gateway Geyser in East St. Louis, Illinois, USA with a water height of about 630 feet (192 m).
The fountain is visible throughout the entire vicinity of Jeddah. The water it ejects can reach a speed of 375 kilometres (233 mi) per hour and its airborne mass can exceed 18 short tons (16,000 kg). The fountain uses saltwater taken from the Red Sea instead of freshwater. It uses over 500 spotlights to illuminate the fountain at night.