Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings

Special Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings
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Jeddah’s historic district of Al-Balad comes alive during Ramadan. (SPA)
Special Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings
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Jeddah, during Ramadan, comes alive with vibrant bazaars offering a plethora of shopping experiences. (SPA)
Special Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings
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Jeddah, during Ramadan, comes alive with vibrant bazaars offering a plethora of shopping experiences. (SPA)
Special Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings
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Jeddah, during Ramadan, comes alive with vibrant bazaars offering a plethora of shopping experiences. (SPA)
Special Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings
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Jeddah, during Ramadan, comes alive with vibrant bazaars offering a plethora of shopping experiences. (SPA)
Special Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings
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Jeddah, during Ramadan, comes alive with vibrant bazaars offering a plethora of shopping experiences. (SPA)
Special Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings
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Jeddah, during Ramadan, comes alive with vibrant bazaars offering a plethora of shopping experiences. (SPA)
Special Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings
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Jeddah’s historic district of Al-Balad comes alive during Ramadan. (SPA)
Special Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings
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Jeddah’s historic district of Al-Balad comes alive during Ramadan. (SPA)
Special Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings
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Hayy Cinema adds a cinematic flair to the Ramadan season with its Ramadan Film Nights. (SPA)
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Updated 21 March 2024
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Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings

Explore Jeddah’s vibrant Ramadan season offerings
  • From markets and workshops to fashion and film, the historic Red Sea city is celebrating the holy month in style
  • Food enthusiasts in Jeddah can savor a variety of national dishes from the 13 regions of the Kingdom at the live cooking area

JEDDAH: Every year during Ramadan, Jeddah’s historic district of Al-Balad becomes a hub of activity, attracting both locals and tourists with its rich heritage, cultural programs, and entertainment offerings.

To celebrate the holy month in style, the Jeddah Historic Program, organized by the Ministry of Culture, has launched an array of events and experiences ranging from traditional markets to interactive workshops, live cooking demonstrations and film screenings.

The programs promise a diverse range of cultural and artistic experiences. Visitors can immerse themselves in the heritage atmosphere of the old district by participating in programs such as the “Observatory” experience, where they can observe the moon using telescopes.

Sarah Saidi, a mother visiting Al-Balad with her children, said: “The interactive workshops and storytelling sessions at the Ramadan programs kept my kids engaged and entertained. It was a fun and educational experience for the whole family.”

Food enthusiasts in Jeddah can savor a variety of national dishes from the 13 regions of the Kingdom at the live cooking area, where interactive cooking sessions bring the flavors of Saudi Arabia to life.

The “Flavors of Our Regions” live cooking program showcases the rich tapestry of Saudi cuisine, offering a culinary journey through the Kingdom’s favorite dishes. Additionally, “Sufra Al-Thuraya” will host guests throughout the month for iftar and suhoor meals.

During Ramadan, Saudis relish goat and lamb liver, in particular. Additionally, balila, a traditional snack made from hummus, enjoys widespread popularity in the Hijazi region and across Saudi Arabia.

This unique scene unfolds annually in Al-Balad, where street vendors, adorned in traditional attire, occupy designated slots for their carts. These carts are adorned with lights and traditional lanterns, drawing in customers eager to indulge in kebdah, balila, and fries.

Ahmed Ashoor, a visitor from Riyadh, said: “Jeddah’s historic district during Ramadan is truly captivating. The cultural programs and entertainment options create an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.”

He added: “As someone originally from Jeddah but now living and working in Riyadh, I can’t pass up the opportunity to visit Al-Balad during Ramadan. It’s a unique atmosphere, especially with the kebdah (liver) and balilah stalls.”

For those looking to delve deeper into the customs and traditions of Ramadan, the “Noor Exhibition” provides insights into Ramadan practices worldwide. Interactive workshops under the “Minarat Fan” initiative engage visitors in educational and creative activities, fostering a deeper connection to the heritage of the region.

The “Dakkakeen Ramadan” bazaar offers a treasure trove of traditional products for shoppers, while also providing a host of activities for children, including storytelling sessions, games, art workshops, and more. The bazaar pulsates with energy as visitors explore the array of offerings, from handicrafts to delectable treats.

Fatima Al-Nabhan, a resident of Jeddah, said: “The Ramadan season in Jeddah is a unique blend of tradition and modernity. I love exploring the bazaars and trying out different dishes from around the Kingdom.”

