City located on the Red Sea
coast of Saudi Arabia
, which acts as the kingdom
's main port
It began about 2,500 years ago as a tiny fishing settlement, established by the Quada's tribe. In 1936, the discovery of oil deposits in Saudi Arabia changed the face of Jeddah for ever. Until this point, the city had served as the point of entry for Muslims on the annual hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). Since the oil business began, Jeddah has adopted the role of a busy commercial port. This was sealed in 1947, with the demolition of the city walls. So what started life as a small spice-trading port has now become the hub of modern Saudi Arabia - it houses the country's busiest port and air terminal, as well as being the largest commercial and industrial centre.
One of the highlights for the tourist is the souk, which has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years. Jeddah also has luxurious malls, and the combination of the two results in a great shopping experience.
The building boom, which began in the 1970s and continues, means that Jeddah is looking more and more like a Western city, with tall office blocks and shopping malls. The city has also spread out into the surrounding desert, as well as gaining lush green spaces.
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