Collage of Jeddah
|Nickname(s): The bride of the Red Sea|
|Motto: Jeddah Is Different|
|Established||From the 6th century BC|
|• City Mayor||Hani Abu Ras|
|• City Governor||Mish'al Al-Saud|
|• Provincial Governor||Khaled Al-Faisal|
|• City||1,600 km2 (600 sq mi)|
|• Urban||1,686 km2 (651 sq mi)|
|• Metro||47 km2 (18 sq mi)|
|Elevation||12 m (39 ft)|
|• Density||2,500/km2 (6,400/sq mi)|
|Time zone||AST (UTC+3)|
|• Summer (DST)||AST (UTC)|
|Postal Code||(5 digit codes beginning with 23; e.g. 23434)|
|Official name||Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Makkah|
|Criteria||ii, iv, vi|
|Designated||2014 (38th session)|
|State Party||Saudi Arabia|
Jeddah (sometimes spelled Jiddah or Jedda ; English pronunciation: //; Arabic: جدة Jidda Hejazi pronunciation: [d͡ʒe̞dda]) is a city in the Hijaz Tihamah region on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. With a population currently at 3.4 million people, Jeddah is an important commercial hub in Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah is the principal gateway to Mecca, Islam's holiest city, which able-bodied Muslims are required to visit at least once in their lifetime. It is also a gateway to Medina, the second holiest place in Islam.
Economically, Jeddah is focusing on further developing capital investment in scientific and engineering leadership within Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East. Jeddah was independently ranked fourth in the Africa – Mid-East region in terms of innovation in 2009 in the Innovation Cities Index.
Jeddah is one of Saudi Arabia's primary resort cities and was named a Gamma world city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC). Given the city's close proximity to the Red Sea, fishing and seafood dominates the food culture unlike other parts of the country. The city has been labeled as "different" by the majority of Saudis in an effort to promote tourism in the city, that had been previously perceived as "most open" city in Saudi Arabia.
Historically, Jeddah has been well known for its legendary money changers. The largest of said money changers at the time (the late Sheikh Salem Bin Mahfouz) eventually founded Saudi Arabia's first bank, the National Commercial Bank (NCB).
There are at least two explanations for the etymology of the name Jeddah, according to Jeddah Ibn Al-Qudaa'iy, the chief of the Quda'a clan. The more common account has it that the name is derived from جدة Jaddah, the Arabic word for "grandmother". According to eastern folk belief, the tomb of Eve ( ), considered the grandmother of humanity, is located in Jeddah. The tomb was sealed with concrete by religious authorities in 1975 due to some Muslims praying at the site.
The British Foreign Office and other branches of the British government used the older spelling of "Jedda", contrary to other English-speaking usage, but in 2007, it changed to the spelling "Jeddah".
On official Saudi maps and documents, the city name is transcribed "Jeddah", which is now the prevailing usage.
Before Islam Some archaeologists' studies suggest the existence of inhabitants in the region now known as Jeddah since the Stone Age seeing as they found some artifacts and 'Thamoudian' writings in Wadi (valley) Breiman east of Jeddah and Wadi Boib northeast of Jeddah. Some historians trace its founding to the tribe of Bani Quda'ah, who inhabited it after the collapse of Sad (dam) Ma'rib in 115 BC. Some believe that Jeddah had been inhabited before the tribe of Bani Quda'ah by fishermen in the Red Sea, who considered it a center from which they sailed out into the sea as well as a place for relaxation and well-being. According to some accounts, the history of Jeddah dates back to early times before Alexander the Great, who visited the city between 323 and 356 BC. 
Excavations in the old city suggest that Jeddah was founded as a fishing hamlet in 522 BC by the Yemeni Quda'a tribe (بني قضاعة), who left central Yemen to settle in Makkah after the destruction of the Marib Dam in Yemen.
Other archaeological studies have shown that the area was settled earlier by people in the Stone Age, as some Thamudi scripts were excavated in Wadi Briman (وادي بريمان), east of the city, and Wadi Boweb (وادي بويب), northwest of the city. The city of Jeddah was an important port during Nabataeans frankincense trade .The oldest Mashrabiya was found in jeddah dates back to pre Islamic era .