Finding car parking when planning to visit Al-Balad has consistently posed a challenge, often forcing visitors to resort to taxis or park their vehicles in distant areas, necessitating a lengthy walk due to the influx of crowds during the holy month.

However, designated parking spaces are available throughout the historic district this year, while shuttle golf carts will ferry visitors to various landmarks, cultural activities, and entertainment sites. These efforts underscore the program’s commitment to preserving the cultural and historical heritage of the region, while ensuring a seamless experience for visitors.

During Ramadan, Jeddah comes alive with vibrant bazaars offering a plethora of shopping experiences. Local and Gulf fashion designers showcase their Ramadan collections, featuring everything from traditional attire to accessories, and shoes, with shopping delights across the city throughout the month.

Explore bazaars such as Khatwa Bazaar at Al-Salaam Mall from March 20-30; Jebna Al-Eid at Stars Avenue from March 10 to 30; Jasmine Box at Homegrown Villa from March 7 to April 7; Fanos at Malekat Palace from March 20 to 23; and AI-Danah Exhibition at Jeddah Hilton from March 27 to 29.

At Hayy Jameel in Jeddah, Ramadan Nights offers a program of diverse activities, including workshops, film screenings, eateries, and shopping opportunities. With more than 30 participants and collaborators across 14 nights, the program caters to all ages and backgrounds, celebrating community, culture, and well-being.

The Hayy Markets feature an array of local artisanal crafts, books, organic produce, and fashion items, creating a dynamic shopping experience for visitors.

Hayy Cinema adds a cinematic flair to the Ramadan season with its Ramadan Film Nights, showcasing independent films and documentaries from the Arab region. From the Palestinian film “The Teacher” to the Saudi film “Within Sand,” the screenings offer a glimpse into diverse storytelling traditions and cinematic expressions.

Additionally, the Electronic Games Championship promises thrills and excitement for gaming enthusiasts, continuing the success of last season’s event in Jeddah.


Hajj medics successfully performed 24 open-heart surgeries on ailing pilgrims

Hajj medics successfully performed 24 open-heart surgeries on ailing pilgrims
Updated 18 June 2024
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Hajj medics successfully performed 24 open-heart surgeries on ailing pilgrims

Hajj medics successfully performed 24 open-heart surgeries on ailing pilgrims
  • 249 cardiac catheterizations and 1,006 dialysis operations also performed
  • Over 142K pilgrims benefited from various health services, says health ministry

RIYADH: Specialist medical teams deployed in Makkah for the Hajj season had successfully performed 24 open-heart surgeries on pilgrims, the Ministry of Health said on Monday.

In a statement published by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the ministry said 249 pilgrims had also undergone cardiac catheterizations, and 1,006 had dialysis operations, in addition to the admission of 4,082 pilgrims in need to hospitals and medical centers to receive the necessary health care.

The patients were more than 142,000 pilgrims who have benefited from the various health services provided by health care centers in Makkah city and Mina since June 15, the first day of the annual pilgrimage.

Health services provided to the pilgrims varied between medical and specialized clinics, pharmacies, dialysis centers, intensive care rooms, and isolation units, said the MOH.

Three patients were evacuated by air ambulance and transferred to the King Ambdulaziz Medical Center in Jeddah. (SPA)

Air evacuations to Jeddah

In a separate report, SPA said a medical team from Ajyad Emergency Hospital, a member of the Makkah Al-Mukarramah Health Cluster, was able to save the life of a 53-year-old Egyptian pilgrim.

Officials said the patient arrived at the hospital complaining of chest pain. After determining that a heart clot was threatening the life and safety of the pilgrim, the case was dealt with urgently and quickly. The patient was then transferred to King Abdullah Medical City in Makkah to receive the required specialized medical service and care.

Two critical cases involving a 62-year-old Egyptian pilgrim and a 48-year-old Tunisian had to be evacuated by helicopter from hospitals in the holy sites to the King Abdullah Medical Complex in Jeddah, SPA said in another report.

Dr. Mahdi Othman, head of the KAMC’s Intensive Care Department, the Egyptian patient was received by air evacuation from Jabal al-Rahma Hospital, while the Tunisian patient was received by air evacuation from the Mina Emergency Hospital.

