More Like This

Exploring the Heart of Jeddah: A Journey through Al Balad’s Rich Tapestry

Travel and PlacesExploring the Heart of Jeddah: A Journey through Al Balad's Rich Tapestry

Nestled between the tall buildings and contemporary marvels of Jeddah’s busy metropolis sits Al Balad, the city’s pulsing heart. The second-largest city in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah Balad, also called Al Balad, is a historical treasure that captures the city’s essence.  

Balad’s allure extends beyond its ancient architecture and winding alleyways; it’s imbued with a palpable sense of heritage. Its labyrinthine streets transport visitors to an era of trade caravans and Arabian nights.

With its centuries-old history and culture, Balad draws both residents and visitors with its alluring blend of modernism and tradition. Its rich history is reflected in its architecture, embellished with Islamic, Ottoman, and Hejazi elements.

Getting There

Getting to Al Balad is relatively easy, as it is located in the heart of Jeddah and easily accessible by various modes of transportation. Visitors can opt for taxis, ride-sharing services, or public buses to reach the district. Additionally, many hotels offer shuttle services to popular tourist areas, including Balad.

Things to Do and sights to see in Al Balad

Visitors are welcomed to Balad with an abundance of activities that suit every taste and interest:

Explore the Al-Balad Souq

The ancient Al-Balad Souq in Balad is a thriving bazaar that captures the spirit of old Jeddah. Discover Saudi Arabia’s rich past by meandering through small lanes with stores selling traditional handicrafts, fabrics, and spices.

Explore the labyrinth of shops and lanes that comprise this ancient marketplace. The souq provides a diverse range of products to purchase, from textiles and spices to handicrafts and antiquities.

Image Courtesy of

Visit Historic Landmarks

In Balad, ancient treasures like the Al-Makkawi Mosque and Nasseef House are beside busy souqs. The mosque’s elaborate masonry and blue domes are examples of Hejazi architecture. 

Take in the magnificent architecture of this old mosque, which features elaborate brickwork and recognizable blue domes.

The restored merchant’s residence, Nasseef House, provides a window into Jeddah’s opulent past. Enter the exquisitely renovated merchant’s home and take a trip back in time to the heyday of Jeddah’s trade and commerce. Discover the history of the property and its previous residents while perusing the elaborately furnished rooms.

Image courtesy: TripAdvisor

Image Courtesy: Jeddah tour guide

Admire Street Art

Thanks to its rich historical background, Al Balad is a constantly changing neighborhood that is not merely a remnant of the past. Boutique hotels, contemporary cafés, and art galleries coexist with centuries-old structures to create a singular fusion of the old and the new. Juxtaposing modernity and tradition, vibrant street art captures Jeddah’s ever-changing cultural milieu.

As you stroll around Balad, admire the vibrant paintings and graffiti that decorate several walls and buildings. Every item conveys a tale while showcasing the neighborhood’s contemporary artistic expression and rich cultural legacy.

Indulge in Culinary Delights

Al Balad is a foodie haven and a destination for architecture and markets. The neighborhood offers traditional Saudi foods and foreign cuisine to suit every taste, from aromatic kebabs to decadent pastries. 

Eating in Balad stimulates all senses and helps guests appreciate the area’s food history on a deeper level.

Al Balad offers various restaurants to take your taste buds on a gourmet journey. Try some classic Saudi fare like falafel, kunafa, and kebabs, or dine outside at one of the chic cafés or restaurants in the area. Remember to wash it down with a cool glass of freshly squeezed juice or Arabic coffee.

Here are some restaurants you might find in Al Balad:

  1. Al-Nakheel Restaurant: Known for its traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, Al-Nakheel offers many dishes, including kebabs, hummus, and falafel.
  2. Al-Quds Restaurant: Specializing in Palestinian cuisine, Al-Quds serves authentic dishes such as maqluba, musakhan, and kunafa.
  3. Al-Fanar Restaurant: This restaurant offers a mix of traditional and modern Arabic dishes, focusing on seafood and grilled meats.
  4. Al-Nawras Seafood Restaurant: As the name suggests, Al-Nawras specializes in seafood dishes, with fresh catches cooked in various styles.
  5. Al-Salam Restaurant: A popular spot for Lebanese cuisine, Al-Salam serves shawarma, tabbouleh, and fattoush salad.
  6. Al-Makan Café & Restaurant: Offering a cozy ambiance, Al-Makan serves a variety of Middle Eastern and international dishes, along with a selection of desserts and drinks.
  7. Al-Qaria Restaurant: Known for its Arabian hospitality and flavorful dishes, Al-Qaria offers a mix of grilled meats, mezze, and desserts.

Image Credit:

Al Balad changes when night falls, with lantern-lit streets and traditional music filling the air. Friends and family get together for spirited dining, shopping, and mingling. Balad fascinates with its ageless charm and warmth, whether you want to explore its souqs during the day or have a traditional lunch beneath the stars.

In conclusion, Jeddah Al Balad offers a distinctive fusion of history, ambiance, and hospitality, embodying Saudi Arabia’s rich legacy. Discovering its passageways, savoring its food, or just taking in the atmosphere guarantees a memorable time.

DISCLAIMER: The images/videos showcased on this page are the property of their respective owners. We provide credit and sources wherever possible. However, If you find that your image/video is displayed on this blog without authorization, please contact us with the relevant details and a link to the image, and we will promptly address your concerns.