Saudi Arabia announces project to revive historic Jeddah
SAUDI Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched an ambitious 15-year project on Monday to breathe new life into the historic part of Jeddah city.
The aim is to redevelop the living space in the city to attract new business and cultural projects, and make it a key destination for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Historic Jeddah, the area known as Al-Balad, has more than 600 traditional buildings, 36 historical mosques and five major historical markets. It also holds ancient corridors, squares and sites of important historical significance, including the old waterfront. It stands on a major route for pilgrims that will be reconstructed as part of the project, to tell visitors the story of pilgrimage since the dawn of Islam.
The five-kilometer waterfront will be redeveloped, with green spaces and open gardens.
The project aims to release the creative potential of residents and visitors, based on a modern vision of urban planning and natural conservation harmonized with the people’s needs.
Historic Jeddah is expected to become an incubator for creativity in which Saudi entrepreneurs and artistes meet within a creative community and in an environment where the elements of national heritage and nature meet contemporary architectural designs.
The project takes into account Jeddah’s heritage as a major focal point for people, trade and culture since its foundation in the third century BC as a fishing settlement.
It was established as a major seaport during the era of Caliph Othman bin Affan. Jeddah has since grown and developed outside the walls of the old city, until Al-Balad became eligible for registration as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2014.