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History & Heritage


Jeddah in 1918: Spellbinding photos of the Gateway to the East

One hundred years have passed since French photographer Paul Castelnau (1880-1944) shot these autochromes, depicting and immortalizing Jeddah and its inhabitants in 1918.

Jeddah, a historic harbor town overlooking the Red Sea, sits just a few miles from Mecca. Paul Castelnau bears witness to the its history through his rare shots, currently part of philanthropist Albert Kahn’s Archives de la Planète, an inventory of the world in images. Kahn himself funded voyages made by some of the world’s first photographers and travelers, as early as 1909.

Castelnau’s most iconic pictures were shot in France between 1914 and 1918, and constitutes the most impressive historic catalog of trench life during the Great War. After the war, Castelnau left Europe in discovery of Western Asia.

Small mosque and houses (1918, Jeddah) – Archives de la Planète

raditional houses with Rawasheen (1918, Jeddah) – Archives de la Planète

Mosque by the French Mission building – (1918, Jeddah) – Archives de la Planète

oung Lady from Sudanese Village (1918, Jeddah) – Archives de la Planète

Published on 22 August 2017