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 century to protect the city from Portuguese attack with six watchtowers and gates. The gates Bab Makkah facing East, Bab Sharif facing South, Bab Al Bunt, Bab Sharaf and Bab Al Madinah facing North, Bab Al Magharibah facing west. The turbulent history of Jeddah saw it alternatively coming under the rule of Turkish Ottoman Empire, Egypt’s Mamalukes and Saudi’s of Central Arabia until the Saudi King Abdul Aziz took over the Western province of Hejaz, including the city of Jeddah. The King Abdul Aziz Historical Square, which is at the heart of the Balad, is where the people of Jeddah welcomed King Abdul Aziz and his army on the 23rd of September 1924. This day of annexing the Hejaz province is celebrated as National Day in Saudi Arabia.