By Courtney Trenwith
Saudi port city’s role as trade hub, gateway to Makkah recognised by UNESCO
More historical sites in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The city’s historic position as a thoroughfare for Muslim pilgrims visiting the holy city of Makkah, as well as for trade were recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“From the 7thcentury AD [Jeddah] was established as a major port for Indian Ocean trade routes, channeling goods to Mecca. It was also the gateway for Muslim pilgrims to Mecca who arrived by sea,” a UNESCO statement says.
“These twin roles saw the city develop into a thriving multicultural centre, characterized by a distinctive architectural tradition, including tower houses built in the late 19th century by the city’s mercantile elites, and combining Red Sea coastal coral building traditions with influences and crafts from along the trade routes.”
Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities president Prince Sultan bin Salman said the UNESCO recognition supported the kingdom’s goal of protecting its historical sites.
“The UNESCO’s decision would further highlight the Kingdom’s historical position and its rich heritage. The inclusion of another site to the UNESCO heritage site shows the depth of the Kingdom’s culture that represents a major platform and strong witness to the country’s role in the interaction with humanity through centuries,” Prince Sultan said in a statement published by state media.