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Old Jeddah’s Cultural Village

As salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. I’m sharing these articles for informational purposes only. I don’t agree with all of the activities mentioned.


Old Jeddah’s Cultural Village

Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – The celebrations held in Jeddah last 13 October evening marked the advent of Eid ul-Fitr and brought the people together in a festive spirit. The village lies along the coast and has over 60 handicraft shops that sell old traditional wares and approximately 50 other modern shops, in addition to a number of historic buildings and a variety of cultural events. Hassan Mihwil Eissa, who is over 80 years old is a man who has witnessed Jeddah’s transformation, “This is the Old Jeddah in all its beauty and simplicity that you are seeing now,” he said in reference to the heritage village. He recounted stories of skills and crafts from days gone by in the Old City, including how they used to build their own houses. One of the pioneering builders in Old Jeddah, Eissa used to teach construction and building skills and was the head of ‘al Majmoua’ group that was responsible for building Beit Jeddah, a cultural center, in the village. He added that the project took five days and revealed that they used approximately 15,000 stones to complete it. There was a large family presence at the village as many flocked in to shop and celebrate on the day of Eid. “It was very well organized,” said Umm Khaled who was there with her children and added, “but the best thing is that it is open to all.”

Umm Khaled said that what impressed her most was that all the ancient handicrafts and skills were readily available, in addition to various antiques; however, she noted that most of these shops did not have names.

For his part Engineer Sami Nawar, the director of the Historic Area Preservation Department and the head of Jeddah’s Tourism and Culture Department said that the village was the new face of tourism in Jeddah, in addition to being a cultural and recreational center.

Approximately 45,000 square meters, the village has a showroom for historical cars and a huge square for children’s games and competitions, as well as traditional Hijazi food stalls, a poetry hall, art exhibitions displaying paintings of heritage sites and buildings, in addition to traditional Hijazi clothing and accessories for women.

However, it is not simply shopping that the village offers, there are folkloric troupe performances, in addition to other cultural events and performances that take place in the newly built Beit Jeddah al Turathi, as well as in the open theatre, which is located in an 80 meter area.

In terms of the anticipated number of visitors, Nawar said that the village is expected to attract over 100,000 over Eid. He added that the Jeddah municipality has divided the village into three sections; the fist one is dedicated to ancient Hejazi heritage; the second to the cultural of heritage of other regions in the Kingdom; and the third is devoted to international world heritage so that it may attract all the different communities living in the city.

From the Khaleej Times……

Old Jeddah to bid for heritage honour
By Habib Shaikh

11 August 2007 JEDDAH — The historic old Jeddah area is being prepared to be registered as an international heritage site.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, secretary-general of the Supreme Commission for Tourism (SCT), who met the holy city of Makkah Governor Prince Khaled Al Faisal, said that Prince Khaled had agreed to develop Old Jeddah for the purpose.


Prince Sultan said that plans have been approved to establish a mega tourism project in Jeddah and hold Abhur Festival and Okaz Souk Festival to attract a large number of tourists to the region.


“It has been agreed to set up a tourism development council for the Makkah region under the chairmanship of the governor,” he told reporters. “The Makkah governor reviewed some projects in Jeddah and Taif and gave instructions to establish a comprehensive tourism project like Al Oqair project in the Eastern Province. It will become a major tourist attraction in Jeddah,” Prince Sultan said.


He did not say how much the project would cost. According to press reports, Prince Sultan had previously signed a SR2.08 million contract with an international consultancy company to prepare a plan for Red Sea projects, which would include hotels and recreation centres.

 “A five-year plan for basic tourism projects in Jeddah and Taif will be presented within the next few weeks,” he said. Speaking about the Abhur Festival, Sultan said it would be organised as a large-scale national annual festival beginning from Ramadan, the fasting month that is scheduled to start on September 13. “In the coming phase, the focus will be on Taif, which will be developed to become a major tourist attraction. We will also organise agricultural and rose festivals in the city,” he said, and added that the Okaz Souk festival would be launched this year,” he said.

2 thoughts on “Old Jeddah’s Cultural Village

  1. As salaamu ‘alaikum. I’m sharing some old news to give you all a look at what the locals do for ‘Eid.


    Tourism Festival in Jeddah at Eid
    Monday, 01 October 2007

    A parade of boats, a fishing contest and a safe diving event will be held in the five-day Obhur Tourism Festival beginning on the first day of Eid.

    Private citizens will join the Coast Guard in the boat parades daily from 4 to 6 P.M. The fishing contest will be held on the fourth day of the festival from 5 A.M. to 5 P.M.

    Also, a safe diving event that aims to raise awareness among divers on how to preserve the marine environment will be held on the third and fourth day of the festival.

    Saleh Al-Turki, head of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) that organized the festival, said holding these activities in Jeddah is apt since the city “is different from others with many visitors marveling at the sites they see here.”

    The Obhur Festival will be held under the patronage of Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah region.

  2. Abdullah urges development of historical sites in Jeddah
    Arab News

    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has urged municipal authorities to prepare a comprehensive study on how to develop Jeddah’s historical area and pledged to finance future initiatives.

    During a recent visit to Jeddah Mayor Adel Fakieh’s office, Ibrahim Al Tasan, head of King Abdullah’s private affairs, said that there was a need to search for the best ways and viable programmes to preserve and develop the area, and added that programmes would receive financial support from King Abdullah.

    Fakieh said that the support was a huge boost to Jeddah Municipality’s and SCT’s efforts to develop the historical area.

    “With this support, the municipality will work on reforming safety measures and making plans to preserve the area, especially from fires, which are one of the primary dangers that currently face the area,” he said.

    He explained that the historic area of Jeddah is known for its narrow lanes, which prevent fire engines from entering deep into it, and added that the area consists of over 500 structures built from limestone and wood, which help fires spread easily.

    “The municipality has currently distributed fire extinguishing cylinders to all buildings in the area. Now we can re-plan safety measures by formulating the best ways to secure the area from fires and other sorts of danger. This support will prevent further tragedies — especially since many people live in old buildings,” he said.

    He added that the area is currently undergoing massive development, which would create a substantial shift through consecutive rehabilitation phases. “In a few years, Jeddah’s historical area will become a renowned cultural and tourism area of the highest anticipated level,” Fakieh said.

    In the next three years, the Jeddah Tourism Promotion Council (JPTC) is to undertake several new projects aimed at improving the region’s tourism industry, including the development of tourist locations in south Jeddah.

    The projects that the JPTC intends to embark on include the development of a stretch of Red Sea coast — including parts owned by private individuals, the north Corniche and heritage areas such as the Souk Al Khamees at the Al Qauz Centre. The council also plans to issue licences to several museums in Jeddah and support cultural heritage activities in the area. The council has stressed the need to improve the quality of services offered to tourists, which is an important factor in attracting tourism, and highlighted the need to train more locals in the tourism industry.

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