Jeddah Blog

Discover the best of Jeddah!

Summer Fun with The Lighthouse Project


A fun and productive Summer Club for kids starting 8th June, 2013. Not only varied activities, but very reasonably priced too. Activities include swimming, taekwondo and cooking for children aged 5-11. For more details or to make a reservation, call the numbers below.

Hope Summer Club

Learn French Faster!


Why not use the summer to learn a new language? The Alliance Française will be holding intensive French classes in June.

4 Weeks Accelerated Classes Start June 8.

Register Now
The Alliance Française Centre is organizing an intensive session
for women and men in its head office located
at Commercial Jamjoum Center in Jeddah.
 
Session starts on Saturday, June 8 and ends Wednesday, July 3
Registration starts now
 
For more information please call 02 661 22 80 – 0592 10 52 50
e-mail : info@af-ksa.com

Dorothy Boyer Fine Art Open House


The Dorothy Boyer Fine Art Open House will be held in Jeddah on Wednesday, 29 May 2013 from 11:00 am and Thursday, 30 May 2013 from 12 noon. All are welcome.

For venue details please e mail: arabianaccents@yahoo.com. Featuring new works from the Islamic Spain Series. To view the entire DBFA Collection please visit the Dorothy Boyer Site.

 

Saudi Women Scaling New Heights


The first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest has proved that anything is possible once you set your heart on it. Raha Moharrak, 25, made history by reaching the summit of the world’s highest mountain. She is also the youngest Arab to make it to the top of Everest. Moharrak was part of a four-person expedition that also included the first Qatari man and the first Palestinian man attempting to reach the summit.

Originally from Jeddah, Ms Moharrak is a university graduate currently based in Dubai. Their cause was to to raise $1M for education projects in Nepal.

“I really don’t care about being the first,” she is quoted as saying. “So long as it inspires someone else to be second.”

Raha Moharrak, first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest.

Raha Moharrak, first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest.

In Saudi Arabia, where women have struggled to be heard and where the society imposes a lot of restrictions on women, Moharrak’s achievement is praiseworthy.

Khaled Almaeena, Editor-in-Chief of the Saudi Gazette, spoke exclusively to Jeddah Blog. “Raha is an example of many women in Saudi Arabia who are determined to carve a niche in society.” Almaeena went on to say, “She has set standards of endurance both physical and mental. It is an example to all women here that there is hope, despite man-made obstacles for Saudi women to reach the finishing line.” Reflecting on the contribution of Saudi women in society, the notable columnist and social activist said, “I truly believe that qualified, dedicated and determined Saudi women can not only be equal, but also outshine their male counterparts.”

Saudi women’s achievements have been gaining momentum since King Abdullah announced for the first time the names of the women he would appoint to the country’s consultative Shura Council, the closest thing the country has to a parliament.

“I really don’t care about being the first. So long as it inspires someone else to be second.”

The impact of their selection is yet to be seen but their representation is a milestone for them and their position in the Saudi society. Last year in London, female athletes also represented Saudi Arabia at the Olympics. And ever since the employment ban was lifted for women, they can be seen working in the malls as cashiers and sales persons. They have also replaced men at most cosmetic and lingerie stores throughout the city.

A woman's journey: Destination Mount Everest.

A woman’s journey: Destination Mount Everest.

Recently, Cabinet ministers issued a new law making national identification cards mandatory for all women. This move will grant them identities independent from their families.

Changes might seem slow to people living outside the Kingdom, but for the women in Saudi Arabia, positive changes are certainly on the way.

Zareen Muzaffar

Introducing The Plus Size Fashionista!


Hanane profile picI am very excited to introduce our newest columnist to you all. Hanane Fathallah is a full-time mom, a freelance graphic designer and a plus size fashion advocate. Hanane has been spreading awareness about the rising plus size fashion movement. Her aim is to start up a community in the Arab region for plus size fashionistas, plus size bloggers and just regular curvy women.

