Jeddah (also spelled Jiddah) is a Saudi Arabian city located 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. The population of the city currently stands at over 3.4 million. It 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.
Jeddah is the most cosmopolitan and tolerant of all Saudi Arabian cities, hosting expatriates from all over the world who have made Jeddah their home. Economically, Jeddah is focussing on further developing capital investment in scientific and engineering leadership within Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East. Jeddah was independently ranked 4th in the Africa / Mid-East region in terms of innovation in 2009 in the Innovation Cities Index.
Unlike other Saudi Arabian cities, Jeddah retains its warm temperature in winter, which can range from 15 Â°C (59 Â°F) at midnight to 25 Â°C (77 Â°F) in the afternoon. Summer temperatures are very hot, often breaking the 40 Â°C (104 Â°F) mark in the afternoon and dropping to 30 Â°C (86 Â°F) in the evening. Rainfall in Jeddah is generally sparse, and usually occurs in small amounts in December. There have also been several notable incidents of hail. Heavy thunderstorms are common in winter. The thunderstorm of December 2008 was the largest in recent memory, with rain reaching around 3 inches (7.6 cm). The lowest temperature ever recorded in Jeddah was 3 Â°C (37 Â°F) in the winter of 1995.
Saudi Arabian Airlines headquartersThe city's geographical location places it at the heart of the region covered by the Middle East and North Africa, with all their capitals within two hours flying distance, defining Jeddah as the second commercial center of the Middle East after Dubai.
Also, Jeddah's industrial district is the fourth largest industrial city in Saudi Arabia after Riyadh, Jubail and Yanbu.
King Abdullah Street
King Abdullah Street is an important place for companies' offices and commercial developments. The street hosts some of the most powerful conglomerates in Saudi Arabia, such as Emaar Middle East and Al-Farsi. Due to the economic boom in this region, there is a central business district planned, which would be one of the biggest CBDs in the eastern world.
Tahlia Street is an important fashion and shopping street in the mid-town of Jeddah. It contains many upscale department shops and boutiques, such as Prada, Gucci, Burberry, Chanel, Giorgio Armani and Diesel.
Jeddah residents are a mix of several different ethnicities and nationalities. This mixture of races has had a major impact on 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. Hijazi 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 Hijazi version of falafel), Saleeig (a Hijazi 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 the most popular meals during dusk. These meals are found in Lebanese, Syrian, and Turkish restaurants.
International food is popular in the city. American chains such as McDonald's, Burger King, Domino's Pizza and KFC are widely distributed in Jeddah, as are more upscale chains like Fuddruckers and Chili's. Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian foods are also popular. Italian, French, and other European restaurants are found throughout the city.
The local fast food chain Al Baik remains the pioneer though. It has served the population of Jeddah and the neighbouring cities of Makkah, Madinah and Yanbu for a couple of decades now and nobody in the market has been able to compete with it. Their main cuisine is fried chicken, commonly known by Jeddans as Brost, and a variety of seafood. Another popular fast-food chain is Hot and Crispy, an Arabic franchise. They are most popular for their amazingly spiced curly fries.
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. Foulameez serves Foul and Tameez as fast food; Kodo and Hearfey serve Western fast food; Halawani serves local variants of Shawerma; and Shawermatak has pioneered drive-through sales of Shawerma.
One of three consulates of the United States of America in Saudi Arabia is located in Jeddah, along with consulates for 67 other countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Greece, Turkey, India,Pakistan, Italy, Russia and People's Republic of China, as well as countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Arab League states.
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 enormous 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 Saudi Airlines flights, while the Northern Terminal serves foreign and other national airlines.A new plan for the extension of airport is being laid. The Royal Terminal is a special terminal reserved for VIPs, foreign kings and presidents, and the Saudi Royal Family.