“Both cases contracted severe pneumonia while performing the Hajj rituals for this year 1445 AH, which led to respiratory failure, and then they needed an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation life support machine, and they were admitted to the intensive care unit under intensive medical observation and close follow-up,” the MOH said.


Saudi HR ministry reviews Hajj initiatives on field visit, praises workers

Saudi HR ministry reviews Hajj initiatives on field visit, praises workers
Updated 18 June 2024
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Saudi HR ministry reviews Hajj initiatives on field visit, praises workers

Saudi HR ministry reviews Hajj initiatives on field visit, praises workers

RIYADH: The Saudi minister responsible for labor issues has praised the ministry’s workers for their efforts during this year’s Hajj, the Saudi Press Reported.

Ahmed Al-Rajhi, minister for human resources and social development, made the remarks on a visit to the ministry’s Hajj headquarters, where he reviewed the activities of the regulatory teams and inspected relevant workflows.

The teams are tasked with ensuring that establishments involved in Hajj operations comply with labor laws and other regulations.

More than 1.83 million Muslims performed the Hajj this year, slightly fewer than last year’s 1.84 million. They included more than 1.6 million pilgrims from 22 countries, and about 222,000 Saudi citizens and expatriate residents.

HR ministry initiatives have sought to aid both pilgrims and workers taking part in the annual event.

The ministry has introduced the “Ajeer Al-Hajj” service, which facilitates seasonal work, and the “Seasonal Visas” service.

An anti-begging initiative, available in multiple languages, and the supervision of over 22 childcare centers in Makkah and the holy sites through the “Childcare Centers” are also part of the ministry’s efforts this year.

Al-Rajhi also reviewed key initiatives, services, and volunteer efforts deployed in Makkah’s Grand Mosque and the holy sites.


The sacred sites in Makkah and Madinah that Hajj pilgrims have a chance to experience

The sacred sites in Makkah and Madinah that Hajj pilgrims have a chance to experience
Updated 18 June 2024
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The sacred sites in Makkah and Madinah that Hajj pilgrims have a chance to experience

The sacred sites in Makkah and Madinah that Hajj pilgrims have a chance to experience
  • The act of welcoming Muslim pilgrims throughout the ages has resulted in a distinct cultural identity and legacy
  • Visitors are urged to gain a deeper insight into the spiritual and historical significance of the two holy cities

JEDDAH: During the pilgrimages of Hajj and Umrah, devout Muslims seek out sites that deepen their understanding of Islam and its rich heritage.

The historical sites and archaeological museums in Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Madinah Al-Munawara offer a profound educational experience to millions of visitors from around the world who flock to the two holy cities each year.

After completing their religious rites, such as Umrah and Tawaf, and paying their respects at the Haram, pilgrims yearn to immerse themselves in the history of Makkah and Madinah.

With histories going back thousands of years, these cities are embodiments of the origins of Islamic culture, having welcomed pilgrims down the ages and developed a distinct cultural identity in the process of doing so.

The Hira Cultural District in Makkah is among the must-visit landmarks for pilgrims. (SPA)

To grasp the historical importance of these cities and gain a deeper insight into their religious significance, visitors are urged to venture beyond the well-known landmarks like Jannat Ul Mua’lla, the Cave of Hira in Jabal Al-Nour, Mount Arafat and Masjid-e-Ayesha.

Nestled beside the renowned Jabal Al-Nour, the Hira Cultural District offers a distinctive fusion of cultural, historical, and engaging encounters. Encompassing 67,000 square meters, this district offers pilgrims an immersive voyage through time, enabling them to forge a connection with the vibrant history of Makkah.

Near the Haram lies the historic site of Hudaibiyah, where Prophet Muhammad signed the crucial treaty of Hudaibiyah. A mosque now stands at the site, alongside a weathered structure of unknown origin.

A mosque now stands in the historic site of Hudaibiyah, where Prophet Muhammad signed the crucial treaty of Hudaibiyah. (Supplied)

In 809, during a time of extreme water scarcity in Makkah, Queen Zubaida, the wife of Abbasid Caliph Harun Rashid, undertook a pilgrimage to the holy city. Witnessing the challenging conditions faced by pilgrims, she took immediate action by ordering the construction of the Zubaida Canal.

This canal, built more than a thousand years ago, has continued to supply water to pilgrims visiting Makkah ever since. 