Jeddah first achieved prominence around 647 AD, when the third Muslim Caliph, Uthman Ibn Affan (عثمان بن عفان), turned it into a port making it the port of Makkah instead of Al Shoaiba port south west of Mecca. In 703 AD Jeddah was briefly occupied by pirates from the Kingdom of Axum. Jeddah has been established as the main city of the historic Hijaz province and a historic port for pilgrims arriving by sea to perform their Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
In the 969 AD, the Fatimids from Algeria took control in Egypt from the Ikhshidid dynasty and expanded their empire to the surrounding regions, including The Hijaz and Jeddah. The Fatimids developed an extensive trade network in both the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean through the Red Sea. Their trade and diplomatic ties extended all the way to China and its Song Dynasty, which eventually determined the economic course of Tihamah during the High Middle Ages.
After Saladin's conquest of Jerusalem, in 1171 he proclaimed himself sultan of Egypt, after dissolving the Fatimid Caliphate upon the death of al-Adid, thus establishing the Ayyubid dynasty. Ayyubid conquests in Hejaz included Jeddah, which joined the Ayyubid Empire in 1177 during the leadership of Sharif Ibn Abul-Hashim Al-Thalab (1094–1201). During their relatively short-lived tenure, the Ayyubids ushered in an era of economic prosperity in the lands they ruled and the facilities and patronage provided by the Ayyubids led to a resurgence in intellectual activity in the Islamic world. This period was also marked by an Ayyubid process of vigorously strengthening Sunni Muslim dominance in the region by constructing numerous madrasas (Islamic schools) in their major cities. Jeddah attracted Muslim sailors and merchants from Sindh, Southeast Asia and East Africa, and other distant regions.
In 1254, following events in Cairo and the dissolution of the Ayyubid Empire, Hijaz became a part of the Mamluk Sultanate. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, having found his way around the Cape and obtained pilots from the coast of Zanzibar in 1497 CE, pushed his way across the Indian Ocean to the shores of Malabar and Calicut, attacked fleets that carried freight and Muslim pilgrims from India to the Red Sea, and struck terror into the surrounding potentates. The Princes of Gujarat and Yemen turned for help to Egypt. Sultan Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghawri accordingly fitted out a fleet of 50 vessels under his Admiral, Hussein the Kurd. Jeddah was soon fortified with a stone wall, using forced labor, as a harbor of refuge from the Portuguese, allowing Arabia and the Red Sea to be protected. Parts of the city wall still survive today in the old city. Even though the Portuguese were successfully repelled from the city, fleets in the Indian Ocean were at their mercy. This was evidenced by the Battle of Diu between the Portuguese and the Arab Mamluks. The Portuguese soldiers' cemetery can still be found within the old city today and is referred to as the site of the Christian Graves.
In 1517, the Ottoman Turks conquered the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt and Syria, during the reign of Selim I. As territories of the Mamluk Sultanate, the Hijaz, including Jeddah and the holy city of Mecca, passed into Ottoman possession. The Ottomans rebuilt the weak walls of Jeddah in 1525 following their victory over the Lopo Soares de Albergaria's Armada in the Red Sea. The new Turkish wall included six watchtowers and six city gates. They were constructed to defend against the Portuguese attack. Of the six gates, the Gate of Mecca was the eastern gate and the Gate of Al-Magharibah, facing the port, was the western gate. The Gate of Sharif faced south. The other gates were the Gate of Al-Bunt, Gate of Al-Sham (also called Gate of Al-Sharaf) and Gate of Medina, facing north. The Turks also built The Qishla of Jeddah, a small castle for the city soldiers. In the 19th century these seven gates were minimized into four giant gates with four towers. These giant gates were the Gate of Sham to the north, the Gate of Mecca to the east, the Gate of Sharif to the south, and the Gate of Al-Magharibah on the sea side.
Ahmed Al-Jazzar, the Ottoman military man mainly known for his role in the Siege of Acre, spent the earlier part of his career at Jeddah. In Jeddah in 1750, he killed some seventy rioting nomads in retaliation for the killing of his commander, Abdullah Beg, earning him the nickname "Jezzar" (butcher).
On 15 June 1858, rioting in the city, believed to have been instigated by a former police chief in reaction to British policy in the Red Sea, led to the massacre of 25 Christians, including the British and French consuls, members of their families, and wealthy Greek merchants. The British frigate HMS Cyclops, anchored at port, bombarded the city for two days and restored law and order.
