Saudi Arabia in the Middle East is one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week, so why not spend a few minutes today learning about one of Saudi Arabia’s World Heritage Sites: Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The city of Jeddah has been one of the most important commercial and religious centers of the Middle East for centuries:
Historic Jeddah is an outstanding reflection of the Red sea architectural tradition, a construction style once common to cities on both coasts of the Red sea, of which only scant vestiges are preserved outside the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the nominated property. The style is characterized by the imposing tower houses decorated by large wooden Roshan built in the late 19th century by the city`s mercantile elites, and also by lower coral stone houses, mosques, ribat-s, suqs and small public squares that together compose a vibrant space.
Historic Jeddah had a symbolic role as a gate to Makkah for Muslim pilgrims reaching Arabia by boat since the 7th century AH when the 3rd Caliph Othman ibn Affan made it the official port of Makkah. This strict association with the Muslim annual pilgrimage (Hajj) gave Historic Jeddah a cosmopolitan population where Muslims from Asia, Africa and the Middle East resided and worked, contributing to the city`s growth and prosperity.
Historic Jeddah reflects the final flourishing of the Indian Ocean sea trade after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the introduction of steamboats that linked Europe with India and Asia. This brought enormous wealth to many merchants who built lavishly decorated houses, and it also led to developments of suqs and mosques. In addition, the increase in sea going vessels allowed many more pilgrims to make the pilgrimage to Makkah, resulting in an expansion in the provision of accommodation for these visitors. (World Heritage Centre #1361)
You can find a gallery of additional photos of Historic Jeddah on the World Heritage Centre’s website.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected by their home countries and recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than a thousand such sites have been designated in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list of World Heritage Sites online at the World Heritage Centre and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites, available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures have you explored in your homeschool this Leo Term? 😊
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool Geography posts featuring cultural and natural sites of international importance. Download a copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌐
❡ This is a printable lesson: Down at the bottom of this post you’ll find a custom “Print” button and icon, along with several social-media share buttons. The Print button will let you create a neat and easy-to-read copy of this little lesson, and it will even let you resize or delete elements that you may not want or need (such as images or footnotes). Give it a try today! 🖨
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has a lengthy section with detailed profiles of all the nations of the world; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia has a comprehensive collection of national histories in an appendix; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇸🇦
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