Discover Lawrence of Arabia's house, history of WWI & fascinating attractions in Yanbu


By Abdulaziz Hammad

Saudi Gazette

British intelligence officer & military advisor Thomas Edward Lawrence, known as Lawrence of Arabia, lived in an old house in Yanbu during the start of the Great Arab Revolt in 1915.

This house has been renovated by the Ministry of Tourism and now it is on display for tourists and visitors of the fascinating coastal city, Yanbu.

Yanbu, through its long 2,500 years history has witnessed many events in the Middle Eastern theater of WWI, most prominently the battle of Yanbu in December, 1916, when the Ottoman forces led by Fakhri Pasha launched an offensive with the aim of capturing the city, which was defended by 1,500 Arab troops supported by five Royal British Navy ships on the Red Sea.

The defenders prevailed and won the battle. Later on Yanbu served as a supply and an operational base for Arab and British forces till the end of the war.

Yanbu remained a small port town until 1975, when the Saudi government decided to make it as one of the country's two new industrial centers.

Extensive government and private development have taken place at the port city boosting its economic value enhancing the petrochemical and logistics industries. Now Industrial Yanbu hosts three oil refineries and many industrial facilities.

The city is full of tourist attractions such as Sharm Yanbu offering a variety of beaches, resorts and the marina, a hub for marine trips for snorkeling and scuba diving alongside the fascinating biodiversity and corals of the Red Sea.

In addition it boasts many public parks and green open areas and the most prominent is Al-Nawras island.

Just 90 km south of Yanbu is Al-Rayyis, a coastal town, located on the glamorous shores of the Red Sea, linking Yanbu and Jeddah.

This magical seaside town is knowns for its breathtaking turquoise waters, and is an excellent destination for fishermen and sea lovers. The Al-Rayyis Marina offers a variety of boat trips.