The first time I heard the name “Jeddah” was when I was a child. I was flying to India, my flight was going to make a stopover at Jeddah, and that is how I came to know of its existence. Although we never actually went into the city, the name has remained in my memory due to the very fact that that particular trip was my first one by air and I was so excited. We never got to see the city but I was very much awed by its large airport.
A couple of decades later I now know Jeddah to be the second largest city in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Today, as I sit here writing this article, I can tell you a lot more about it than it being the second largest city.
Jeddah in Arabic means “grandmother”. No one knows why this is so; however, it may be because the grandmother of the eternal universe “Eve” is buried in this city. For those who do not know about Eve, she is the woman who ate the Forbidden fruit that has given rise to the human race.
On the other hand, this city is also known as “The Bride of the Sea”, due to the stunning aquatic life found in the sea surrounding the city. The Red Sea is any diver’s haven, with its unique flora and fauna, beautiful blue warm water and shallow reef.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IN JEDDAH?
Most people shirk at the thought of a holiday in Jeddah, more so because no one really knows much about the city and the fact that it does not really come under “exotic holiday” destinations. However, Jeddah is fast becoming a commercial hub.
Ideally located on the Red Sea, the best entertainment venue in Jeddah are also found here. Let us look at some of the famous venues that tourists are attracted to.
1. Fakeih Aquarium
If you are looking for a virtual dive or fun filled indoor activities, this is the perfect place for you. The Fakeih Aquarium has something for everyone, from kids to adults. You get to experience the thrill of seeing the shark tunnels. The local staff is always on hand to explain the details of the sea life display, mostly the fauna and flora found in the Red Sea itself. Dolphin and sea lion entertainment shows are always a delight to watch.
2. The Floating Mosque
Also known as the White Mosque of Jeddah, this mosque is located on the Corniche and surrounded by water. Due to its strategic location, you get to see a magnificent view from here and is therefore considered as one of the most beautiful places.
It is a blend of ancient Islamic building art and modern architecture. This style of architecture with the amazing interior décor and beautifully illuminated rooftop soothes and calms the mind of everybody who visits it.
This mosque is also the source of meditation for all the people who are from mixed cultures and communities, irrespective of their religious beliefs.
3. King Fahd’s Fountain
Jeddah is the home to the world’s tallest fountain. Also known as the Jeddah Fountain, it is a man-made monument and shows what marvels the human brain is capable of designing. Similar to the graceful swan, this fountain is the perfect epitome of grace and poetry above water level, but underneath it is working furiously away.
This fountain dominates the Jeddah skyline with a height of 312metres. Its plumes are taller than that of the Eiffel Tower. This magnificently beautiful fountain is a modestly unclaimed world record, the best made by man.
4. Shopping Malls
If you exhaust all the best entertainment venues in Jeddah, then it is definitely time to hit the numerous malls that are yet another highlight of this city. Some of the Best Arabia Malls are found here.
- Mall of Arabia – A four-storey mall that gives you the opportunity of endless shopping, is home to about 250 stores and restaurants. It also has a theme park and the world’s largest indoor playground.
- Al Salaam Mall – With 35 dining outlets and over 200 stores, all selling high street and international branded products, you can shop till your legs can not carry you any further, or your hands just cannot hold anymore bags, whichever comes first! It also has the biggest indoor theme park in Jeddah.
- Red Sea Mall – It is the Best Arabian Mall in Saudia Arabia. It is also the largest in the Middle East. You can bet that whatever you want, you will definitely find it here. Shopping is very hungry work; you can quell your hunger pangs at one of the numerous food outlets, restaurants and cafes. If you wish you can end the day by visiting the bowling alley. If you are too tired to move anywhere, you can always check in at the Elaf Jeddah Hotel. A perfect end to a very fruitful and enjoyable day.
Apart from being the gateway to Mecca and Medina, Jeddah has a lot to offer people from all backgrounds. Make sure you do visit this wonderful city. After all, to see the tallest fountain in the world you will have to come here!