In 1802, Nejdi forces conquered both Mecca and Jeddah from the Ottomans. When Sharif Ghalib Efendi informed Sultan Mahmud II of this, the Sultan ordered his Egyptian viceroy Muhammad Ali Pasha to retake the city. Muhammad Ali successfully regained the city in the Battle of Jeddah in 1813.
During World War I, Sharif Hussein bin Ali declared a revolt against the Ottoman Empire, seeking independence from the Ottoman Turks and the creation of a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.
King Hussein declared the Kingdom of Hejaz. Later, Hussein was involved in war with Ibn Saud, who was the Sultan of Nejd. Hussein abdicated following the fall of Mecca, in December 1924, and his son Ali bin Hussein became the new king.
A few months later, Ibn Saud, whose clan originated in the central Nejd province, conquered Medina and Jeddah via an agreement with Jeddans following the Second Battle of Jeddah. He deposed Ali bin Hussein, who fled to Baghdad, eventually settling in Amman, Jordan, where his descendants became part of its Hashemite royalty.
As a result, Jeddah came under the sway of the Al-Saud dynasty in December 1925. In 1926, Ibn Saud added the title King of Hejaz to his position of Sultan of Nejd. Today, Jeddah has lost its historical role in peninsular politics after Jeddah fell within the new province of Makkah, whose provincial capital is the city of Mecca.
From 1928 to 1932, the new Khuzam Palace was built as the new residence of King Abdul Aziz in Jeddah. The palace lies south of the old walled city and was constructed under the supervision of the engineer Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden. After 1963, the palace was used as a royal guest house; since 1995, it has housed the Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography.
The remaining walls and gates of the old city were demolished in 1947. A fire in 1982 destroyed some ancient buildings in the old town center, called Al-Balad, but much is still preserved despite the commercial interest to tear down old houses (Naseef House, Gabil House) and build modern high-rise buildings. A house-by-house survey of the old districts was made in 1979, showing that some 1000 traditional buildings still existed, though the number of structures with great historic value was far less. In 1990, a Jeddah Historical Area Preservation Department was founded.
The modern city has expanded wildly beyond its old boundaries. The built-up area expanded mainly to the north along the Red Sea coastline, reaching the new airport during the 1990s and since edging its way around it toward the Ob'hur Creek, some 27 km (17 mi) from the old city center.
Jeddah is located in Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coastal plain (called Tihamah). Jeddah lies in the Hijazi Tihama (Arabic: تهامة الحجاز) region which is in the lower Hijaz mountains. Historically, politically and culturally, Jeddah was a major city of Hejaz Vilayet, the Kingdom of Hejaz and other regional political entities according to Hijazi history books. It is the 100th largest city in the world by land area.
Jeddah features a tropical arid climate (BWh) under Koppen's climate classification. Unlike other Saudi Arabian cities, Jeddah retains its warm temperature in winter, which can range from 15 °C (59 °F) at dawn to 28 °C (82 °F) in the afternoon. Summer temperatures are extremely hot, often breaking the 43 °C (109 °F) mark in the afternoon and dropping to 30 °C (86 °F) in the evening. Furthermore, summers are also very humid and quite oppressive. Rainfall in Jeddah is generally sparse, and usually occurs in small amounts in November and December. Heavy thunderstorms are common in winter. The thunderstorm of December 2008 was the largest in recent memory, with rain reaching around 80 mm (3 in). The lowest temperature ever recorded in Jeddah was 9.8 °C (49.6 °F) in February 10, 1993. The highest temperature ever recorded in Jeddah was 52.0 °C (125.6 °F) on June 22, 2010.
|Climate data for Jeddah (1985-2010)|
|Record high °C (°F)||35.0
|Average high °C (°F)||29.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||24.5
|Average low °C (°F)||20.3
|Record low °C (°F)||11.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||9.9
|Average relative humidity (%)||60||60||60||57||56||58||53||59||67||66||65||63||60|
|Source: Jeddah Regional Climate Center|
|26.3 °C (79.3 °F)||25.7 °C (78.3 °F)||25.8 °C (78.4 °F)||26.8 °C (80.2 °F)||28.1 °C (82.6 °F)||29.0 °C (84.2 °F)||30.6 °C (87.1 °F)||31.6 °C (88.9 °F)||31.1 °C (88.0 °F)||30.7 °C (87.3 °F)||29.1 °C (84.4 °F)||27.9 °C (82.2 °F)|
Jeddah has long been a port city. Even before being designated the port city for Mecca, Jeddah was a trading hub for the region. In the 19th century, goods such as mother-of-pearl, tortoise shells, frankincense, and spices were routinely exported from the city. Apart from this, many imports into the city were destined for further transit to the Suez, Africa, or Europe. Many goods passing through Jeddah could not even be found in the city or even in Arabia.
