Thursday, September 03, 2015

Old Town Jeddah (Al-Balad)

One of my co-workers organized a walking tour of Jeddah's old town, also known as Al-Balad. There is a lot of history there, and it's also really old. Like falling apart old. But that just adds to the ambiance.
We started at the historic British Legation where Lawrence of Arabia stayed.
RRR of Arabia
Then we crossed the street into the Al-Balad district.

Bab Medinah (literally, Gate to Medina) through which thousands of pilgrims used to pass.

Our guide also pointed out the historic American, Russian, Dutch, and French Embassies. Obviously, I liked the American Embassy, easily identifiable by its patina-green doors. The detailed stonework was quite impressive.


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Elsewhere, the Ain Farj Yosr Spring is a well which supplied Old Jeddah with all its drinking water in times past. This spring was constructed in the year 910-915H (1505-1510 AD) approximately 500 years ago. It was located in the middle of Jeddah between Al-Yemen and Al-Mazloum districts. Water flowed into this spring from Kaws valley. It was eight meters deep and its total area reached 13.8 m2.
Well, now.
We also saw the house where King Abdul Aziz stayed when he was in town. We've got a separate post focused just on Beit Naseef (Naseef House).
This one looks like it has an outdoor elevator.
The tour went by the centuries-old Al Shafee Mosque. I always feel weird taking pictures of places for religious worship and graveyards, so this is the only one I took there. 
Al Falah School, where all of Jeddah used to study in times long ago. I'm not sure if I got a photo of it, but here's a diorama of what al-Balad used to look like before it started to deteriorate.
Did I say deteriorate? I guess some of it is falling apart on it's own, but much of it is being demolished rather than renovated. Which is a shame, because these old buildings have character.

Seems like something out of a Call of Duty level.
We popped inside one of the houses that was open for public tours and got a nice view of the end of one of the souqs (markets).

RRR is ready for tea. See him?

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The rest of these photos are from my B-roll for local atmosphere.


The facade here makes it look like stone, but it's not. 
I've got several other posts about Jeddah and its architecture, follow the links below.

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