Jeddah ( JED-ə), also spelled Jedda, Jiddah or Jidda ( JID-ə; Arabic: جِدَّة, romanized: Jidda, Hejazi pronunciation: [ˈdʒɪd.da]), is a city in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia and the country’s commercial center. With a population of about 4,697,000 people as of 2021, Jeddah is the largest city in Makkah Province, the largest city in Hejaz, the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia (after the capital Riyadh), and the tenth-largest in the Middle East. Jeddah Islamic Port, is on the Red Sea, is the thirty-sixth largest seaport in the world and the second-largest and second-busiest seaport in the Middle East (after Dubai’s Port of Jebel Ali).
Jeddah is the principal gateway to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, 65 kilometers (40 mi) to the east, while Medina, the second-holiest city, is 360 kilometers (220 mi) to the north.
Economically, Jeddah is focusing on further developing capital investment in scientific and engineering leadership within Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East. Jeddah was independently ranked fourth in the Africa – Mid-East region in terms of innovation in 2009 in the Innovation Cities Index.
Jeddah is one of Saudi Arabia’s primary resort cities and was named a Beta world city by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network (GaWC). Given the city’s close proximity to the Red Sea, fishing and seafood dominate the food culture unlike other parts of the country. In Arabic, the city’s motto is “Jeddah Ghair”, which translates to “Jeddah is different”. The motto has been widely used among both locals as well as foreign visitors. The city is widely perceived as the most liberal city in Saudi Arabia and is a popular tourist destination in the region.