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Jeddah History, Saudi Arabia

The wealthiest city of all the Saudi Arabian nations, Jeddah stands on the coast of the Red Sea and is considered to be the most important urban center in the county. Situated directly on the road to the Islamic Holy City of Mecca, Jeddah’s strategic location attracts a large number of Muslim pilgrims, travelers and tourists. Its unique blend of traditional Arabic splendor and modern architecture and rich history makes it a magnificent travel experience. 

Eastern Folklore traces the origins of this marvelous city to Eve, the first woman to be created according to the Bible or the Koran. Jeddah, which is also spelled as Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda, is taken from the Arabic word for grandmother. According to Eastern folklore Eve, the grandmother of the entire human race was entombed in Jeddah.From the Mamluk Sultanate, to the rule of the Ottoman Empire, and finally to its incorporation into to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah has bourne witness to many political and historical changes.  It had its humble beginnings as a simple fishing village nearly 2500 years ago.

Its rapid rise and growth which can be attributed to its strategic location allowed it to become the major fishing and trading port in 647 AD. Jeddah was the stop of point for all Muslim pilgrims journeying to the city of Mecca. It was during the reign of Sharif Barakat II bin Muhammed that the first walls of Jeddah were built following the Portuguese advances into the Indian Ocean.

In 1517 the city fell to the Ottoman Turks who further expanded the cities defenses to protect it against Protuguese attacks. They built a new  wall with six watchtowers and six city gates. The Gate of Mecca was to the east, the Gate of Al-Magharibah facing the western port, the Gate of Sharif was situated to the south and the  gates of of Al-Bunt, Al-Sham, and Medina faced to the north. The Turks also built a small castle for the city soldiers called the Qishla of Jeddah. In the mid 19th century the seven gates were minimized into four namely: the north Gate of Sham, the eastern Gate of Mecca, the Gate of Sharif facing the south, and the Gate of Al-Magharibah fronting the sea. 

In more recent times, it became a part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in December 1925 under the Al - Saud Dynasty which ruled most of the Arabian Peninsula in the 19th century. In 1926, nominal leader the Sultan of Nejd, Ibn Saud, added the title King of Hejaz to his position. At present Jeddah is part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the monarchial rule of the Al Saud royal family. The monarchy bases its rule of governance on the Shari'a or Islamic law. The modern city has expanded beyond its old boundaries not only in terms of infrastructure but in its people as well. Jeddah is home to an estimated 3.4 million people including a large number of foreign citizens.

With a thousand years of trading history and home to some of the world's most successful merchants and businessmen, it is but natural that Jeddah is considered as the the commercial capital of Saudi Arabia and as the commercial center of the Middle East

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