JEDDAH — The oldest spring in Jeddah, located near Al-Naseef House, the historical building in downtown Al-Balad, is now open for visitors. Permission to open Ein Faraj Yusr (Faraj Yusr spring) for sightseeing was granted by the Mayoralty of Old Jeddah district, as part of its plan to regulate visits to the area in order to preserve the oldest spring in the city.
“Ein Faraj Yusr is 500-years-old and it used to be the main source of water for residents of Jeddah and their defense during the invasion of the Portuguese,” said Sami Nawar, Chairman of Old Jeddah district mayoralty.
He added that the son of Portuguese explorer Vasco De Gama could not conquer Jeddah for months because he could not dock his ships at Jeddah port. “At that time, the Jeddah Islamic port area was full of coral reefs so ships could not dock there,” Nawar added.
During the last Jeddah flood, the spring was affected by the massive amount of rainwater. Therefore, the mayoralty decided to preserve the spring. One of the main responsibilities of the mayoralty is to revive the old heritage of the Hijaz area, including Al-Balad district.
As part of this responsibility, various activities are organized by Old Jeddah district mayoralty in Al-Naseef House during Ramadan, such as performances of traditional chants at weddings, also known as Al-Jassees, presentations on the historical area, cultural contests, Ramadan games for boys, and demonstrations of the traditional Masaharaty, a person who used to wake people for Suhoor (the early morning meal) in olden times. These activities started on Aug. 14 and will continue till Aug. 20, from 10:30 P.M. till 1:30 A.M. in the plaza of Al-Naseef House.
“The activities aim to introduce the new generation to old traditional entertainment,” said Nawar.
Old Jeddah district mayoralty issued more than 200 licenses for traditional Ramadan stalls including stalls for kibda (liver), traditional perfumes, balila (chickpeas), pastries and Eid Al-Fitr sweets. The license for liver and Eid Al-Fitr sweets stalls cost Saudis SR1,500 each, whereas the cost of each stall of chickpeas, traditional perfumes and pastries is SR 500.