Lastly, Mount Abu Qubais, where a miraculous event involving the moon occurred, serves as a reminder of divine intervention in Makkah’s scenery.

One of the must-visit attractions in Makkah is the Assalaamu Aleyka Ayyuhan Nabiyyu Museum, which educates visitors about the life of Prophet Muhammad through innovative displays and artifacts.

By providing glimpses into the type of dwelling he may have inhabited and showcasing clothing from his era, the museum offers a unique insight into his life, allowing guests to delve into the lives of his ancestors, wives, children, and descendants.

The Assalaamu Aleyka Ayyuhan Nabiyyu Museum in Makkah. (Supplied)

The collaborative effort of more than 150 scholars ensures the museum’s authenticity in religious, and archaeological details, creating a comprehensive and accurate portrayal of Prophet Muhammad’s life and legacy.

“I have been guiding pilgrims on deeply spiritual journeys for nearly 15 years, introducing them to the holy city’s lesser-known treasures,” Ahmed Khan, a private tour guide, told Arab News.

“Pilgrims are always thrilled and grateful when we visit sites where the legacy of Prophet Muhammad and the rich heritage of Islam resonate with each step.”

Another private tour guide, Aman Javaid, emphasized the importance of providing pilgrims with accurate information about the sites they visit.

“It’s crucial for me to ensure that I share all the correct details about these places,” he told Arab News. “Many pilgrims often mention the Cave of Hira, but I make it a point to take them to the Cave of Thawr as well.

The Thawr Cave, located in the Jabal Thawr mopuntain, is the place where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companion Abu Bakr hid from the Quraysh during the migration to Madinah. (Supplied)

“This revered site is where the Prophet Muhammad and his companion Abu Bakr sought refuge during their migration to Madinah. Sharing the story of how they escaped their enemies and found solace there always piques the pilgrims’ interest. I make sure I have comprehensive knowledge about these sacred sites.”

The Cave of Thawr underscores the importance of seeking refuge and divine guidance during adversity, marking a pivotal moment in Islamic history. Pilgrims honor the legacy of the prophet and Abu Bakr by offering prayers and paying their respects in this sacred place.

Located at the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad, the Makkah Al-Mukarramah Library serves as a hub for knowledge and research. With a collection of more than 350,000 rare books and manuscripts, this esteemed institution stands as a testament to Makkah’s cultural and intellectual heritage.

Within the King Abdulaziz Complex lies the renowned Kiswa Factory, where artisans annually produce the exquisite black silk coverings for the Holy Kaaba. Adorned with intricate silver and gold embroidery and Quranic inscriptions, these coverings are a symbol of reverence and tradition.

Inside the King Abdul Aziz Complex, workers fabricate the kiswa, the cover of the Holy Kaaba. (AN photo/File)

The factory, now known as the King Abdulaziz Complex for Kiswa, showcases the artistry of silk knitting and embroidery, preserving a centuries-old craft.

Madinah, as the second holiest city in Islam, holds immense importance for Muslims undertaking Umrah and Hajj pilgrimages. Pilgrims visit to pay their respects at renowned mosques and historical sites steeped in cultural and religious significance.

The city is home to historic mosques dating back to the time of Prophet Muhammad, offering a spiritually enriching experience.

Masjid Al-Qiblatain stands out with its traditional design and renowned twin mihrabs, where it is believed Prophet Muhammad received a divine command to change the qibla direction. Rebuilt during King Fahd’s reign, this mosque remains a beautiful and significant place for prayers in Madinah.

Masjid Al-Qiblatain, meaning “two directions,” was built two years after Prophet Mohammed arrived in Madinah, a city known for its rich Islamic history, and a customary stop for millions of Umrah and Hajj pilgrims every year. (SPA)

Another notable site is Masjid Abu Bakr, honoring the first caliph and close companion of the prophet, reflecting the deep bond between Abu Bakr and Prophet Muhammad through its modest yet serene setting and inviting visitors to draw inspiration from Abu Bakr’s unwavering faith.

Among the historic mosques in Madinah, Masjid Al-Ahzab holds a significant place in Islamic culture, marking the site of a pivotal battle where the prophet’s du’a led to victory.

Meanwhile, Masjid Al-Ghamamah, though small in size, remains an important site for seeking blessings during ziyarat in Madinah. Visitors are encouraged to respect the mosque’s guidelines, including observing prayer times and maintaining modesty, to fully appreciate the spiritual significance of these revered locations.

