Friday, September 19, 2014

Exploring Jeddah - II

In my previous post, I began writing on this beautiful western city on the coast of the Red Sea. In this instalment, I will give you glimpses of some of its beauty.

As I iterated in my first post, Jeddah has cityscapes on a large scale. Not for this city the narrow crowded bylanes of Mumbai; here, every street is built on a grand scale. Most streets (barring streets in old Jeddah and inside residential areas) are at least 8-10 lanes in width, with broad footpaths (side-walks to the American). There are bridges and under-passes, service roads on the side, and so on, in addition to the main thoroughfare. During most visits, in spite of using Google Maps and Navigation, I end up getting on to the wrong ramp, or driving past a turn or missing a U-turn and having to drive an extra 5-10 kms to get back to where I wished to go. This, in itself, can be seen as an unwarranted but equally enjoyable exploration of a great city. 

I have borrowed some of the following material from Wikipedia (see this.)

Jeddah is the second largest city in Saudi Arabia and the fourth largest in the entire Middle East. It is enviably located, as all ME cities are less than 2 hours away by flight. Being a commercial hub, Jeddah has drawn in people from many other countries of the world in the last nearly 100 years of its modern existence, but the history of Jeddah goes back to nearly the Stone Age. Subsequently, it has been colonised by several kings and dynasties, including the Yemeni Kings, Ottoman Empire, etc. 

Jeddah is also one of the most important cities to display street furniture unlike anything else in the world. It can be called as the world's biggest open air art gallery. Here are some examples: (Most photos are my own, except those which are not, which are from various contributors cited by Wikimedia Commons.)

From Wikimedia Commons. This is the famous Cycle Chowk of Jeddah
These are just some examples. Most roundabouts in Jeddah are adorned with similar, or even more bizarre sculptures, some over 80-90 years old and done by internationally famous sculptos including but not limited to Richard Moore.

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