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Jeddah Festival 2016

There aren't too many festivals in Jeddah, but the biggest one is the Jeddah Festival. Unlike the religious holidays of Ramadan, Eid al-FitrHajj, and Eid Al-Adha, the Jeddah Festival is the rare secular celebration and if focuses on the history of the local area. If you didn't know, Jeddah is in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, which has always seen itself as separate from the rest of Saudi Arabia. I have another post with more details on the Hejaz region, so this post will focus on Jeddah in particular.
Welcome to the Jeddah Festival!
So I drove down to Jeddah's Old Town (Al Balad) and walked up to the festival entrance using a map I found. You can see my starting point was the red arrow, and there were almost 70 sites identified (in Arabic) for me to see. Spoiler alert: I didn't see them all. But what I did see was how the residents of Jeddah used to live way back when.

And since it's a festival, there were lots of traditional Saudi cuisine that I got to try:
So the map had three routes, as you probably guessed from the map above. If that wasn't enough, the pamphlet also had individual routes. Seemed redundant, but I guess they were slightly larger. I mostly followed Route 1 (the red one) today, but I'm putting all the maps up here so I can access them next time I'm in Al-Balad and I need a map:
Route 1
Route 2
Route 3
And now for the photos of the festival:
Old men playing board games at the coffeeshop


There were various trades, like the milkman and the postal carrier (on a bike in the sand!)

Not sure if he was part of the festival, but probably


A little further in, I passed the old American Embassy (the green painted wood is distinctive).
There were also several art installations, I liked this one about the doors of Jeddah.
I also learned that there is in fact a public library in Jeddah, and they were teaching traditional calligraphy.
And just before the sun set, I found the food stalls. The smell of baked goods, grease, and meat hung heavy in the air that was full of that unintelligible cascade of hundreds of voices having separate conversations. All in all, a pretty good time.

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