Jeddah Corniche: Over 100km of fun!

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Updated 22 January 2013

Jeddah Corniche: Over 100km of fun!

Jeddah is located in the center of the western Saudi Arabia’s coast along the beautiful beaches of the Red Sea — hence its nickname the “Bride of the Red Sea”.
If anyone visits Jeddah, he or she should never leave without visiting the Corniche, where most recreational facilities for sports, enjoyment, and tourism are available.
The Jeddah Corniche — divided into the southern, central, and northern corniche — stretches almost 110 kilometers, with plenty of international hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, places for fishing, picnic areas, a science museum, and mosques. But most importantly, it has the famous King Fahd Fountain, also known as the Jeddah Fountain, which has become the symbol of Jeddah.
This beautiful fountain — the tallest in the world — was a gift from the late King Fahd. The 312-meter high fountain is located near the coast of Jeddah and can be seen from all over the city. It is even higher than the Eiffel Tower!
Along the Southern Corniche, we find a number of beautiful monuments and memorable objects, from 26 bronze sculptures made by world famous artists in front of the Al-Hamra beach to restaurants, hotels, famous fast-food chains, as well as Al-Hamra Mall.
The adopted design of the Corniche adds an artistic touch all along by placing sculptures and other artwork at roundabouts and on streets running alongside the Corniche. Most sculptures and artworks can be found along the northern and central parts of the Corniche. Jeddah is worldwide renowned for housing the largest number of sculptures and artworks by famous international artists such as Moore, Arp, and Miró.
At the moment, because of the Corniche refurbishing program, the sculptures area between Al-Hamra Mall and Hassan Enany Mosque is closed, as restoration work is going on. It will reopen very soon, providing a beautiful picnic location to enjoy nature. A sculpture museum has also been planned.
Hassan Enany Mosque is a very prominent mosque located along the Central Corniche near Palestine Street. It was built in 1984 by the architect Raouf Helmi and commissioned by Hassan Enany. It has a capacity of 1,200 worshippers in an unusual prayer hall covered by an octagonal golden dome.
The Northern Corniche is a strip that extends from the Coast Guard building to Fatima Al-Zahra Mosque, also known as the floating mosque. The Northern Corniche is made up of three routes — each one travels in both directions — that create artificial lakes along the roads and stretch toward the sea.
The Corniche is lined up with numerous facilities and services, such as playgrounds, amusement parks, lush landscape, and spacious paved areas, as well as many shaded seating, walking and jogging areas for families to enjoy the ocean view.
The new Corniche, starting from the Tahlia garden intersection of the Northern Corniche near the Desalination Plant to Faqih Mosque, has been completed with landscaping, pedestrian paths, public toilets within walking distance, and parking lots with internal roads. Numerous types of foliage, saplings, and green grounds have also been planted.
The new area has been refurbished according to international standards. New swings, challenging sports activities, slopes, monkey bars, shaded areas, grass gardens, tiled pavement, sitting areas, and benches — almost all facilities are available for family fun and a picnic.
The municipality plans to refurbish all parts of the Corniche to enhance local and international tourism. In the new Corniche, barbequing is not allowed, but visitors can still enjoy the barbeque at the sea front in the Northern Corniche.
Some areas between Faqih Mosque and Fatima Al-Zahra Mosque are still under refurbishment, but most areas are open for sitting at the seaside and have landscape, pedestrian paths, and parking lots with internal roads.
Another beautiful mosque is the Island Mosque with its simple and stunning white architecture, which turned into peach and cream shade with time. It was built in 1988 on a tiny island just off the Northern Jeddah Corniche. It is one of the four mosques built on or near the water. The other mosque of the Red Sea is the Corniche Mosque. The powerful classical silhouette of this mosque proclaims to all the presence of Islam.
This building reflects the architecture of traditional Egyptian mosques. The entire structure consists of bricks coated with plaster except for the dome. In the interior, the bricks are exposed and painted in a dark bronze color. The prayer hall itself is at the center of a composition that includes the mihrab, projecting outward from the eastern wall just below an oculus, an entrance porch covered by a catenaries vault, and a square-based minaret with an octagonal shaft.
Other things to see on this road are the lakes as well as the water roundabout with Arabic calligraphy. Along the Northern Corniche, visitors will find a number of restaurants with seating areas. When the blazing sun becomes too much visitors can enjoy themselves at the water parks of Sail Island, Green Island, Nawrus Restaurant and others while enjoying the pool and recreation facilities for adults and children.
The most visited mosque along the Red Sea coastline of Jeddah is Fatima Al-Zahra. It is famous by its nickname, the “Floating Mosque”. It is actually built in the sea and at high tide it seems to be floating in the water, like the floating mosque in Penang, Malaysia.
Another fascinating place is Atallah Happy Land Park, with rides for adults and children. It is an amusement park with indoor and outdoor rides and attractions, ice-skating and bowling, dining and shopping, and a 6D theater.
If you want to enjoy a roller coaster ride, you can visit Al-Shalal — Arabic for waterfall — Theme Park, which also features an ice-skating rink and theme area, and the Amazon ride with a jungle theme, complete with life-sized figures of animals, light and sound effects.
The park has a lagoon and 15-m high waterfall with many rides as well as a pirates ship, the largest merry-go-round, seven restaurants, party rooms, a theater, and a games arcade. The park also has a large number of retail outlets for souvenirs and soft toys for children.
The sea front is also the best place for visitors to spend time. Many people like to do fishing, while others enjoy horse riding, bicycling, and motorcycling. But for such rides there are special places allocated along the Southern Al-Hamra Corniche, as visitors are not allowed to do it anywhere for safety and security reasons.
Other than that, you can enjoy a boat ride on the open Red Sea with family and friends. Such facilities can be found on the Northern Obhur Corniche, where a number of boats and yachts are available for rent on an hourly or daily basis. Some are fishing boats, while others have been turned into floating restaurants.
In this area, jet skis are also available for youth, in addition to many resorts for families to enjoy swimming and picnicking.

