Jeddah - Saudi Arabia

Jeddah is a major Saudi port on the Red Sea. It is about three centuries old, and was surrounded by walls until 1947. Thousands of pilgrims pass through the city each year on their way to Mecca. Tour the city with its combination of modern buildings and old narrow streets with overhanging merchants houses or swim and explore the offshore coral reefs. Except for a few major cities and oases, the harsh climate historically prevented much settlement of the Arabian Peninsula. People of various cultures have lived here for over 5,000 years. The modern state was founded in 1902 by King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud. Oil was discovered in the 1930's though full scale production did not start till the 1940's and has been the cause of rapid economic development. The law of the land is that of Islam, with strict rules about behavior and in particular the roles of men and woman in society. Woman are not allowed to drive and in the work place are segregated from men. There is no constitution and the King and Council rule. It is a serious crime to bring alcohol into the country and the importation of drugs is punishable by death.