Jidda or Jedda, city (1993 est. pop. 2,058,000), Hejaz, W Saudi Arabia, on the Red Sea. Jidda is the port of Mecca (c.45 mi/72 km to the east) and annually receives a huge influx of pilgrims, mainly from Africa, Indonesia, and Pakistan. Unlike Mecca, Jidda has always accepted visitors of all religions. The diverse local population includes a large admixture of Africans, Persians, Yemenis, and Indians. Most are employed in the oil industry. There are few exports, but many goods are imported to support the pilgrims. The city is the administrative capital of Saudi Arabia. Jidda was ruled by the Turks until 1916, when it became part of the independent Hejaz. In 1925 it was conquered by Ibn Saud. Oil wealth brought expansion of the city and its seaport; the city walls came down in 1947 and a desalinization plant was built in the 1970s. Present Jidda is not more than three centuries old, but Old Jidda, c.12 mi (19 km) south of the modern city, was founded c.646 by the caliph Uthman.
or Jeddah

City (pop., 2004: 2,801,481), western Saudi Arabia. Located on the Red Sea, it is a major port and the country's diplomatic capital. It takes its name (which means “ancestress” or “grandmother”) from the reputed tomb of Eve, which was located there until it was destroyed by the Saudi government in 1928. Jiddah has long been a point of entry for Muslim pilgrims journeying to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. It belonged to the Ottoman Empire until 1916, when it surrendered to British forces during World War I (1914–18). It was captured by the tribal leader Ibn Saaynūd in 1925 and was incorporated into Saudi Arabia in 1927.

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