Moving to Jeddah

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Expats moving to Jeddah can anticipate a slightly less conservative city than the more geographically isolated and religiously stringent capital of Riyadh
Jeddah Port at Sunset
Jeddah’s Red Sea coastal posting has formed a cosmopolitan character largely defined by its role as a port city. As the principal gateway to Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, Jeddah has welcomed able-bodied Muslims and eager pilgrims from an impressive variety of ethnicities from around the world. Many of these religious devotees remained in the city long after their Hajj was completed, and have been joined by hundreds of thousands of immigrants and foreign workers who migrated from non-Muslim countries during the oil boom of the last 50 years. 

As a result, Jeddah has adopted more of an eclectic nature than many other locations across the greater Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Expats moving to Jeddah can expect an active commercial centre marked by an expat community that enjoys a healthy mix of traditional culture and modern enterprise. The city is Saudi Arabia’s most fertile incubator for artistic endeavour and has been the recipient of a number of open-air artistic installations that have given much of the public space the atmosphere of an oversized gallery. 

Temperature highs range from 77°F (25°C) in winter to 104°F (40°C) in summer, but expats living and working in Jeddah have the advantage of access to convenient and well-kept beaches as well as an 80km-long waterfront promenade prime for ambling away empty hours and wayward weekends. 

However, the aesthetic of its oceanfront location can often be coloured by the city’s unfortunate issue with air pollution, especially during hot summer days. Industrial zones in the north and south of Jeddah can often sandwich the centre in a meaty layer of smog; a situation exacerbated by landfill fires and bush fires.

In a country where most aspects of life are severely restricted, Jeddah can be a small, salty breath of fresh air in the often claustrophobic desert kingdom.

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