In her first column for Jeddah Blog, Hanane introduces the concept of plus size fashion and will apprise us of the latest developments in the market for gorgeous plus size women. She also discloses her handy tips for you to find the right size clothing to make you look your best!

womanwithin.com

Plus size fashion has become such a controversial issue. Some think it is a dishonest way of encouraging obesity, while others consider it as an opportunity for women of all sizes to glam up and feel beautiful. Regardless of what people think, it is not in any way, shameful to be a plus size woman who is simply proud of her curves. That being said, I never disregard the importance of health. Health, confidence and style go together to reflect a beautiful image of your femininity. One missing link in this equation would disrupt this equilibrium.

Plus size fashion is slowly becoming embedded in our Arab culture. Many brands have succeeded in standing tall in the market and providing a stylish solution to the once hopeless fashion cravings for curvier women. One of the brands that caught my eye, and I personally recommend, is City Chic – Australia’s leading high-end plus size fashion retailer.

City Chic at the Mall of Arabia

City Chic at the Mall of Arabia

So far, two branches are available in Jeddah to stoke your curiosity: one in the Mall of Arabia and another one in Aziz Mall. I was pleasantly surprised to find that their sizing was very accurate. Their sizes go from size 14 to 24 (Australia). Click here to see their size guide.

It could come in handy to check it out the size guide before going to the store, just to give yourself an idea about what size you might be. Of course, a size guide is also provided at the store and the saleswomen are quite helpful. Don’t hesitate to ask them for information as the sizes go from XS to XXL (equivalent to 14 to 24). For example, I am a size 18 so I go for M.

I particularly love their short knee-length dresses. They are long enough to cover decently, and short enough to flaunt your legs. No more of those tunic-length dresses that make you feel like you are wearing a top instead of a dress. And you always need to wear leggings underneath! City Chic has a variety of basics, tops, pants and also lingerie. For the lovely ladies who want to embrace their curves and take a leap into fashion, be sure to keep this store in mind. It will grant you a new perspective towards plus size fashion.

All woman should feel beautiful – no exceptions!

If you liked this article, leave a comment and let us know. If you have any questions for Hanane, don’t be shy. We would love to hear from you.

Summer Courses with Arabian Wings


Summer2

 

For more information on workshops and courses, click here.

Prayer Rooms


Ammar Al Attar Solo Exhibition
Opening: Tuesday, 14th May 2013
7.30 PM – 9.30 PM
Athr Gallery

Exhibition Dates: 14th May – 13th June, 2013

Ammar Al Attar surveys prayer rooms across Jeddah. Mandated in public buildings by national legislation, these informal worship areas are ubiquitous, providing the faithful a place for their five prayers a day regardless of their location.

The viewer experiences the artist’s perspective of these rooms as they are. Nothing is altered or staged, not even the lighting. The authenticity of the depictions allows the series to collectively describe an engagement with a space. This uncontrived honesty towards a subject is characteristic of Al Attar’s oeuvre.

The interiors are often humble, in line with Islamic tenets and in contrast to the region’s exterior architectural opulence. Serenity and stillness are prevalent in these makeshift rooms, elevating their spatial reality as industrial caravans or rooms in malls and business centers, to that of egalitarian spiritual sanctuaries. The prayer rooms mark the passage of time directly through the ever-present, often multiple occurrence of clocks, and more imperceptibly through the awareness of the movement of the sun.

Rituals that take place before entering the rooms are inferred – ablutions and perhaps even a call to prayer. One cannot help but wonder about the individuals in these very different spaces, performing the same rites. This sense of order and togetherness offers a reprieve from the bustling chaos of urban development. Even the demarcated rows in the carpeting are a comfort.

Al Attar chronicles his surroundings and contemporary landscape, going beyond mere documentation, and engaging with issues impacting the social fabric. These empty constructs where people meet are widely scattered evidence of faith, embodying the crossover between public and private space. The locales appear obscure, but upon closer inspection provide a visual history of the artist’s rapidly developing country by presenting a cultural continuity which is rarely visible amidst overwhelming change.

About The Artist
Ammar Al Attar (1981) was born in Dubai and lives and works in Ajman. He carries a Masters in International Business from Dubai’s University of Wollongong, and a Bachelors in Business Information Technology from Dubai’s Higher Colleges of Technology. He has taken part in photography courses, both locally and internationally.

