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“Yeah, it's old”
Review of Balad

Ranked #2 of 61 things to do in Jeddah
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Reminiscent of the Arabian nights fairytales, this vibrant marketplace with multi-storied mud brick and stone buildings sells everything from textiles and sparkling silver and gold ornaments to spices and honey.
Reviewed 24 May 2014

Saudi is not much focused on tourists. It's willingness to preserve its heritage seems low. Balad may stand out in the attempt to make Jeddah as non-descriptive as possible. This is a genuine nice place to be. Nice souk with lots of franchises offering various goods, ranging from (traditional) clothes, Korans, to jewelry. I have not found any decent restaurant as their seems no food culture like in Italy or France. The streets are crowded with various nationals and the street vendors are adding flavor to it. If Jeddah would have had a warm heart, it would be pulsing in Balad. For Saudi standards I would have given it 5 stars but compared to other locations in the world it is around average. That is a pity as the Saudi's on average are nice friendly people. I agree in general with the observations of my fellow travelers.
It is interesting to follow prayer time in the evening at the big square near the Corniche Commercial Center. Irrespective of your beliefs one has to admire their devotion to take some time off for worship.

2  Thank cuBarney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"old city"
in 35 reviews
"historical area"
in 14 reviews
"market area"
in 6 reviews
"world heritage site"
in 9 reviews
"dry fruits"
in 6 reviews
"amazing architecture"
in 5 reviews
"traditional food"
in 11 reviews
"down town"
in 9 reviews
"street vendors"
in 7 reviews
"big market"
in 7 reviews
"gold shops"
in 7 reviews
"prayer times"
in 9 reviews
"shopping centre"
in 6 reviews
"saudi arabia"
in 24 reviews
"visit this place"
in 7 reviews
"jeddah city"
in 11 reviews
"during weekends"
in 5 reviews

368 - 372 of 794 reviews

Reviewed 18 May 2014

Al-Balad is a magnificent piece of history - never before I had the opportunity to see small town built from the sea corals. This place is a must see in Jeddah, especially because it's one of the rare preserved historical sites in this area where you can experience spirit of the old ages. Several streets are still used as a souq (merchant) area, where you can buy different goods: from spices, to cloth, to souvenirs for dirty cheap prices. Here, surrounded bu locals and ex-pats, people mostly dressed in traditional Arabic outfit, buildings that are dating back to the 7th century, and shops with vivid colors and exotic aromas, one could easily place him/herself back into the Islamic Golden Age and enjoy this unique time travel. One thing I especially like about Al-Balad - merchants are not pushy, so you can peacefully pace yourself and focus on marvelous details around you (whoever traveled to Egypt or Morocco knows what I'm talking about).

Despite its beauty and importance, authorities don't seem to be too concerned about the well being of Al-Balad - it is dirty, mostly left to the decay, with buildings slowly falling apart all over the area. Fortunately, restoration works are ongoing, but only several buildings seem to be under construction at the moment. I truly hope authorities will recognize importance of this historical site before it's too late and intensify works on its conservation.

2  Thank Vladimir S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2014

i like this place so much, it is the real old jeddah
you can find any thing to purchase cheap.
only the crowding it was so much crowed.

Thank MohamedOsamaZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2014

Our friends took us to the Balad the other night and it really felt like old Saudi Arabia. As we walked the streets it felt as we stepped back in time and I enjoyed that compared to all of the big shopping malls that the area offers. We went to the gold district that was something to see and experience, shop after shop of gold jewelry. I would like to go back and see the other areas as I understand that they are just as interesting. Wear some good walking shoes as the side walks are a bit old and there is a lot of walking to do. A very cool place to see.

3  Thank expattravler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 April 2014

You have not been to Jeddah if you have not visited Balad. This is Jeddah's downtown or city center. The terminal of Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) is located just opposite the Main Post Office Building. Loads of tour buses carrying pilgrims in big groups can be seen anywhere and any time of the day. There are enough parking spaces outside the Corniche Commercial Center and accross the street. People come to Balad for shopping, dining, etc. Expatriates send their remittances to their home countries through the different banks and remittance centers operating in Balad. The modern buildings and shopping malls co-exist with old souks selling gold jewelries, spices and other stuff. Old traditional wooden houses with balconies are preserved in the historic area. Balad is congested especially during weekends but it is a good opportunity to see by chance familiar faces you have not seen for ages.

3  Thank pinoytraveller2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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