Top Famous Places in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

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When people think of Saudi Arabia, they think of strict rules and oppressive laws. But what most people don’t realize is that it doesn’t apply everywhere. For example, in Jeddah, there are many good places to visit and it’s not as strict, especially when it comes to women. Many Saudis prefer to live in Jeddah because they have more choices as to where to go.

1. Al Shafee Mosque, Jeddah

Al Shafee Mosque

Beautifully restored and maintained, this historic mosque, one of the most beautiful in Jeddah, takes its name from one of the four great imams of classical Sunni Islam. Most of the building dates from the 16th century and is in Ottoman style, including the impressive minaret. However, the foundations of the mosque date from the first period of Islam, the mihrab (niche indicating the direction of Mecca) being almost 1400 years old. Superb carved redwood doors open onto the small courtyard.

2. Matbouli House Museum, Jeddah

Matbouli House Museum

With so many traditional houses closed in Al Balad, this private museum in a beautiful three-story property with superb Hejazi mashrabiyya (wooden lattice balconies) is a real find. The house has been minimally renovated to present rooms and decor that seem more authentic than what is found in some of the more refined examples. Old gramophones and telephones complement uneven floors, stairwells and beautiful wooden ceilings. If there is a downside, it is that there is no access to the roof.

3. Corniche, Jeeddah

Corniche

Formerly a stretch of smelly and unpleasant coast, the cornice of northern Jeddah has been transformed into a pleasant walkway and a leisure area. There are artificial bathing bays, lush landscaping, children’s parks, outdoor gymnasiums, jetties, a host of fast food places and cafes, and a new large walkway that starts near the Hilton and continues on traffic and to the north end. People from Jeddah flock here, especially on weekend evenings, when the atmosphere is delicious.

4. Souq Al Alawi, Jeddah

Souq Al Alawi

This souk flows off Al Dahab Street and is the most extensive in the Kingdom. Market stalls enter the heart of the old town and are buzzing with activity from traders and pilgrims. Search long enough and you will find real Arabic jewelry, Islamic art and traditional clothing. Be here at sunset when the call to prayer fills the ways – this is Arabia at its best.

5. Al Tayibat City Museum for International Civilisation, Jeddah

Al Tayibat City Museum for International Civilisation

This four-story private collection features items ranging from pre-Islamic artifacts, exquisite Islamic manuscripts, old coins and weapons to superb furnishings, pottery and traditional Saudi clothing. Home interior replicas from each region are also presented. The exhibitions are accompanied by excellent information panels, as well as dioramas from the provinces of the Kingdom. If you arrive early enough, you may be lucky and receive a private tour.

6. Al Rahma Mosque, Jeddah

Al Rahma Mosque

This private four-story collection features items ranging from pre-Islamic artifacts, exquisite Islamic manuscripts, old coins and weapons to superb furnishings, pottery and traditional Saudi clothing. Home interior replicas from each region are also presented. The exhibitions are accompanied by excellent information panels, as well as dioramas from the provinces of the Kingdom. If you arrive early enough, you may be lucky and get a private tour.

7. Naseef House, Jeddah

Naseef House

This private four-story collection includes items ranging from pre-Islamic artifacts, exquisite Islamic manuscripts, old coins and weapons to superb furnishings, pottery and traditional Saudi clothing. Home interior replicas from each region are also presented. The exhibitions are accompanied by excellent information panels, as well as dioramas from the provinces of the Kingdom. If you arrive early enough, you may be lucky and get a private tour.

8. Bab Makkah, Jeddah

Bab Makkah

The Mecca gate was historically the most important gate for Jeddah, the official pilgrimage port of Arabia. It is at the start of the road that led to the most sacred city in Islam. Over the past 14 centuries, billions of pilgrims have passed below. The impressive three-arched recreation is flanked by large round turrets. The door seems to have been impregnable in its time, whereas it would have been supported by a wall which made the tour of the whole city.

9. Sharbatly House, Jeddah

Sharbatly House

The Mecca gate was historically the most important gateway to Jeddah, the official pilgrimage port of Arabia. It was at the start of the road that led to the most sacred city in Islam. Over the past 14 centuries, billions of pilgrims have passed below. The impressive three-arched recreation is flanked by large round turrets. The door seems to have been impregnable in its time, whereas it would have been supported by a wall which made the tour of the whole city.

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