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5-km WATERFRONT, OPEN GARDENS

Saudi Arabia unveils historic Jeddah district revival plan

JEDDAH, September 7, 2021

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched an ambitious 15-year project in bid to breathe new life into the historic part of Jeddah city.
 
The Historic Jeddah area, known locally as Al Balad (Arabic for town), is situated on the eastern shore of the Red Sea and was established from the 7th century AD as a major port for Indian Ocean trade routes, channeling goods from Jeddah to Makkah.
 
Al Balad boasts 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 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, reported the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
 
Under this historic plan, the 5-km waterfront will be redeveloped, with green spaces and open gardens.
 
The new project comes within the Crown Prince’s keenness and interest in preserving, conserving and rehabilitating historical sites, in order to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030 and to reflect the Arab and Islamic depth of the kingdom as one of the most important pillars of the vision, it stated.
 
Announcing the mammoth project, Prince Mohammed said: "Work on it will extend for the next 15 years, during which period the Historic Jeddah area will be developed according to multiple tracks, including infrastructure and services.
 
"Focus will be on developing the natural and environmental field, improving the quality of life and enhancing urban aspects, with the aim of making it an inspiring site in the region and a global front for the kingdom through investment," he stated.
 
According to him, the project aims to create an integrated environment in Historic Jeddah that has multiple natural components, including 5 km of developed waterfronts, green spaces and open gardens covering 15 per cent of the total area of ​​the al-Balad area and within the project area of ​​2.5 square km.
 
Prince Mohammed had announced similar revival projects in the past, such as those aimed at renovating heritage buildings in central Riyadh and another aimed at renovating historic mosques throughout the kingdom.
 
"Historic Jeddah is expected to become an incubator for creativity in which Saudi entrepreneurs and artists meet within a creative community and in an environment where the elements of national heritage and nature meet contemporary architectural designs," he added.
 
The project takes into account Jeddah’s heritage as a major focal point for people, trade and culture since its foundation in the 3rd century BC as a fishing settlement. It was established as a major seaport during the era of Caliph Othman bin Affan, reported SPA. 
 
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, it added. 



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