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A local legend asserts that Eve died and was buried here: the name ‘Jeddah’ means ‘grandmother’. The graveyard (Hawa Cemetery, northeast of Al-Balad) still exists, but is out of bounds to non-Muslims (who are not permitted to enter Islamic cemeteries).

Since AD 646, when Caliph Uthman officially established Jeddah as the gateway to Mecca, Jeddah’s fortunes have been dominated by Islam’s holiest city, which lies to Jeddah’s east. The entire Hejaz came under nominal Turkish control in the 16th century, though the local rulers retained a great deal of autonomy. The Wahhabis, under Abdul Aziz, took control of the city in 1925.