Al Attar’s series of UAE Prayer Rooms was exhibited at the 2013 Sharjah Biennial, entitled “Re:Emerge: Towards A New Cultural Cartography.” He was selected for the 2013 Artist in Residence (A.i.R.) program, a partnership between Art Dubai, London’s Delfina Foundation, the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and Tashkeel. His work has been shown throughout the UAE, and in the Thessaloniki Museum in Greece. The artist was shortlisted for the International Emerging Artist Award.

Ammar Al Attar is represented by Cuadro Fine Art Gallery in Dubai.

The Wonders of Madain Saleh (part 1)


Saudi Arabia is home to many beautiful sites, but due to the lack of active tourism (or certainly not enough of it), these areas are generally unknown. Madain Saleh is one of those wondrous places which is a pre-Islamic archeological territory and Saudi Arabia’s first ever World Heritage Site.

Typically Madain Saleh is not easily accessible as permissions from relevant authorities need to be taken before embarking on the journey, but our regular contributor and intrepid traveler Naima Bashir was not to be discouraged. She made the journey with her family, and sent us a detailed report and pictures.

In this first blog post of the series, we’ll bring you her journey from Jeddah to Al Ula, and then on to Madain Saleh. In subsequent posts, Naima will tell us about her visit to the Hijaz Railway, the Castle of Moosa Bin Nusair, Old Al-Ula and the Hill Station.

We had Madain Saleh on our list for a very long time but could not gather the energy for a road trip with small children. But last month, we were determined to give it a try. It is 817 km north of Jeddah, around 8 to 9 hours drive from Jeddah. The journey is a lot easier if you go via Madina and stay the night there.

Entrance gate of the World Heritage Site (UNESCO).

Entrance gate of the World Heritage Site (UNESCO).

There is an alternative road through Yanbu, but it’s not very comfortable and safe. So we decided to choose the road through Madina, with our trusty GPS leading the way.

Did you know? Saudi Arabia has 4,000 archeological sites!

On our way we saw camel signs very frequently. This was to alert us to drive carefully, as these splendid animals are likely to walk into the middle of the road.

perfect view of the old and new Al Ula and the same time

View of Old Al-Ula city from Moosa Bin Nusair’s fort.

To reach Madain Saleh we needed to stay in a town called Al Ula, which is situated right next to the site. There are many furnished apartments and hotels available for tourists to stay. Al Ula is a small town and I found it very peaceful. We arrived around 7 p.m. and discovered that it is forbidden to go to the site after or around Maghrib prayer (sunset). We had to wait until the next day to go to Madain Saleh.

madain 1

Distant view of the tombs carved from the mountains.

The next day we left the hotel and were fascinated to see that the town was all rocks and mountains. We were excited to learn that not only was Al Ula host to the remains of Nebatean era, but also to remains of the mosque where Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) stayed for a night before setting out for the historial Battle of Tabuk. In addition, we were told that Moosa Bin Nusair’s Fort, the railway station of the Turkish Empire and remains of old Al Ula could also be visited.

madain 3

A closer view of the tomb. Initially, we thought it was a house made of bricks and plaster, but this is all carved.

In fact, this piece of land is full of historic places. Just to be clear, the Nabataen remains are of the same people of Thamud who have been mentioned in the Qur’an quite frequently.

every carved simbol represents and says some thing.

Every tomb had different carvings like flowers, birds and animals on top of the door. This one was decorated with a carved skull.

The World Heritage Site is out of town but easy to reach. I was told that you need to attain some kind of permission, but on arrival, we were told that for some reason we did not any permission for some days.

graves carved in side the tombs

Graves carved inside the tombs.

The Site is a combination of two eras, firstly the Nabateans around 160 BC and secondly the Turkish Empire. The remains of the Hijaz railway station from Turkish Empire that was used for trade and to transport pilgrims from Syria are still there.

