Jeddah is the largest city in western Saudi Arabia and is located on the Red Sea coast in the Hijaz Tihamah area. It is the biggest city in Makkah Province, the largest Red Sea port, and the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia after Riyadh. Jeddah is a major economic centre in Saudi Arabia, with a population of 3.4 million people.
Jeddah is the main entry point to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, which all able-bodied Muslims must visit at least once in their lives. It is also a gateway to Medina, Islam’s second holiest site.
Economically, Jeddah is concentrating on increasing capital investment in Saudi Arabia’s and the Middle East’s scientific and engineering leadership. In the 2009 Innovation Cities Index, Jeddah was placed fourth in the Africa – Mid-East area in terms of innovation.
Jeddah is a major resort city in Saudi Arabia and has been designated a Gamma global city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC). Because of the city’s closeness to the Red Sea, fishing and seafood predominate the gastronomic culture, in contrast to other regions of the nation. The majority of Saudis have characterized the city as “different” in an attempt to boost tourism in the city, which was previously viewed as the “most open” city in Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah has long been recognized for its famed money changers. The late Sheikh Salem Bin Mahfouz, the biggest of these money changers at the time, later formed Saudi Arabia’s first bank, the National Commercial Bank (NCB).