Jeddah Journals

Balad- The Soul of Jeddah

A December 2002 trip to Jeddah by Ahmed Nagoor

Quote: Balad, the old Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, is a walled city still exhibiting the charm of the medieval times. It is an enchanting experience that I would like to share with others.

Balad- The Soul of Jeddah

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Overview

Quote:
Jeddah, the commercial capital of Saudi Arabia is the most cosmopolitan city in the Middle East with people from more than 100 countries living there. Jeddah is the entry port for millions of Hajj pilgrims undertaking the mandatory pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. The thriving commercial port and cosmopolitan nature of the city sets it apart from other cities in the kingdom, where the Islamic rules are strictly implemented. Fuelled by petro-dollars the city has expanded to a large area with swanky supermarkets and commercial complexes, but the soul of Jeddah lies in the walled old city called as Balad. Balad, literally meaning "The Town", is where we can experience the exotic market places, histo...Read More

Local Balad Restaurants

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Restaurant | "Local Restaurants in Balad"

Quote:
Don’t miss to have a glass of fresh fruit juice from a juice shop located near the subway entrance of Souk Al Alawi, where you could get juice from almost all fruits in the world. I went through the list of fruits and at last settled for a normal orange juice, not willing to take any risk. The Al Alawi Moroccan restaurant located neat the Biet Nasssif building is housed in an aesthetically restored building creating a mystical medieval environment for diners wishing to taste traditional Moroccan and African cuisine. There are many "Boofia's", or small cafeterias serving tea, coffee, sandwiches and also "Sherwma", a popular takeaway made with chicken pieces, onion and French fries rolled in traditiona...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 17, 2003

Local Balad Restaurants
Balad
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Quote:
The December morning was quiet and cool as I started crisscrossing the lanes and by lanes, stopping by to have a closer look at the century's old multi-storied buildings. Almost all the buildings house shops in the ground floor and residential quarters in the upper floors. The architecture of the building is unique for this region in that they are built mainly from rectangular mud bricks or cut stones. The lower portions of the walls are made of stone bricks while the mud bricks replace are predominantly used in the upper walls with latticed wooden poles placed horizontally running the entire length of the walls every 4 to 5 feet height. This different architecture tickled my engineering brain to thin...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 17, 2003

Ancient buildings in Balad
Balad, Jeddah
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Makkets in Balad

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Attraction

Quote:
All of us during our childhood dreamed to be Aladdin, to be a part of the fabulous 1001 Arabian Nights tales, wishing to be there when it happened. The closest place one can get is "Balad"- Literally translated as "The city", a part of Old Jeddah. Balad attracted me the very first time I saw it, it was evening, the sun slowly slipping into the Red sea and as night tries to spread darkness, Balad, with its narrow stone topped lanes, treaded by travelers and traders for centuries, come to life showcasing a vibrant market place teaming with traders and street hawkers shouting to get the attention of bystanders, which reminded me of market streets back in India, giving me a feeling of being at home. To an...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 17, 2003

Makkets in Balad
Balad, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

History of Jeddah

Story/Tip

Quote:
History of Balad and Jeddah: As I walked through the silent lanes of Balad, my mind flew backward in time to think about the history of Jeddah. Present day Jeddah came into existence as a fishing village when the "Quadaa" fishermen tribe settled 2500 years ago as its natural harbor and reef offered good fishing. The city grew into an important trading outpost as it was situated on the trading routes between Yemen and Europe. The city was fortified with limestone coral walls as early as 1000 AD, which was recorded by noted traveler Nasir-I-Kusuro. The earlier fortification had two gates one facing the east towards Mecca and the other towards the sea. The fortification was strengthened in 16th cen...Read More

Rendezvous with a Local Arab

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Enchanting Rendezvous with a local Arab As I was giving some work to my newly acquired camera, shooting the old buildings, with the highly carved and turquoise exterior walls, some awaiting reconstruction and others crumbling down unable to with stand the test of the time, an elderly Arab called me and said some thing in Arabic, which was beyond my comprehension. Aware of the fact that Arabs do not like visitors to take photos in public places, I packed my gears and started to leave the place. He followed me and caught my hand and tugged me -- now the worst fear of any foreigner in Arabia, offending the local culture, which could potentially land you in jail, even on a verbal complaint by the lo...Read More