Ramadan In Balad

May 27, 2017
Ramadan In Balad
Ramadan In Balad

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By Mariam Nihal
Saudi Gazette

Balad is the historic center, or the heart of Jeddah. Ramadan lights up the town center which locals and expats look forward to every year. “This is a tradition for our family. As soon as Ramadan begins, my father and I visit Balad to be a part of the festive vibe and celebration. We go after Isha and meet up with friends, relatives and end up making new friends as we gather under the festive lights and talk over coffee and Saudi street food,” Zuhair Abdullah, a 29-year-old Saudi told Saudi Gazette.

From an architectural standpoint, Balad embodies the real spirit of Saudi history and its origin. From art to the style characterized by buildings including tower houses adorned with large wooden Roshan windows and doors from the late 19th century, to coral stone houses, mosques, souqs and small public squares, every corner is beautiful and tells a unique story.

Historic Jeddah had a symbolic role as a gateway to Makkah for Muslim pilgrims who sailed to this part of the world and hence earned the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site three years ago.

Surrounded by history, its walls and homes, Balad is a reminder of Jeddah’s rich cultural past and a spot visited by most artists and schools in the city. Most art and design fairs are now an integral part of Balad with young and established artists encouraging traditional works with workshops and artwork displays around the city center. El Seed, a French-Tunisian renown street artist also painted a mural in Balad during one of Jeddah’s art weeks which remains to be a highlight for calligraphy and graffiti fans.

During Ramadan, Balad is decorated with Ramadan motifs, new street shops, food trucks, art and bazaars for the whole family. “This is when we usually buy gold and new clothes for the month and Eid. My sisters and I love Ramadan in Balad, we are now buying thobes we can wear for iftar gatherings and love celebrating this blessed month as a family,” Noora Ahmad, a 23-year-old university student in Jeddah said.

Some of the popular spots are the gold souk, Naseef house, Jeddah Municipality Museum, Sharbatly house, Al Shafei and Juffali mosque.

“We are regular visitors of Naseef house and love being a part of Taraweeh prayers in local mosques here. All the things you need from the cheapest bargains to perfumes, gold or electronics- everything is available in Balad. You also get to engage with the local culture, antiques and old homes around here, which really make you, fall in love with their heritage. Oud, souvenirs, prayer beads and Quran as gift ideas are easy to find and to take back home for our families,” Rasha Iqbal, a 38-year-old Indian teacher living in Jeddah said.


May 27, 2017
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