JARWAL is one of Makkah’s famous districts and is distinguished for its rich heritage.
The well-known Tuwa well, where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reportedly took a bath the night before the conquest of Makkah, is located there. Many pilgrims visit the well every year as it is located along the road leading to the Grand Mosque.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) recently constructed a wall around the well to protect it from destruction.
Jarwal was popular in the past because of its traditional souk. A large number of Makkans used to visit this souk. There were wholesale and retail traders of various goods such as incenses, fruit and vegetables. It also housed the souk for fodder and seeds and a sheep market.
“A huge portion of this market has been shifted to Kaakiya,” said one resident.
However, a number of traders continue their business activities in Jarwal, especially the sale of pigeon feed. Some pilgrims and philanthropists pay these traders in advance to supply food for the pigeons regularly.
“Jarwal was a garden before it was turned into a residential district,” said Saleem Al-Otaibi while speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette. “It became famous after the vegetable market near the Haram was shifted there,” he added.
A large number of Bedouins used to visit the market to purchase their requirements of incenses, foodstuffs, coffee and cardamom, said Al-Otaibi.
“One of the oldest taxi stands in Makkah is located here and these taxis transported people to Jamoom and Wadi Fatima,” he pointed out.
Ahmed Alhaj, owner of a shop that sells bird feed, said the Jarwal market was famous even during his childhood. “I used to see a large number of people from Makkah and neighboring villages visiting this market,” he said, adding that pilgrims used to be the main customers.
“The shifting of the vegetable market from the vicinity of the Haram to Jarwal several years ago boosted the souk as a large number of traders moved to this market,” he added.
Dr. Fawaz Al-Dahas, professor of history and Islamic civilization at Umm Al-Qura University, said the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is believed to have taken a bath using water from the well in Tuwa the night before the conquest of Makkah in 630 AD.
“The Prophet issued orders to his forces staying at this place before moving toward the Kaaba. He divided the forces into two groups with Khaled Bin Walid leading one group,” Al-Dahas said.
The palace of Bin Sulaiman, who was finance minister of King Abdul Aziz, is located in Jarwal, which was known previously as Tuwa district.
Jarwal is situated close to the Grand Mosque. About 90 percent of its buildings are old while the rest are newly constructed residential towers that accommodate pilgrims.
“About 70 percent of Jarwal district was razed for the expansion of the Grand Mosque,” Al-Dahas said.
It also houses the Grand Mosque’s air conditioning units, power generators and a huge garbage treatment plant, in addition to a fuel and water storage facilities.
Abdullah Fareej Al-Subhi, a resident of Jarwal, criticized the Makkah municipality for handing over parking areas in the district to an investment company. “This has put us in an awkward situation. We have to pay the company even for parking cars near our homes,” he added.
Musaifer Al-Maabadi, who has been working as a taxi driver for 40 years in Jarwal, is worried about shortage of work. “I work from morning till evening and earn only SR100 these days,” he added.