History of Jeddah
Jeddah, located on the west coast of Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea, was founded as a small fishing village more than 2,500 years ago. Jeddah registers high levels of humidity for much of the year. Only in the winter, when a moderate air front combines with a low pressure current, do humidity levels fall substantially. Located on the trade route from India to the Middle East and the Mediterranean, Jeddah acquired still greater importance when, under the Muslim Caliph Uthman bin Affan, it became a port for pilgrims heading for the Holy City of Makkah to perform Hajj. In the 16th century, the city was fortified by the Turks with a stone wall as a defense against Portuguese. Jeddah remained under Ottoman rule until 1915, so the Turkish influence on the city, particularly on its architecture, was strong. Jeddah's Corniche is one of the city's most impressive and pleasing features. Taking advantage of its long sea shore, the city has constructed a three-part corniche, 20 miles in length, which provides recreational facilities and superb views of the sea for citizens and visitors. The Jeddah fountain, donated to the city by the late King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz (hence the popular name of King Fahd's Fountain) rises some 853 feet (260 meters) from the sea off Jeddah. This jet of water is the highest of its type in the world and is an unforgettable sight, especially when illuminated at night.