Monday, July 16, 2012

Old Jeddah Building

Jeddah was first settled as a small fishing village on the Red Sea in about 500 BC. As the closest seaport to both Mecca and Medina, two of the holiest cities in Islam, Jeddah also became a center of commerce as well as the gateway for those traveling to Mecca for Hajj, the religious pilgrimage required of all Muslims. Since about 1940 after the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah has experienced a tremendous and continuous growth spurt, from an estimated 1950 population of about 30,000 jumping to approximately 3.5 million in 2011. The oldest part of the city is called Al Balad, where many of the buildings are crumbling and are in a sad state of disrepair. Surprisingly enough, many of these buildings are still inhabited by the very poor, most of them foreign workers from nearby underdeveloped countries. Notice the satellite dishes.

4 comments:

about me said...

Hello, you have an interessting city blog about a city that I heard something but now I can "deep" in there. Thanks for this and for your beautifull photos.
Best regards,
Paulo Camacho

Jerry Mc Kenna said...

Do the Saudis realize that they need real urban planning with things like building inspectors. Buildings like this need to be replaced. If the private market cannot provide solutions (and it is obvious that is hasn't yet), they need a government solution. After all those poor workers are needed to build the country and keep it running, they need safe affordable housing. In the US during WWII, the government built cheap housing for war workers, something similar needs to be done is Saudi Arabia.

Susie of Arabia said...

Paulo - You are most welcome. Glad you are enjoying seeing Jeddah.

Susie of Arabia said...

Jerry - The lower end workers live in deplorable conditions. Some don't even have running water. I know one problem here in the past in this "religious" society has been graft and corruption. Funds allocated for improvements have either been used for sub-standard work and materials with the rest of the money pocketed, or projects have been finished halfway with a claim that funds ran out, or funding has just been absconded with altogether. There has been ZERO accountability. If charges are ever brought against someone, a lower man on the totem pole is offered up as a scapegoat, and the rich continue to get richer. I guess it's just like many other countries in the world...