King Abdullah Street is one of the most important streets in Jeddah and runs from King Fahd Road by the waterfront in the west of Jeddah to the eastern end of the city. It is famous for hosting numerous corporate offices and commercial developments.
Tahaliyah Street is an important fashion and shopping street in central Jeddah. It contains many upscale department stores and boutiques. It has been renamed "Prince Mohammad bin Abdul Aziz Road" by the government, but this official name is not widely used.
Madina Road is one of the most important streets in Jeddah. It links the South districts with the North, and it contains most of the companies main offices and showrooms.
Most citizens are Sunni Muslims. The government, courts and civil and criminal laws enforce a moral code established by Shari'ah. A very small minority of Saudi citizens are Shia Muslims, and there is also a large foreign workforce that is forbidden to follow their non-Islamic religions even privately, but this is little enforced.
The city has over 1,300 mosques. The law does not allow other religions' buildings, books, icons and expressions of faith. However, private religious observance not involving Muslims nor offending public order and morality is sometimes tolerated.
Since the 7th century, Jeddah has hosted millions of Muslim pilgrims from all over the world on their way to Hajj. This merge with pilgrims has a major impact on the society, religion, and economy of Jeddah. It also brings an annual risk of illness, known by locals as the 'hajji disease', a general term for various viral maladies.
Jeddah's multi-ethnic citizenry has influenced Jeddah's traditional cuisine.
As in other Saudi cities, the Nejdi dish Kabsa is popular among the people of Jeddah, often made with chicken instead of lamb meat. The Yemeni dish Mandi is also popular as a lunch meal. Jeddah cuisine is popular as well and dishes like Mabshoor, Mitabbak, Foul, Areika, Hareisa, Kabab Meiroo, Shorabah Hareira (Hareira soup), Migalgal, Madhbi (chicken grilled on stone), Madfun (literally meaning "buried"), Magloobah, Kibdah, Manzalah (usually eaten at Eid ul-Fitr), Ma'asoob, Magliya (a local version of falafel), Saleeig (a local dish made of milk rice), hummus, Biryani, Ruz Kabli, Ruz Bukhari, and Saiyadyia can be acquired in many traditional restaurants around the city, such as Althamrat, Abo-Zaid, Al-Quarmooshi, Ayaz, and Hejaziyat.
Grilled meat dishes such as shawarma, kofta and kebab have a good market in Jeddah. During Ramadan, sambousak and ful are especially popular at the evening iftar meal. These dishes are found in Lebanese, Syrian, and Turkish restaurants.
The most popular local fast food chain, begun in 1974, is Al Baik, with branches in Jeddah and the neighbouring cities of Makkah, Madinah and Yanbu. Their main dish is broasted (broiled and roasted) chicken, commonly known by Jeddans as "Broast", and a variety of seafood. Other local fast food restaurants have sprung up, like Al Tazaj, which serves seasoned grilled chicken (called Farooj) and a side of Tahina with onion and spices. Foultameez serves Foul and Tameez as fast food; Kudu and Herfy serve Western fast food; Halawani serves local variants of Shawerma; and Shawermatak has pioneered drive-through sales of Shawerma. Another popular fast-food chain is Hot and Crispy, an Arabic franchise popular for their spiced curly fries.
Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and other Asian foods are also popular. Italian, French and American restaurants are also to be found.
During the oil boom in the late 1970s and 1980s, there was a focused civic effort to bring art to Jeddah's public areas. As a result, Jeddah contains a large number of modern open-air sculptures and works of art, typically situated in roundabouts, making the city one of the largest open-air art galleries in the world. Sculptures include works by Jean/Hans Arp, César Baldaccini, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Joan Miró and Victor Vasarely. They often depict traditional Saudi items such as coffee pots, incense burners, palm trees, etc. The fact that Islamic tradition prohibits the depiction of living creatures, notably the human form, has made for some very creative, as well as bizarre, modern art. These include a giant geometry set, a giant bicycle, and a huge block of concrete with several cars protruding from it at odd angles. A monumental sculpture by Aref Rayess is devoted to Allah (God).
