Old Jeddah is located in the city centre of Jeddah and is now known as Al-Balad. The history of Al-Balad dates back to pre-Islamic times, and the pivotal turning point in its history is considered to be during the reign of the Caliph Uthman ibn Affan, when it was taken as the port of Mecca in the year 26 Hijri.
Al-Balad, or as it is called historical Jeddah, contains a large number of ancient and historical heritage buildings and monuments, for example, there is the wall of Jeddah and its ancient neighbourhoods ( Al-Mazloum district- al-Sham district-Al-Yemen district-the sea district)
and many prominent old historical mosques are also in Al-Balad such as (Othman bin Affan mosque, the Shafi'i mosque, Al-Pasha Mosque, Al-Akash mosque, Al-Mimar mosque, Al-Hanafi Mosque), in addition to a number of old markets.
Al-Balad has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 21, 2014, following which King Salman bin Abdulaziz directed in 2018 the establishment of a department to oversee the Jeddah Project, which is related to the Ministry of Culture, and the allocation of its own independent budget.
And all this was based on what was offered through Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who then in 2019 directed to support the restoration project of about 56 buildings that were about to fall in the Al-Balad area, for an amount of about 50 million Saudi riyals as part of which was the first stage.
Jeddah wall and its historical Gates
Hussein al-Kurdi built the Al-Balad wall during his attempt to secure the Red Sea against the attacks of Portuguese forces. He opted to support his men by building castles, towers, and cannons to repel the incoming warships that would attack the city.
Then Hussein Kurdi decided to build the Jeddah wall and surround it from the outside with a moat, and this was to increase the safety and fortification of the city against enemy attacks. The wall was built with the help of the people of Al-Balad and had two doors, one to Mecca and the second to the sea, and the wall contained six towers, each tower had a perimeter of 16 arms, and then 6 doors were opened in the wall (Mecca gate-Medina Gate-Sharif gate-Jadid gate-Al Bant gate-Dung gate) and during the current century, another door has been added, namely Al-Sabba gate.
After that, the wall was completely removed so that Al-Balad could expand to the Al-Umran region in 1947.
Al-Balad has been divided into a number of neighbourhoods, and these neighbourhoods have been called a lane or an alley (Haret in Arabic), and the names of these neighbourhoods are based on their geographical location within the city or what it was famous for, and the events it went through, for example:
● Haret al-Mazloum: it has been called this name for more than one story, the first one belonged to Mr. Abdul Karim Al-Barzanji, who was killed by the Ottoman government, and the second story was written by Ibn Faraj, who died in 1010 Hijri and mentioned one of the Guardians of the city of Jeddah, Sheikh Afif al-Din Abdullah Al-Mazloum, who his grave is inside the neighbourhood, and so it was named after him because of his nobility and fame.
● Haret al-Sham: it was given this name because of its geographical location, which was located in the northern part of the wall, and this was in the direction of the Levant.