A ‘buried city’ found in downtown Jeddah

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Archeological remnants found in the historical downtown Jeddah area may indicate that another city is buried underneath, Makkah newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Part of a mosque and a water duct were found in the district, leading to the hypothesis that an older city might lie below.

The niche of Al-Atique Mosque, also known as Al-Shafie Mosque, was found buried two and a half meters under the foundations of the mosque.

A number of rare historic relics were discovered while the niche was being repaired.

Sami Nawwar, head of the municipality of Historic Jeddah, said the excavations revealed a water duct covered with woods that might date back 500 or 600 years.

He said the duct was running on the surface of the ground but was buried by time and factors of erosion.

Nawwar said construction work in the adjacent Bab Sharif area revealed part of a courtyard and some old utensils buried two and a half meters beneath the surface.

He recalled that about nine years ago a hand mill to grind cereal was found along with other tools.

Nawaar would not, however, confirm or deny the existence of another city buried in the historic area.

“We cannot be sure of that but the certainty is that Jeddah was much lower than it is now,” he said.

He said the project to rehabilitate Ein (water spring) Al-Faraj would be decisive in determining whether there was another buried Jeddah or not.

Nawwar said contact was being made with the owners of the houses around the water spring to obtain their approval to demolish the houses and excavate under them.

“It is obvious that the spring is extending farther than its current area,” he added.

He said old coins and the equipment of a seaport used by pilgrims more than 1,400 years ago were all indicators that Jeddah was a historic city.

According to Nawwar, Jeddah was inhabited by the Qudaah Arab tribe and was named after a tribe member who was called Jeddah Bin Jarham Bin Qudaah.