There are about a dozen museums or collections in Jeddah, with varied educational aims and professionalism. These include the Jeddah Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography run by the Deputy Ministry of Antiquities and Museums, the Jeddah Municipal Museum, the Nasseef House, the Humane Heritage Museum, the private Abdul Rauf Hasan Khalil Museum and the private Arts Heritage Museum.
Jeddah is served by four major Arabic-language newspapers, Asharq Al-Awsat, Al Madina, Okaz, and Al Bilad, as well as two major English-language newspapers, the Saudi Gazette and Arab News. Okaz and Al-Madina are the primary newspapers of Jeddah and some other Saudi cities, with over a million readers; their focus is mainly local.
Internet blogs specifically informative of locality are abundant in Jeddah, catering mostly to the widespread expatriate population. Of these are constituted websites that have garnered international acclaim for informativeness, such as Jeddah Blog, the recipient of the Bronze Expat Blog Award in 2012 and the Gold Award in 2013 Other amateur websites catering to specific topics in the region exist as well.
Jeddah represents the largest radio and television market in Saudi Arabia. Television stations serving the city area include Saudi TV1, Saudi TV2, Saudi TV Sports, Al Ekhbariya, the ART channels network and hundreds of cable, satellite and other specialty television providers.
The Jeddah TV Tower is a 250 m (820 ft) high television tower with an observation deck.
The Jeddah region's distinctive speech pattern is called the Hejazi dialect; it is among the most recognizable accents within the Arabic language.
The Old City with its traditional multistory buildings and merchant houses has lost ground to more modern developments. Nonetheless, the Old City contributes to Saudi cultural identity, preserving traditional buildings
The city has many popular resorts, including Durrat Al-Arus, Blue Beach Resorts, Al-Nawras Mövenpick resort at the Red Sea Corniche, Crystal Resort, Radisson Blu, The Signature Al Murjan Beach Resort, Al Nakheel Village, Sands, and Sheraton Abhur. Many are renowned for their preserved Red Sea marine life and offshore coral reefs.
One of two consulates of the United States of America in Saudi Arabia is located in Jeddah, along with consulates for 67 other countries such as Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, France, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Philippines, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Italy, Russia and People's Republic of China, as well as countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League states.
King Fahd's Fountain was built in the 1980s, can be seen from a great distance and, at 312 metres (1,024 ft), is the highest water jet in the world according to the Guinness World Records. The fountain was donated to the City of Jeddah by the late King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, after whom it was named.
Is a new stadium launched in 2014, located north of Jeddah, is used mostly for football, reaching a full capacity of 62,241 spectators. It is the largest stadium in Jeddah, and the second largest in Saudi Arabia.
Built in 1983 and believed to be the highest tower in Saudi Arabia during the 1980s, with a height of over 235 m (771 ft), the National Commercial Bank was Saudi Arabia's first bank.
The Islamic Development Bank is a multilateral development financing institution. It was founded by the first conference of Finance Ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC, now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), convened 18 December 1973. The bank officially began its activities on 20 October 1975.
This is the headquarters of the metropolitan area of Jeddah. The municipality's new building is one of Jeddah's tallest.
This proposed tower, formerly known as the Kingdom Tower, is to be built in Jeddah by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and will stand 1-kilometre (0.62 mi) tall. Upon its completion, it will be the tallest skyscraper in the world. The building has been scaled down from its initial 1.6 km (1 mi) proposal, since the ground proved unsuitable for a building that tall, to a height of at least 1,000 metres (3,280.84 ft) (the exact height is being kept private while in development, similar to the Burj Khalifa), which, at about one kilometre (0.62 miles), would still make it by far the tallest building or structure in the world to date, standing at least 173 m (568 ft) taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Construction began in April 2013 and is scheduled for completion in 2019.
King Road Tower is a commercial and office building, the external walls of which are used to show commercials. The building also has a helipad on its roof. King Road Tower has the largest LED display in the world on its walls.
Al Jawharah Tower is a residential high-rise under construction. It became the third-tallest structure in Jeddah when completed in 2014.
