Jeddah, located on the coast of the Red Sea, is the largest city in the Makkah region of Saudi Arabia, which also contains Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.
Arriving in Jeddah
Jeddah is served by the King Abdulaziz airport, built in 1981 and named after King Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia between 1932 and 1953. It is the third largest airport in Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah is the principal gateway to Mecca for pilgrims undertaking the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The airport even has its own Hajj terminal, which won the Agu Khan Award for Architecture in 1983, and is capable of accommodating 80,000 travellers at once. Undertaking the Hajj at least once is a religious duty for any Muslim who is physically and financially able to make the journey, and so cheap flights to Jeddah will have a particular significance to Muslims, although the countless attractions of the city are of interest to any traveller.
The Floating Mosque
One of the most stunning sights Jeddah has to offer is the Floating Mosque. Also known as the White Mosque of Jeddah, it is constructed on the coast of the Red Sea in such a way that it appears to be floating. It is a beautiful mix of modern and traditional Islamic architecture and incorporates the use of ceramics, marble and mosaic works. As such it is a popular destination and is open to all, whether to pray, or simply to visit.
The King Fahd Fountain
The King Fahd fountain can be seen throughout the whole vicinity of Jeddah, and was donated to the city by King Fahd and opened in 1985. It is the tallest fountain of its kind, jetting water at 375 kilometres per hour and reaching a height of 312 metres. At night it is illuminated by 500 spotlights, so sight of it is never lost.
Travellers with an interest in history may also wish to visit Nasseef House, a museum and cultural centre in which exhibits and lectures are put on by historians. Nasseef House was built in 1881 for Omar Nasseef Efendi, the governor of Jeddah at the time. The house remained in the Nasseef family until 1975 when it was converted into a private library, and accumulated a collection of 16,000 books. The books now belong to the central library of King Abdulaziz University, and the house was converted to its current use in 2009. Its grounds also contain what may be the oldest tree in Jeddah. Growing a tree was not easy due to the scarcity of water, and its uniqueness led to the house being known as 'The House with the Tree'.
In the near future, Jeddah will be host to the tallest building in the world. The kingdom tower, being built by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, will be the tallest skyscraper in the world upon its completion in 2018. It will stand at a height of at least 1 kilometre, although the exact height has been kept private.
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1. The first one is King Fahd´s Fountain, also known as Jeddah Fountain. This is the biggest salt water fountain of the world; it jets the water about 312 meters above the Red Sea. The fountain has been given as a present by King Fahd to the city Jeddah. The best time to visit the fountain is at dawn or during the evening. From Jeddah´s Corniche you will enjoy wonderful views as the fountain is lighted with 500 spotlights and it dominates Jeddah´s skyline, so you can not miss it.
2. The next spot to visit near Jeddah´s Corniche is the Floating Mosque. This is one of the most loved and visited sites in Jeddah. The mosque is called the floating mosque because it´s placed right on the Red Sea, and when the tide is high it is surrounded by water.
3. The third place to see is the Makkah Gate, this is one of the oldest ones in Saudi Arabia. The gate serves as one of the main entrances for Hajj pilgrims. During this period it will be a busy place as many people from all over the world come to see it. Out of all Jeddah´s sights the Makkah Gate is the most prominent one.