Madain Saleh

Madain Saleh, also known as Al-Hijr, dates back to the Nabataean Civilization and is considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites in Saudi Arabia. It is called The Capital of the Monuments as it contains a huge number of diverse and multifaceted monuments. At first glance, it looks like a vast ground with a huge rock in it, but when you look carefully, those rocks have been carved into shapes of tombs and graves. The levels of these graves vary depending on the level of social and financial status of their owners. People settled in this area due to the suitable climate and the availability of fresh water in the area.

These houses did not have many carvings as they belonged to common citizens.

These houses did not have many carvings as they belonged to common citizens.

The monuments surround the residential area and contain 111 monumental tombs, ninety-four of which with decorated facades varying considerably in size. Thirty tombs bear a dated Nabataean inscription incised in a special frame above the door of the funerary vault. They define who was allowed to be buried within the tombs, and indicate the fine to be paid by those who did not obey the rules listed in the text. Inscriptions engraved on rocks, facades of graves and mountains allude to the existence of civilizations that had prevailed and fallen in the area where architecture and sculpture flourished. Every grave facet represents a cemetery for one family.

The Diwan.

The Diwan.

The Diwan, or the Muslim Council Chamber, is in and around Jabal Ithlib, in the north-eastern part of the archaeological park. Jabal Ithlib is the highest sandstone outcrop of the site and can be seen from as far as al-‘Ula. The internal part of the Jabal may be reached through a narrow passage between high rocks, some 40 m long which can be compared, although much smaller, with the Sîq of Petra.

The stream that poured water from the mountains into the well underneath.

The stream that poured water from the mountains into the well underneath.

At the entrance of this pass, to the right, is carved, the so-called Dîwân room, in fact a  triclinium where groups of people used to have meals together in antiquity. Around Jabal Ithlib, on the outside, are several carved small Nabataean sanctuaries.

Nabatean inscriptions detailing who the tomb was built for.

Nabatean inscriptions detailing who the tomb was built for.

Most of the niches, altars, betyls (carved sculptures) and other religious monuments are associated with Nabataean inscriptions, sometimes dedications, but most often signatures of the worshippers who came to worship their deity there during the Nabataean period.

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Video (works)


Ahmed Mater, Pelt Him!, 2012, Ed. 5 + 1 AP

Ahmed Mater, Pelt Him!, 2012, Ed. 5 + 1 AP

Group Exhibition
Opening: Tuesday, 14th May 2013
7.30 PM – 9.30 PM
Athr Gallery

Exhibition Dates:
14th May – 13th July, 2013

Participating Artists:
Adel Abidin
Ziad Antar
Hans Op De Beeck
Ayman Yossri Daydban
Hazem Harb
Ahmed Mater
Motaz Nasr
Sami Al Turki
David Zink Yi

Since the 1960s and advancement of technology, video art has taken a prominent route to becoming a fundamental contemporary art medium. With a growing number of international and Arab artists expressing their views, Athr Gallery is proud to present Video(works), a distinctive exhibition in that it celebrates the medium of video art rather than a specific theme or topic.

This exhibition is in collaboration with Hauser & Wirth Gallery, Galleria Continua and Selma Feriani Gallery.

Image courtesy of Athr Gallery and the artist

Medina Mint


If you’ve been to Medina, you’ve surely stopped at the little vendor-cart right on your way back, and purchased your little bouquet of mint – the handful of sparkling green goodness, that blast of aroma that takes you straight to heaven, and that inimitable, indefinable, unnameable hue of green that makes everything else seem dull. If you’ve seen it and smelled it, you’ll agree with us that the little green beauty deserves a post all to itself.
There’s more to it than meets the eye, or the nose, because apart from staring at it and smelling it, you can use it in a million different ways as well. So, tell us, what do you do with your mint from Medina, and help us compose our final ode to it.

Do you grind it in an aromatic chutney to go with fried snacks? Do you simmer it in a teapot and sip the light golden liquid? Or do you like it cold? Do you give it a whirr in the blender with a dash of lemon and whizz through your day? Do you mix it up with chocolate and bake sinful goodness out of it?

Mint icecream with chocolate. An irresistable combination.