The King Abdullah Square on the intersection of Andalus Road with King Abdullah Road has the world's tallest flagpole. It is 171 metres (561 feet) high and the Saudi flag atop it weighs 570 kilograms (1,260 pounds). On the 84th Saudi National Day, September 23, 2014, the flagpole hoisted a huge Saudi flag before a crowd of thousands. The flagpole succeeded Dushanbe Flagpole as the tallest flagpole in the world.
The Mecca Gate, named the "Quran Gate", is located on the Makkah Mukkarram road of the Jeddah - Mecca Highway. It is the entrance to Mecca and the birthplace of Muhammad. The gate signifies the boundary of the haram area of the city of Mecca, where non-Muslims are prohibited to enter.
The gate was designed in 1979 by an Egyptian architect, Samir Elabd, for the architectural firm IDEA Center. The structure is that of a book, representing the Quran, sitting on a rehal, or book stand.
As of 2005[update], Jeddah had 849 public and private schools for male students and another 1,179 public and private schools for female students. The medium of instruction in both public and private schools is typically Arabic, with emphasis on English as a second language. However, some private schools administered by foreign entities conduct classes in English.
Jeddah's universities and colleges include the following:
Jeddah is also home to several primary, intermediate and secondary schools such as:
The central library at King Abdulaziz University(main branch) is a five story building that has a large collection of Arabic and English language books, rare books and documents as well as access to several online databases. It is open for public access and allows borrowing of books after requesting a library card. Saturdays are dedicated for female visitors.
King Abdul Aziz Public Library is a philanthropic institution which was founded and supported by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of its Board of Directors. Established in 1985, the library was officially opened by the King on 27 February 1987. It emphasises Islamic and Arabic heritage and history of the Kingdom. The library is divided into three branches (men's, women's, and children's).
The limited number of libraries is criticized by the public. As a result, King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, has approved the King Abdullah Project for the Development of Public Libraries, and approximately SAR150 million is budgeted to be spent.
Jeddah is served by King Abdulaziz International Airport. The airport has four passenger terminals. One is the Hajj Terminal, a special outdoor terminal covered by large white tents, which was constructed to handle the more than two million pilgrims who pass through the airport during the Hajj season. The Southern Terminal is used for Saudia and Flynas (As of 15 April 2015, these are the only airlines based in Saudi Arabia) flights, while the Northern Terminal serves foreign airlines. A plan for the extension of the airport is being developed. The Royal Terminal is a special terminal reserved for VIPs, foreign kings and presidents, and the Saudi Royal Family. A portion of the airport, King Abdullah Air Base, was used by Coalition B-52 heavy bombers during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
Highway 40, which begins in Jeddah, connects the city to Mecca, Riyadh and Dammam on the east coast. Jeddah does not have any rapid transit system, but a rail system connecting the city to Riyadh is now under construction. The Haramain High Speed Rail Project will provide a connection to Mecca and Medina. There is a contracted plan to build an extensive light metro system known as the Jeddah Metro, throughout the city by 2020. Jeddah's main highways run parallel to each other.
The city is challenged by pollution, weak sewage systems, a weak storm drain system that led to massive floodings, heavy traffic, epidemics, and water shortages.
Pollution and environment
Air pollution is a problem for Jeddah, particularly on hot summer days. The city has experienced bush fires, landfill fires, and pollution from the two industrial zones in the north and the south of the metropolitan area. A water treatment factory and the seaport also contribute to water pollution. Much of the seafront, however, is considered to be safe and clean.
On 6 December 2004, a group of five men associated with the terrorist group Al-Qaeda (Al-Qaeda Organization in the Arabian Peninsula) conducted a daring, mid-day attack on the U.S. Consulate, which killed five Consulate workers. The group was led by Fayez ibn Awwad Al-Jeheni, a former member of Saudi religious police. Two other assailants were subsequently identified by the Saudi authorities as residents of Jeddah's Al-Jamia suburb and other slums on Saudi Arabia's increasingly urbanised west coast. Buildings were attacked, hostages taken and used as human shields, and the U.S. and non-U.S. staff were under siege, although the chancery/consular section building itself was never penetrated. Closed circuit video feeds documented that the Saudi security personnel assigned to protect the facility fled when the vehicle holding the terrorists pulled up to the front gate and ran past the Delta barrier. Inside the compound, however, an armed Saudi security guard employed by the embassy shot and killed one terrorist before being fatally shot himself.
