views updated Jun 08 2018


Saudi Arabian port on the Red Sea.

Jidda is the second largest city of Saudi Arabia, with a population of some two million. It is also the largest city of the Hijaz, located in the country's western region, along the Red Sea. Its prosperity dates from its designation by the early Islamic state as the port of nearby Mecca. Jidda was occupied by the first Saudi state at the beginning of the nineteenth century, then Muhammad Ali of Egypt restored it to nominal Ottoman authority in 1811. It was the last city in the short-lived Hashimite kingdom of Hijaz to resist the Al Saʿud, finally surrendering after a long siege in 1925. Jidda is important as the commercial and banking center of the country, the site of the Islamic Port of Jidda (Saudi Arabia's largest port) and King Abd al-Aziz Airport, through which most of the pilgrims pass during the annual hajj (pilgrimage). The centuries-old immigration of Muslims from around the world makes Jidda one of the most cosmopolitan of Saudi Arabia's cities.


Farsy, Fouad al-. Modernity and Tradition: The Saudi Equation. London: Kegan Paul International, 1991.

j. e. peterson