Do you rev up your biryani with some leaves? Do you tie it up with a fancy ribbon, tuck it in an Ikea vase, and use it as an object of beauty? Do you scatter it in a platter with other petals? Do you dry its twigs out in the sun and brew it like ancient medicine?

Mint  chocolate brownies.

 Tell us what the mint from Medina means to you. Is it perfume, is it cure, is it zest, is it a hint or the whole flavor, or just plain eye candy? Write in and tell us, send us pictures if you want. Your contributions mean a lot to us.

Silk Painting Workshop


Self-growth and self-improvement are important parts of life. For many of us, this slows down or even worse, comes to a halt once we leave formal education. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many unexplored avenues to seek out, and many new skills to acquire. Silk painting classes are catching on, and there are now instructors teaching this art to those who wish to expand their skill base.

Silk painting is the application of paints or dyes directly onto silk fabric using an exciting array of watercolour techniques.

Uzma Sabahat is one such lady who has been instructing in the art of silk painting  for the past eighteen years in her home country Pakistan. Now that she resides in Jeddah, she has begun giving workshops here.

Uzma’s silk painting.

Her next workshop is a 3-day event to be held on the 12th, 13th and 14th of May, 2013 from 9-11am. The cost is SR 350 for the entire 3-day course, including all materials and equipment.

Visit Uzma’s Facebook page to register.

The Perfect Cup of Tea at Teayana


Teayana has been a firm favourite of mine for years. Their Belgian Waffles, Chocofruit Mana’eesh (with lashings of Nutella), Apple Strudel (sadly discontinued) and Golden Assam Tea can lift my family’s mood on any given evening. Their breakfasts are yummy too, and will totally need a blog post of their own. For this week’s review, however, our adventurous Zareen Muzaffar visits Teayana and bravely experiments with some new and exotic blends of tea.

For all tea lovers out there, I have some good news for you. The Teayana tea lounge is the place to be if you want to try out different kinds of tea flavours. I tried Teayana’s Spicy Tea Latte and although the blend was too spicy for me, the overall experience was good and I promised myself to try the simple Tea Latte on my next visit.

Teayana Spiced Chai Latte Jeddah Saudi Arabia

Teayana Spiced Chai Latte.

My friends ordered the Relaxation Tea and Digestion Tea. Digesting tea is a  classic combination of multiple herbs which act to calm the nerves and settle the digestive system. Ingredients include Chamomile flowers, peppermint, fennel and anise seed. After being infused, it is light yellow with a taste of mild minty anise sweetness. It may be enjoyed plain at any time of the day, but best drunk after meals. Relaxation tea includes fine cut organic rooibos herb with leaves of strawberry, lemon, nettle, fennel and a few orange peels. The taste is extremely mellow and calming.

Teayana’s food menu boasts of paninis, sandwiches, man’eesh, and desserts include their all-time favourite carrot cake, waffles, crêpes and a bunch of other options.

We received our tea with a small attractive timer that made us feel tea is serious business. To get the best from your tea, the correct amount of time must be allowed in order to diffuse the flavours, which enhances the taste and effects intended. We were asked to give approximately five minutes before trying the healthy blends of tea. The aroma emanating from freshly brewed pots of tea is worth a visit, and the food is a cherry on the top. Although I was in the mood for tea during my visit, the coffee lover in me really wanted to try out the caramel latte.

The Awesome Tea Tower full of various tea leaves stored in colour-coded canisters, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Awesome Tea Tower full of various tea leaves stored in colour-coded canisters.

The bottom floor is home to the wide variety of tea that Teayana offers, and you can buy 100 grams of loose leaf tea for SR 100. But if you’d rather give some blend a try before purchasing a lot of it, then you can ask them to give you 50 grams instead. This would be a better option for those who are still experimenting with flavors to find their personal favourite. The tea tower on the main floor displays tea canisters that contain 150 tea types in three main colours making them easy to identify and choose from. Each colour represents a tea category, so the green represents green tea, the red canisters contain black tea and the orange containers hold Herbal tea.

Teayana Tea Sets on Display 2 Jeddah Saudi Arabia

Exquisite tea Sets for sale.

