Photographer's Note

Jeddah is the Gate to Makkah. Makkah lies only 80 km away of Jeddah but the tourists are forbidden to go there. Al-Balad is the historical area of Jeddah, the second largest city of Saudi Arabia. Balad can literally be translated as "The Town." Balad is the historic center of the City of Jeddah.

Al-Balad was founded in the 7th century. Al-Balad's defensive walls were torn down in the 1940s. In the 1970s and 1980s, when Jeddah began to become wealthier due to the oil boom, many Jeddawis moved north, away from Al-Balad, as it reminded them of less prosperous times. Al-Balad had insufficient parking space for large cars. Its stores did not sell expensive designer clothing. Poor immigrants moved in place of the Saudi population.
Among the most interesting houses is the Al Nassif House. The construction of Nasseef House on old Jeddah's main street, Suq al-Alawi, began in 1872 and it was finished by 1881 for Omar Nasseef Efendi, member of a wealthy merchant family and, governor of Jeddah at the time. When Abdulaziz Ibn Saud ( t) entered the city in December 1925, after the siege of Jeddah, he stayed in the Bayt Nasseef. During his early stays in the city he used it as royal residence and received guests here.People used to recognize Nasseef house as "The House with the Tree" because it was the only house in Balad that had one. Obviously, growing a tree was not an easy task because of the scarcity of water. The tree grows on a little square on the north of the house and is a neem tree (Azadirachta indica). This may well be the oldest tree in Jeddah.

All the time, the people are sitting on the stairs of the Nasseef House. I saw them some photographers. They were no tourists, they were locals. When they saw me, the only tourist, they were interested. wanted to chat with me and to take my photos.

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13580 W: 141 N: 35197] (158680)
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