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“The Forgotten Jewel”
Review of Balad

Ranked #2 of 57 things to do in Jeddah
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Reminiscent of the Arabian nights fairytales, this vibrant marketplace with multi-storied mud brick and stone buildings sells everything from textiles and sparkling silver and gold ornaments to spices and honey.
Reviewed May 18, 2014

Al-Balad is a magnificent piece of history - never before I had the opportunity to see small town built from the sea corals. This place is a must see in Jeddah, especially because it's one of the rare preserved historical sites in this area where you can experience spirit of the old ages. Several streets are still used as a souq (merchant) area, where you can buy different goods: from spices, to cloth, to souvenirs for dirty cheap prices. Here, surrounded bu locals and ex-pats, people mostly dressed in traditional Arabic outfit, buildings that are dating back to the 7th century, and shops with vivid colors and exotic aromas, one could easily place him/herself back into the Islamic Golden Age and enjoy this unique time travel. One thing I especially like about Al-Balad - merchants are not pushy, so you can peacefully pace yourself and focus on marvelous details around you (whoever traveled to Egypt or Morocco knows what I'm talking about).

Despite its beauty and importance, authorities don't seem to be too concerned about the well being of Al-Balad - it is dirty, mostly left to the decay, with buildings slowly falling apart all over the area. Fortunately, restoration works are ongoing, but only several buildings seem to be under construction at the moment. I truly hope authorities will recognize importance of this historical site before it's too late and intensify works on its conservation.

2  Thank Vladimir S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 15, 2014

i like this place so much, it is the real old jeddah
you can find any thing to purchase cheap.
only the crowding it was so much crowed.

Thank MohamedOsamaZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 2, 2014

Our friends took us to the Balad the other night and it really felt like old Saudi Arabia. As we walked the streets it felt as we stepped back in time and I enjoyed that compared to all of the big shopping malls that the area offers. We went to the gold district that was something to see and experience, shop after shop of gold jewelry. I would like to go back and see the other areas as I understand that they are just as interesting. Wear some good walking shoes as the side walks are a bit old and there is a lot of walking to do. A very cool place to see.

3  Thank expattravler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2014

You have not been to Jeddah if you have not visited Balad. This is Jeddah's downtown or city center. The terminal of Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) is located just opposite the Main Post Office Building. Loads of tour buses carrying pilgrims in big groups can be seen anywhere and any time of the day. There are enough parking spaces outside the Corniche Commercial Center and accross the street. People come to Balad for shopping, dining, etc. Expatriates send their remittances to their home countries through the different banks and remittance centers operating in Balad. The modern buildings and shopping malls co-exist with old souks selling gold jewelries, spices and other stuff. Old traditional wooden houses with balconies are preserved in the historic area. Balad is congested especially during weekends but it is a good opportunity to see by chance familiar faces you have not seen for ages.

3  Thank pinoytraveller2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2014

This souk is a must for anyone visiting Jeddah that wants to see the old city and capture the sights, smells and sounds of the city and country
It includes a highlight of the Coral houses...they are falling down but that is a function of age. They were apparently built in the 1600's using coral from the ocean - think about it if you are surrounded by sand you have a challenge finding good construction material for houses. Delightful area full of old traditional mixed with some modern elements
The deep friend fresh fish is fantastic and make sure to step into one of the perfume/bakhoor (a type of wood burnt in Middle East homes) houses to to get a sense of the rich smells and performs from the region
The "sweet" or "candy" store in this area is packed (wall to wall) with dates and local delicacies...you will be overwhelmed by the choice.
Time your visit to be there for one of the call to prayer's and enjoy the delightful song - this was especially nice at sundown matched to a beautiful sunset.
You won't regret it and bet you will remember this above other activities in Jeddah....oh and btw it's free (unless you buy something!).

Thank DrNic1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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