The varieties of tea include black, white and green tea, along with oolong and herbal tea leaves. The indicators of tea strength will allow you to determine how much you need depending on whether you are in the mood for something mild or strong. They also sell a beautiful assortment of elegant tea pots, cups, mugs and loose leaf jars. There are some gift baskets available too making the perfect gift for that special friend who loves tea and would love receiving a gorgeous tea set complete with a great blend of tea.

Teayana Tea Sets on Display Jeddah Saudi Arabia

Perk up your daily sip of tea with these elegant Teayana Tea Sets.

I just hope the Teayana management can hire more staff members because the orders take too long to arrive, and I saw only two waiters rushing all over the place trying their best to serve everyone in a timely manner. The good news is that Teayana now offers delivery of certain food items from various locations. Details available on their website.

Teayana has three branches in Jeddah:

– Teayana Hamra, 
Andalus street, Planet food Mall
02-668 1660
– Teayana Khaldiyah,
 
Rawdah Street, Lines Mall
02-606 2646
– Teayana Redsea Mall, 

Malek Road, Redsea Mall, Gate #9
02-215 0620

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50,000 Hits already!


One milestone after another! We’ve received 50,000 hits on the blog in less than a year. Thank you all for your interest and support 🙂

We hope you keep supporting us, continue to share our posts and invite your friends to join our community 🙂

3rd Silk Painting Basics Workshop


Following the success of previous workshops, Qurratulain Sikander will be conducting the 3rd session of Silk Painting, teaching the basics of the art. Read on for details.

Topics to be Covered

  • Material Concept
  • Painting techniques
  • Guta usage
  • Tools
  • Basic technique for drawing and coloring
  • How to fill the background

Fabric, paint and brushes will be provided.

Course time and location will be announced soon. Duration 3 hours. Hop, skip and jump to the Facebook event page to register and for further details.

Price 230 SR (Including all tools )

Your Ultimate Guide to Clinics and Hospitals in Jeddah


Following up from our popular and comprehensive lists of Preschools, Schools and Compounds in Jeddah, we now present a list of well-known Jeddah hospitals. None of these clinics or hospitals are endorsed by Jeddah Blog, and we urge you to ask around, visit the location and do your research before consulting with any doctor.

If you have an experience with a hospital you would like to share (good or bad), then leave a comment after this post. You may end up helping someone else make an important decision. If there’s a hospital we’ve missed then let us know by emailing us or leaving a comment after this page.

Also if needed, do take a look at our list of Pediatricians in Jeddah as recommended by our readers.

Abuzinadah Hospital

Al Abeer Medical Group

Al Hannan Polyclinic

Al-Jedaani Group of Hospitals

Al Mostaqbal Hospital

Al Rafa Polyclinic

Al Raqoun Medical Center

Al Salam Polyclinic

Bugshan Hospital

Dalia Clinic

Dr. Bakhsh Hospital

Dr. Erfan & Bagedo General Hospital

Dr. Ghassan H. Pharaon Healthcare Hospital (GNP)

Dr. Hala Essa Bin Ladin Hospital

Dr. Khalid Idriss Hospital

Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital

Gari Medical Center

International Medical Centre (IMC)

Jeddah Clinic Hospital

Jeddah National Hospital

Khaled Polyclinic

King Abdulaziz Medical City

King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital

King Faisal Specialist Hospital

Magrabi Hospital and Centers

Mustasharak Medical Center

Naseem Jeddah Hospital

New Jeddah Hospital

Orthopaedic Specialty Clinics

Saada Medical Center

A caring, family-oriented medical establishment that all families have been looking for. We provide a friendly and homely environment which provides comfort right from the entrance. Our motto is ‘Caring by Nature, Professional at Heart’.

Sharbatali Road
Al- Safa District – Jeddah
Tel: 6933297
Fax: 6255785

Saba Medical Clinics

Saudi German Hospitals

Shifa Jeddah Polyclinic

Sidrah Medical Center

Tala Medical Clinic

Salama Centre,

Prince Sultan St.

Tel: 02-6391818

Tariq M Bin Laden Hospital

United Doctors Hospital

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