I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Sunday, January 28, 2024


Al Balad became a thriving port in the 7th century. And because it is less than 50 miles from Mecca, Al Balad was, and Jeddah is, a gateway city for pilgrims. The 650 buildings in the district—now a UNESCO World Heritage site—mostly date from the 19th century; many were built from blocks of coral carved out of the nearby Red Sea, with distinctive wooden balconies called rawasheen (singular roshan).

Many of the buildings are dilapidated and some are in danger of collapsing, as the steep cost of upkeep led to many of the families leaving for the newer, more modern living options in Jeddah's suburbs. The Ministry of Culture has now financed a full restoration project, and the streets were full of construction crews when we were there. The pictures show examples of rawasheen on a building that has been restored next to one that is still waiting its turn.

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