The loveliest places in the world are near a body of water. Civilizations are built and modern cities are established as people begin to settle and flourish along riverbanks and sea coasts. Also, seaside and coastal areas boast of picturesque beaches and amazing sunsets. This is true in Saudi Arabia. The city of Jeddah shares a coast with the Red Sea, and the most romantic part of the city is the waterfront area called Jeddah Corniche or simply Corniche.
Located on the northern side of the city, Jeddah’s waterfront area is the busiest, largest and most popular in Saudi Arabia. It is teeming with hotels and resorts that maximize the beauty of the Red Sea. Apart from the natural beauty of the place, there are three reasons why the Corniche is a special place. First is the absence of mutawa or the religious police.
Although mutawa in Jeddah is more lenient than in Riyadh and other Saudi cities, they still scare tourists and keep locals in check. Dressed in traditional brown robes, they walk around with sticks looking for offenders. They are on the constant lookout for people acting irresponsibly and violating the law. Throughout the country, drinking alcoholic beverages and partying is prohibited except in a special area in Corniche where the mutawa do not go. This area is known as Jeddah’s party capital and mostly occupied by rich, liberal Jeddah residents who defy strict social control as observed all over the country.
Second, Corniche is a special place for Hajj pilgrims on their way to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Millions of pilgrims from neighboring Arab countries make their way to Mecca through the port and waterfront area of Jeddah. Thanks to Mecca and Medina, Jeddah remains to be one of the most frequently visited cities in the world. The two holy cities are a few hours inland from the center of the city.
Third, Jeddah has a long seashore and the Corniche takes up a stretch of sightseeing spots and interesting landmarks in the city. Below are some of the attractions that you can see on the 100-km long waterfront.
Come and see King Fahd’s Fountain, the highest water fountain in the world reaching to a peak height of over a thousand feet. Also known as Jeddah Fountain or King Fahd Water Spring, this Guinness Book of World Records title holder never ceases to attract sightseers since it may be seen from anywhere in the city. Around the fountain are 500 spotlights and an open art gallery.
Strolling along the three-part Corniche you also get to see a number of recreational sites, sculptures, facades, monuments, and obelisks. It is one romantic and relaxing stroll along the beautiful Red Sea for which Jeddah is largely known for.
Simply put, Jeddah Corniche is a must-see. It doesn’t matter whether you are in Saudi Arabia for business, pleasure or pilgrimage, you have got to see the waterfront, engage in a lazy stroll, dine, relax, meet people, and just enjoy the cool breeze from the Red Sea.