JEDDAH: When entering Jeddah’s historical district from the northern gate near the Al-Bayaa roundabout, the city’s walls and historical buildings catch visitors’ eyes.
Most visitors get the impression that they are stepping back in time. The location lets them delve into the depths of history and contemplate the lives of the people who once lived in the historical area.
Through alleys and corridors, visitors will come across a corner in the center of the historical area turned into a daily meeting place and a cultural salon that promotes cultural, literary, artistic and heritage knowledge.
The Arbab Alheraf, an art and culture center, this year introduced Mishraqah Jeddah Al-Balad, located at Bait Alhodaif, as part of the area’s Ramadan festival.
Mishraqah is a nonprofit art organization that includes a small museum of 14 rooms. It displays items from 1910-1980, including art, photography, newspapers and magazines, and nostalgic items such as Carrom boards, currencies and more.
Speaking to Arab News, Arbab Alheraf founder Abdullah S. Alhodaif said that Mishraqah, which means “shining” in Arabic, is a “unique and genuine cultural window” that showcases the uniqueness of Saudi culture through a variety of creative works. It hosts inspirational people to speak about their creative experiences and share them with the rest of society.
“Throughout the month of Ramadan, we begin every day at 10 p.m. in the evening and end at 1 a.m. at Bait Alhodaif, where Mishraqah shines and presents a series of events with a creative and authentic touch. We will host a number of knowledgeable individuals who will be permeated by events that will enrich culture, history and human development,” he said.
He added: “In Mishraqah, there are many details, including a physical art exhibition representing the authenticity of Jeddah, an audio art exhibition telling the story of Islam since its inception, and Sohbat Naqa (Good Company), which is a social experience that makes you share your experience with a stranger in a deep psychological way.”
Since the project’s inception in 2016, the group has adopted an approach that incorporates many cultural and artistic events into a package of activities and programs to serve as the first foundation of various cultural projects. In the last six years, the project has hosted over 1,300 cultural night events.
Abdullah S. Alhodaif, Founder of Arbab Alheraf
Alhodaif said that visitors to historic Jeddah can find Saudi originality in Mishraqah Jeddah Al-Balad through a collection of creative works.
Mishraqah has played host to elite names such as Sohayb Godus, an actor and writer; Shahad Nazer, a yoga instructor; Saudi historian and coffee expert Majed Al-Ahdal; Saudi designer Nawaf Al-Nassar; another famous designer, Wed Zahid; and Saudi poet Abdullah Thabit.
Since its inception, Arbab Alheraf has served as an important cultural and artistic initiative. It has a distinct Saudi identity and speaks to the local community’s passion as well as the national orientation toward the Quality of Life Program.
It aims to work in line with Saudi Vision 2030’s cultural ambitions. Alhodaif said: “Since the project’s inception in 2016, the group has adopted an approach that incorporates many cultural and artistic events into a package of activities and programs to serve as the first foundation of various cultural projects. In the last six years, the project has hosted over 1,300 cultural night events.”