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Egyptian government converts antique building into hotel

This photo taken on July 26, 2020 shows the derelict dome of the Mamluk Sultan Abu Said al-Zahir Qansuh al-Ashrafi (AD 1498-1500) amidst ongoing roadworks at the historic City of the Dead necropolis of Egypt's capital Cairo. (AFP)
Updated 25 October 2020

Egyptian government converts antique building into hotel

  • Wakala Al-Sultan Qaytbay is one of the most beautiful examples of Islamic buildings that characterized architecture in the Mamluk era

CAIRO: The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities is converting Wakala Al-Sultan Qaytbay in Cairo into a private hotel.

This project is the first of its kind in Egypt. The Islamic archaeological site will be redesigned as a hotel, at a cost of around EGP100 million ($6.3 million).

The history of the urban caravanserai and apartment complex dates back to the Mamluk era in the late-fifteenth century. It was built by Sultan Al-Malik Al-Ashraf Abu Al-Nasr Qaytbay, one of the rulers of the state of the Circassian Mamluks, who later ruled Egypt. He loved architecture and the arts, reflected by the timeless monuments that he left.

Wakala Al-Sultan Qaytbay is one of the most beautiful examples of Islamic buildings that characterized architecture in the Mamluk era. It consists of three floors and overlooks a spacious inner courtyard. The ground floor was used for trade, with the two upper floors for housing.

Archaeologist Mahmoud Abdel-Baset, director general of the Historic Cairo Development Project, said that it was scheduled to be completed within 2021.

He said the project will create a unique hotel while preserving ancient archaeological heritage.

Abdel-Baset added that the hotel will be provided with a suitable furnish for the history and location of the building.

He said that the shops at the complex’s front will be preserved and that they will continue as commercial outlets for tourists and visitors.

The Historic Cairo Development Project told Arab News that the economic return from the hotel will contribute to the continuity of maintenance work, creating a mutually beneficial relationship between the complex and the surrounding community.

The project is being headed by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities with funding from the Ministry of Housing, Fatimid Cairo Authority. Hania Mamdouh, the supervisor of the Engineering Unit in Historic Cairo, confirmed that the Venice Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites and the requirements of the tourism ministry for heritage hotels were taken into account.

The team has used different bricks from those found in the original construction to guarantee that visitors can easily distinguish between the two eras of development.

Mamdouh said that red hollow bricks were used because they are lighter and do not affect the structural integrity of the original elements of the facility. She added that the bricks were previously used in a restoration effort from the 1940s.

Hajj Samir, the owner of one of the shops in the area, said that the project is special to the local community. Previously it was a filthy place neglected by government officials.

“In the past, the cleaners did not work...Now things are completely different, and the region will become global in the full sense of the word,” he added.