Jeddah, a city that is continuously evolving has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Jeddah was initially a fishing village and now it has become a hustling bustling metropolis in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Jeddah has held onto its traditional and cultural value, as it has gone through a transition from a fishing village to a fort and finally a large metropolis, while also keeping up with the rest of the world. This development has not caused Jeddah to move away from their history and roots. Souks, which are the traditional Arab and Middle Eastern marketplaces, keep the tradition and culture of the city alive while adding to the charm and character of the city. These souqs can be found all around Jeddah’s busy shopping districts.
As the sun sets and the heat breaks down a bit, the open-air market springs into action bringing with it a lot of activity. One such market which has a great historical importance as well is in Bab Makkah, which is also known as Makkah Gate. The limestone coral boundary wall which was once part of the Bab Makkah may no longer exist; however, the magnificent and breathtaking gate still stands strong with only a hint of repair and reconstruction as many tourists are attracted to this great gate. The magnificent gate is located next to a street which by nightfall turns into a huge open-air the market for the entirety of the 230 meters that it spans across. After sunset, simple yet beautiful stalls and carts can be seen up alongside the regular shops as numerous people come for their evening shopping to the market.
Those shop owners who have idle time spend it discussing sports as the busier vendors enter a bargaining duel with the customers. The market is mostly populated by vendors selling produce and meat. The famous street market of Bab Makkah gives way to other famous Souks like Souk Al Alawi and Souk Al Badu. Authentic Saudi cuisine is served in the numerous small restaurants that line the adjacent streets and the traditional food consists of Kibdah, Makadim, Raas Mandi, Bukhari rice and Qulub. These traditional flavors echo the culture of ancient Arabia when simplicity was preferred by the Bedouins.
During the month of Ramadan, the shops remain open from sundown to early morning and the Souk is overflowing with thousands and thousands of shoppers, worshippers going for Taraweeh and street vendors and beggars who come out in full force. The atmosphere created by the market at Bab Makkah never stops to amuse the people.
Occasionally a car can be seen trying to desperately try to avoid meeting the carts All in all the hardworking and honest vendors of the open-air market cause the ambiance and atmosphere that is created at night. The closeness and humbleness of the Vendors and buyers are a stark contrast to the loudness and chaotic bustle of the street.