Yasuaki Higashino / Rabigh Arabian Waterand Electricity Co.
Jeddah is a city that overlooks the Red Sea in the province of Makkah in western Saudi Arabia, and with a population of over three million that is second only to the capital city of Riyadh, it is the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. Originally a fishing village, Jeddah is a stopover for those making their pilgrimage to the neighboring two major Islamic holy sites of Makkah and Madinah, and it has flourished to this day as the gateway port. The peak period is during the fall and winter months when pilgrims make their Hajj (Great Pilgrimage), and even now more than two million come from all over the world bound for Mecca.
While the southern part of the city, known as Old Jeddah, is packed with private shops that have kept the same form for 100 years, the urban areas along the highway in the north feature a great many huge shopping malls and luxury hotels have been mushrooming. With both old and new, the personality of this international Islamic city with its culture of East and West fused in a unique form was raised through its long history.
Jeddah is flourishing as an Islamic city and as a pilgrimage stopover point, and at the same time Jeddah is flourishing as a commercial city from its large flow of goods and people.Jeddah port boasts the second largest number of landings in the Middle East, after Dubai, and it is a center of distribution to the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.
It is also the gateway city to petrochemical complexes in western Saudi Arabia such as Rabigh and Yanbu, as well as to the King Abdullah Economic City near Rabigh. Many government agencies, private companies, and major domestic banks are concentrated here, and development continues as one of the leading commercial and financial cities in the Middle East. In addition, the Red Sea that Jeddah looks out on is also one of the foremost diving points in the world. Although they are in the Islamic sphere, many people enjoy diving, mainly foreigners living in Jeddah and Rabigh.
At dusk, the highways lined with shopping malls are clogged with major traffic jams, and as the whole sky shines orange with the setting sun, the sound of the Adhan (broadcast sign calling the start of Islamic worship) plays at a high volume through the downtown area, revealing Jeddah to be a city that was born as a religious city and is developing as a commercial city today.
Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.74 (March, 2013)