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JEDDAH: Entering Jeddah’s historic quarter through the northern gate near Al-Bayaa roundabout, the city’s historic walls and buildings attract visitors’ attention.

Most visitors feel like they are stepping back in time. The location allows them to delve into the depths of history and contemplate the lives of people who once lived in the historic district.

Along the alleys and corridors, visitors will discover a corner in the center of the historic district transformed into a daily meeting place and a cultural fair that promotes cultural, literary, artistic and heritage knowledge.

The Arbab Alheraf, an arts and culture center, presented the Mishraqah Jeddah Al-Balad, located in Bait Alhodaif, this year as part of the region’s Ramadan festival.

Mishraqah is a nonprofit arts organization that includes a small 14-room museum. It features items from 1910 to 1980, including artwork, photographs, newspapers and magazines, as well as nostalgic items such as Carrom boards, mottos, and more.

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Mishraqah is a nonprofit arts organization that includes a small 14-room museum. It features items from 1910 to 1980, including artwork, photographs, newspapers and magazines, as well as nostalgic items such as carrom boards, mottoes, and more.

Speaking to Arab News, Arbab Alheraf founder Abdullah S. Alhodaif said that Mishraqah, which means “to shine” in Arabic, is a “unique and authentic cultural window” that showcases the uniqueness of the Saudi culture through a variety of creative works. It welcomes inspiring people to talk about their creative experiences and share them with the rest of society.

Guest of honor, Saudi designer Wed Zahid talks to Mishraqah about her career. (A photo by Saleh Fareed)

“Throughout the month of Ramadan, we start every day at 10 p.m. and end at 1 a.m. in Bait Alhodaif, where Mishraqah shines and presents a series of events with a creative and authentic touch. We will welcome a number of knowledgeable people who will be steeped in events that will enrich culture, history and human development,” he said.

He added, “In Mishraqah there are many details, including a physical art exhibit depicting the authenticity of Jeddah, an audio art exhibit telling the story of Islam since its inception, and Sohbat Naqa (good company), which is a social experience that makes you share your experience with a stranger in a deeply psychological way.

Since the creation of the project in 2016, the group has adopted an approach that integrates many cultural and artistic events into a set of activities and programs to serve as the first foundation for various cultural projects. Over the past six years, the project has hosted more than 1,300 cultural evenings.

Abdullah S. AlhodaifFounder of Arbab Alheraf

Alhodaif said visitors to historic Jeddah can find Saudi originality in Mishraqah Jeddah Al-Balad through a collection of creative works.

Mishraqah has hosted elite names such as Sohayb Godus, an actor and writer; Shahad Nazer, yoga teacher; Saudi historian and coffee expert Majed Al-Ahdal; Saudi designer Nawaf Al-Nassar; another famous designer, Wed Zahid; and Saudi poet Abdullah Thabit.

Since its inception, Arbab Alheraf has served as an important cultural and artistic initiative. It has a distinct Saudi identity and demonstrates the passion of the local community as well as the national orientation towards the quality of life agenda.

It aims to work in line with the cultural ambitions of Saudi Vision 2030. Alhodaif said: “Since the launch of the project in 2016, the group has adopted an approach that integrates many cultural and artistic events into a set of activities and programs to serve as the first foundation for various cultural projects. Over the past six years, the project has hosted more than 1,300 cultural evenings.

James C. Tibbs