Another fascinating site relates to the Battle of the Trench, also known as the Khandak Battle — a significant military confrontation in 624 between the Muslims of Madinah and the Makkan army, which was attempting to suppress the spread of Islam.

The Khandak Mosque stands in the place where the Khandak Battle took place in 624 between the Muslims of Madinah and the Makkan army, which was attempting to suppress the spread of Islam. (Supplied)

Fought near the Badr wells, it proved to be a decisive victory for the Muslims, highlighting their strength and Prophet Muhammad’s leadership.

Likewise, the Garden of Hazrat Salman Farsi in Madinah is a historic site where Prophet Muhammad planted 300 date palms to free Salman Farsi from slavery. Located near Masjid Quba, the garden remains lush with date palm trees and features a date shop for visitors to enjoy tea amid the greenery.

Meanwhile, the city’s oldest museum, Al-Madinah Museum, highlights Islamic history and the life of Prophet Muhammad through rare artifacts and models of city landmarks.

A general view of the Hira Cultural District in Makkah. (SPA)

Similarly, As Safiyyah Museum and Park, located near the Prophet’s Mosque, offers a unique cultural experience with a focus on educational enrichment and enjoyment.

The centerpiece is the Story of Creation Museum, which utilizes advanced technology to visually depict the creation narrative.

Madinah's Safiyyah Museum and Park, located near the Prophet’s Mosque. (Supplied)

Finally, the Hejaz Railway Museum is housed in the historic railway station and provides insights into the significance of the Hejaz Railway, which was built to facilitate pilgrimages to the holy cities. The museum displays vintage locomotives, historical photographs, and documents detailing the railway’s history.

These sites not only deepen pilgrims’ understanding of Islamic history but also foster a greater appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Through these visits, pilgrims connect with the legacy of their faith, making their pilgrimage a truly holistic journey.
 

 


SDAIA develops AI-powered Smart Makkah Operations Center to serve Hajj pilgrims

SDAIA develops AI-powered Smart Makkah Operations Center to serve Hajj pilgrims
Updated 17 June 2024
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SDAIA develops AI-powered Smart Makkah Operations Center to serve Hajj pilgrims

SDAIA develops AI-powered Smart Makkah Operations Center to serve Hajj pilgrims
  • The operations center uses the latest technologies based on AI techniques to do so

MAKKAH: The Saudi Data and AI Authority (SDAIA) has developed the Smart Makkah Operations Center (Smart Moc) to ensure the safety and comfort of Hajj pilgrims and facilitating their movement and the services provided to them, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The operations center uses the latest technologies based on AI techniques to do so, SPA added.

A team of experts in a variety of fields, including programming, data, and AI, are employed at Smart Moc on a round-the-clock basis to monitor the operational processes of the platforms and provide precise analyses of their progress.

This is in accordance with SDAIA's commitment to utilizing the most advanced technologies and AI to assist pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque.

Among the center's major achievements is the "Basier" platform, the first real-time computer vision system in Saudi Arabia and one of the largest crowd management systems in the Middle East, used to manage crowds in the Grand Mosque, regulate their movements, and facilitate the flow of vehicles.


Deputy governor of Makkah region hands over Kaaba Kiswa to gatekeeper

The Kaaba’s Kiswa was handed over to the gatekeeper of the holy site on Monday. (SPA)
The Kaaba’s Kiswa was handed over to the gatekeeper of the holy site on Monday. (SPA)
Updated 17 June 2024
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Deputy governor of Makkah region hands over Kaaba Kiswa to gatekeeper

The Kaaba’s Kiswa was handed over to the gatekeeper of the holy site on Monday. (SPA)
  • The hand-over was signed off by Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah and the deputy chief gatekeeper Abdul Malik bin Taha Al-Shaibi

RIYADH: The deputy governor of the Makkah Region Prince Saud bin Mishal bin Abdulaziz handed over the Kaaba’s Kiswa to the gatekeeper of the holy site on Monday, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The hand-over was signed off by Minister of Hajj and Umrah Tawfiq Al-Rabiah and the deputy chief gatekeeper Abdul Malik bin Taha Al-Shaibi.

The Kaaba will be adorned with its new Kiswa on Muharram 1, the stat of the new Islamic year.