229-year-old mosque shines in heart of downtown Jeddah

Updated 31 July 2013

229-year-old mosque shines in heart of downtown Jeddah

Mosques have a special place in the hearts of Muslims, especially in the holy month of Ramadan. They spend more time in them than at any other time during the year.
Ukash Mosque is well known not only in Saudi Arabia, but also in the Muslim world. It was built in 1784. It is the second oldest mosque in Jeddah’s modern history. The oldest is the Uthman bin Affan mosque.
It is located downtown surrounded by two marketplaces.
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Shanqeeti is the 60-year-old imam of the mosque and has fulfilled the duties of this post for 35 years.
He told Arab News that the mosque was built during Ottoman rule, with the official deed issued two years after construction. It was also registered at the Turkish Ministry of Awqaf (endowments) and Muslim Affairs.
The mosque was built by Ukash Abazah, a Turkish citizen who was born and lived in Jeddah. Now the Hazazi family is in charge of running the mosque and providing all the necessary services. They are well known in Jeddah and are considered the heirs of the mosque’s estate. The mosque is officially regulated by the Saudi Ministry of Muslim Affairs and Awqaf.
In the old days, it used to be the sea gate of Jeddah because it is near the entry to the port. Visitors and official guests of the state arriving at the port would pray at the mosque.
He said that the mosque was completely renovated six years ago, using state-of-the-art designs based on Islamic architectural patterns.
It can accommodate more than 1,200 worshippers. There is a special section for women. It also has an extensive library of Muslim books.
Many members of the Saudi royal family prayed in the mosque at various times. The scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi prayed there too. The popular Qur’an reciter, the late Sheikh Abdul Basit Abdus Samad, spent many nights reciting the Qur’an publicly at the mosque.
The mosque has a special place in the hearts of many citizens of Jeddah. Muhammad Al-Jad'ani, who lives in Jeddah, says that when he prays in the mosque, he feels filled with spiritual feelings and peace, especially in the holy month of Ramadan. “I make it a point to always come here in Ramadan to do the evening prayers,” he said.


Diriyah Gate to be a global, historical and cultural landmark

Updated 22 November 2019

Diriyah Gate to be a global, historical and cultural landmark

  • Diriyah is home to Al-Turaif District, built in 1744 and known as one of the largest clay cities in the world

DIRIYAH: With the establishment of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), the historical site of Diriyah will become one of the largest and most important international destinations.

The DGDA seeks to transform the site into a location to host activities and events aimed at exchanging historical and cultural knowledge through museums and venues spread throughout
Al-Turaif District.

 The DGDA aims to celebrate the people of Diriyah by telling their stories and demonstrating their social, cultural and historical the roots, as the cradle of the first Saudi state and a symbol of the beauty of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and
its people.

 Diriyah is home to Al-Turaif District, built in 1744 and known as one of the largest clay cities in the world. It was registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2010 — one of five Saudi sites listed.

Not far from Al-Turaif District is the historic Al-Bujairi District, which was a center for spreading science and knowledge during the prosperity of Diriyah, as the capital of the first Saudi state. 

Today it houses many commercial centers and cafes and is the perfect destination to experience Saudi cuisine.

One of the historical landmarks in Al-Turaif District is Salwa Palace, which is located in the northeastern part. It is the largest of its landmarks and spans over 10,000 square meters. It was founded by Imam Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed bin Saud in 1765, and is historically known as the home of the first royal family. 

The palace houses the Diriyah Museum, which presents the history and development of the first Saudi state through works of art, drawings, models and documentaries.

BACKGROUND

At the northern end of old Diriyah, the town of Ghusaybah sits atop of a plateau surrounded by the Hanifa Valley on three sides.

Salwa Palace forms an integrated architectural system with its residential, administrative, cultural and religious units.

 Al-Turaif District also includes the Imam Muhammad bin Saud Mosque, known as the Great Mosque or Al-Turaif Mosque. It is adjacent to Salwa Palace on the north side, and Imams used to lead Friday prayers there.

 To make movement between the mosque and the palace easier, Imam Saud bin Abdul Aziz built a bridge to connect them on the upper floor. The mosque houses a religious school to teach religious sciences. It was formerly the largest mosque in the Arabian Peninsula and was built to symbolize the strength and unity of the Saudi state.

 At the northern end of old Diriyah, the town of Ghusaybah sits atop of a plateau surrounded by the Hanifa Valley on three sides. It was settled by Mani’ Al-Muraydi, the oldest ancestor of the House of Saud, in the 15th century. 

Ghusaybah is a well-established location, carefully chosen for the establishment of the new governorate, and its location played a major role in the protection of Hajj convoys and trade passing through its areas of influence in Al-Arid region.

 Ghusaybah was the seat of an independent governorate before the founding of the first Saudi state. It provided protection for the northern gate of Diriyah during the campaign of Ibrahim Pasha in 1818.

 Samhan is one of the historical areas south of Ghusaybeh on a triangle overlooking the valley when it meets another tributary, the villages of Omran. It directly overlooks the districts of Qusayrin, Mrayih, and Al-Turaif. This location was important during the reign of Imam Mohammed bin Saud and his son Samhan, being a well-fortified site during the siege of Diriyah. It was selected by Imam Abdullah to be his defense headquarters.

 In the field of philanthropy, one may mention “Sabala Moudhi” which was founded by Imam Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed bin Saud, who made it a charitable endowment in the name of his mother, Moudhi bint Sultan bin Abi Wahtan, wife of Imam Mohammed bin Saud. 

It is located east of the Salwa Palace on the southeast of Al-Turaif District. It is a two-story building and was established to provide free accommodation for visitors coming to the city of Diriyah.