The attackers spread and ignited a flammable liquid on the front of the chancery building, and opened fire on the front doors, both of which actions did not have any penetrating effect. The Consulate's U.S. Marines released tear gas in front of the chancery building, but the terrorists had already left that location. More than an hour later, Saudi special forces made it through traffic and, along with others from their unit who arrived in a helicopter, fought to retake the compound. Two of the terrorists were killed in the final fight, with another dying later in hospital and the final militant being captured alive. Four Saudi special forces and a further 10 hostages were wounded in the crossfire.
The five Foreign Service National employees who died during the terrorist attack were Ali Yaslem Bin Talib, Imad e-Deen Musa Ali, Romeo de la Rosa, Mohammed Baheer Uddin and Jaufar Sadik. The casualties came from Yemen, Sudan, Philippines, India and Sri Lanka.
The attack underscores the ongoing vulnerabilities of Westerners to threats and terrorist actions in Jeddah and environs. In a communiqué posted in online publications such as Sawt al-Jihad (Voice of Jihad) and Mu'askar al-Battar (Al-Battar Training Camp), Al-Qaeda hinted at the symbolic nature of the U.S. Consulate attack, stating: "Know that the Mujahideen are determined to continue on their path, and they will not be weakened by what has happened to them."
Terrorist activities have persisted from 2004 to the present day. In 2004 there was an unsuccessful shooting attack on a US Marine visiting the Saudi American Bank and an attempt to simultaneously explode car bombs at Saudi American Bank and Saudi British Bank branches in Jeddah on the anniversary of the 2001 "9-11" terrorist attacks on the U.S. On 26 August 2012, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry announced that terrorists were arrested in Jeddah who had been preparing explosives for attacks within the kingdom.
Roads and highways within and exiting the city are frequently clogged with traffic. Mass transit is rare and planning is nascent; most Jeddawi adults have at least one car. Motorcycles are rare on the roads, further impacting the traffic patterns. Days immediately preceding and following the holy days are particularly noisome and cost hundreds of thousands many hours because of traffic jams. The Saudi Gazette reports that there is a plan in the works to tackle the traffic issue. A reported 3 billion Saudi Riyals will be put into constructing flyovers and underpasses in an effort to expedite traffic. The plan is scheduled to take about five years from its start to finish.
Prior to the construction of a waste treatment plant, Jeddah's waste water was disposed of by either discharge into the sea or via absorption into deep underground pits. As the city grew, a proper waste management plant was created and the built up part of the city was connected with a sewer system by the 1970s. However, even with the ever-increasing population, the original sewer system has hardly been expanded. The original plant cannot cope with the amount of waste inundating it daily. As a result, some untreated sewage is discharged directly into the sea and the entire northern part of the city remains completely unconnected to the sewage system, instead relying on septic tanks. This has been responsible for the large number of sewage tankers.
In late 2011, a storm drainage system was built in the south Jeddah area (similar to that of the Los Angeles storm drain) to reduce the risk of floods.
On 25 November 2009, heavy floods affected the city and other areas of Makkah Province. The floods were described by civil defence officials as the worst in 27 years. As of 26 November 2009[update], 77 people were reported to have been killed, and more than 350 were missing. Some roads were under a metre (three feet) of water on 26 November, and many of the victims were believed to have drowned in their cars. At least 3,000 vehicles were swept away or damaged. The death toll was expected to rise as flood waters receded, allowing rescuers to reach stranded vehicles.
On 26 January 2011, again, heavy floods affected the city and other areas of Makkah Province. The cumulative rainfall exceeded the 90 mm (3.5 in) recorded in four hours during the 25 November 2009 flash floods. Streets including Palestine Street, Madinah Road and Wali Al-Ahad Street were either flooded or jammed with traffic. Cars were seen floating in some places. Meanwhile, eyewitnesses told local newspaper Arab News that East Jeddah was swamped and floodwater was rushing west towards the Red Sea, turning streets into rivers once again.
On 17 November 2015, heavy floods affected the city. Streets affected by the flood include Palestine Street, Madinah Road and many others. Cars were seen burning, and many trees fell as a result of the violent flood. 3 deaths were also reported. 2 of the fatalities (including a child) were hit by lightning while crossing a street.
Metropolitan Jeddah comprises 137 districts: (transliterated from Arabic)
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Jeddah has 35 sister cities (or "twin towns") which are selected based on economic, cultural and political criteria.
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