The city of Jeddah will have a new heritage museum, which will be located in the old city of Al Balad. The project will be the result of a collaboration between the Saudi Ministry of Culture and the international auction company Christie’s.
On 26 June, Christie’s held an auction in Jeddah, raising funds to support a museum project in the Al Balad district (and, incidentally, a non-profit organization that helps children with special needs).
The museum will tell the story of Al Balad, the old town of Jeddah, an area characterized by its carved wooden doors, narrow streets populated by fruit sellers, and small shops often run by Pakistanis.
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A district in the midst of a renaissance
While some of the district’s houses have already been transformed into heritage sites, most are still rented or abandoned by owners who have left the district for more modern and spacious dwellings. In addition, local inheritance laws sometimes make it difficult to manage and make decisions about possible sales or rehabilitation.
Projects are flourishing
Today, however, as part of the local effort to open up to tourism, various cultural initiatives are emerging. For example, in February, the philanthropic organization Art Jameel opened its “project space”, which hosts various exhibitions and collaborations with local actors in art, design, etc.
Al Balad, therefore, displays a certain dynamism on the local art scene. A few weeks ago, it hosted the first summer edition of 21.39, the annual Jeddah Artistic Week. It was also decided that the neighborhood would host the Red Sea International Film Festival, which will begin in 2020.