Northwest of the city centre, at the edge of the commercial zone and 1km from the beach, is the city's historic quarter. This is reportedly the neighbourhood where TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) stayed when he was helping the Arabs defend Yanbu against the Turks in 1916. Most of the structures date to the 19th century, and some are in extreme disrepair, though they've been targeted for refurbishment. The port area in front is the most vibrant place to spend an evening, with several open-air seating areas and lots of families spreading out a picnic rug to relax.