Jeddah (also spelled Jiddah, Jidda, or Jedda; Arabic: جدّة Jidda) is a Saudi Arabian city located on the coast of the Red Sea and is the major urban center of western Saudi Arabia. It is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest sea port on the Red Sea, and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia after the capital city, Riyadh. The population of the city currently stands at over 3.4 million. It is considered the second commercial capital of Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah is the principal gateway to Mecca, Islam's holiest city, which able-bodied Muslims are required to visit at least once in their lifetime.
Residents of Jeddah are called Jeddawis. Jeddah has 24 sister cities, which are selected based on economic, cultural and political criteria.
**Etymology and spelling
There are at least two explanations for the etymology of the name Jeddah. According to Jeddah Ibn Helwaan Al-Qudaa'iy the chief of Quda'a clan. The more common account has it that the name is derived from Jaddah, the Arabic word for "grandmother". According to eastern folk belief, the tomb of Eve (21°29′31″N 39°11′24″E / 21.49194°N 39.19°E / 21.49194; 39.19), considered the grandmother of humanity, is located in Jeddah. The Tomb was sealed with concrete by the religious authorities in 1975 as a result of some Muslims praying at the site.
Ibn Battuta, the Berber traveller, visited Jeddah during his world trip. He wrote the name of the city into his diary as Juddah.
The British Foreign Office, used to use the older spelling of Jedda, contrary to other English-speaking usage—including other branches of the British government, but in 2007 changed to the spelling Jeddah.
T. E. Lawrence felt that any transcription of Arabic names into English was arbitrary. In his book "Revolt in the Desert" Jeddah is spelled three different ways on the first page alone.
On official Saudi maps and documents, the city name is transcribed "Jeddah", which is now the prevailing usage.
Most of Saudi Arabia is desert. The central region consists of an eroded plateau, mostly arid and hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The western region is mountainous, except for the coastal plain bordering the Red Sea such as the Jeddah area.
Jeddah borders the Red Sea from the west and the Al-Sarawat Mountains from the east. It has no rivers or valleys but it includes Sharm Ob'hur which connect the Red Sea to the other end of the city. Sharm of Salman (Also called Gulf of Salman) borders the city from north.
Jeddah features an arid climate under Koppen's climate classification. Unlike other Saudi Arabian cities, Jeddah retains its warm temperature in winter, which can range from +15 °C (59 °F) at midnight to +25 °C (77 °F) in the afternoon. Summer temperatures are considered very hot and break the +40 °C (104 °F) mark in the afternoon dropping to +30 °C (86 °F) in the evening. Rainfall in Jeddah is generally sparse, and usually occurs in small amounts in December. There have also been several notable incidents of hail. Heavy thunderstorms are not uncommon in winter. (The thunderstorm of December 2008 being the largest in recent memory, with rain reaching around 3 inches.) The lowest temperature ever recorded in Jeddah was 3°C (37.4°F) in the winter of 1995.
Some unusual events often happen during the year, such as dust storms in summer, coming from the Arabian Peninsula's deserts or from North
**Pollution and environment
Air pollution remains to some degree an issue for Jeddah, particularly on the hot summer days. The city has experienced a number of bush fires, landfill fires and even pollution caused by the two industrial zones in the north and the south of Jeddah.
The water treatment factory and the seaport contribute to water pollution. However, the coast of the city can be considered safe, and of relatively clean quality.
Saudi Arabian Airlines headquartersJeddah is the second commercial capital of Saudi Arabia. In addition, the city's geographical location places it at the heart of the region covered by the Middle East and North Africa, with all their capitals within two hours flying distance, defining Jeddah as the second commercial center of the Middle East after Riyadh.
Also, Jeddah industrial district is the four largest industrial city in Saudi Arabia after Riyadh, Jubail and Yanbu.
Popular Saudi and foreign opinion regards Jeddah as the most liberal and cosmopolitan of Saudi cities due to its historic role as port and gateway to the holy city of Mecca. For over one thousand years, Jeddah has received millions of pilgrims of different ethnicities and backgrounds, from Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East, many of whom remained and became residents of the city. As a result, Jeddah is much more ethnically diverse than most Saudi cities and its culture more eclectic in nature (in contrast with the more geographically isolated, and religiously strict capital Riyadh). Added to the traditional diversity, the oil-boom of the past 50 years has brought hundreds of thousands of working immigrants and foreign workers from non-Muslim countries, the majority originating from continents such as North America (United States of America), Europe (Western Europe), and Asia (South and South-East Asia); there are also many Christian Arabs from the Middle East, coming from Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and the West Bank and Gaza