The King Fahd Coastal City - Enjoying Recreational
Activities on the Red Sea
Built on a lagoon on the Red Sea, the King Fahd Coastal City in Jeddah provides
a healthy recreational environment for all.
- Maintaining fitness and good health is a trend which has been growing
worldwide in recent years. In Saudi Arabia, people are also looking towards
regular exercise through athletics and leisure activities as a way to improve
their lifestyle and overall health. The result of such a trend has been the
provision of a wide variety of opportunities for everyone in the Kingdom to
participate in a number of sports and other leisure activities.
- One of the principal organizations involved in the promotion of exercise
in the Kingdom is the General Presidency of Youth Welfare (GPYW). Established in
1974, the GPYW continually works towards a lofty yet achievable goal: to make
sporting, recreational and cultural facilities accessible to young Saudis
throughout the country and to get as many people interested and involved in
these activities as possible. Based in Riyadh, the GPYW maintains branch offices
in every major city and district in order to meet this ambitious goal through
four separate departments - sports, cultural activities, social programs and
- The work that the GPYW devotes to sports is in addition to the activities
organized through the physical education programs and facilities within the
school systems and at Saudi universities and colleges. Next to the educational
system, the GPYW is the primary provider of recreational facilities and programs
for young people. Ranging from huge complexes known as ³Sports Cities²
to small public playgrounds in the hearts of local neighborhoods, the
facilities meet the needs of every Saudi from the experienced professional
athlete down to the child picking up a soccer ball for the first time.
In addition to a variety of water sports, the complex offers a range of
other recreational activities, including badminton (top), basketball, tennis,
volleyball and billiards (above).
- The GPYW took its venture in a different direction when it created two
coastal sports cities on the beautiful seacoasts of the Arabian Peninsula. The
idea was to create a ³club² atmosphere specializing in various water
sports and other activities. For a small membership fee, people can join the
coastal city and as members take advantage of the modern recreational
facilities, restaurants and other functions sponsored at the complex. One such
facility was built in the Eastern Province on the Arabian Gulf and is located at
Al-Khobar on Half Moon Bay.
- The King Fahd Coastal City was established in 1983 at Al-Hamra beach in
the city of Jeddah. Built at a cost of 210 million Saudi riyals (56 million U.S.
dollars), the facility offers individual, group and corporate memberships. Open
throughout the year, the center is visited by close to 100,000 people annually.
Situated on the Red Sea, the complex offers a scenic vista for members to relax
while at the same time offering a number of activities for both children and
- The sea is the focal point for many of the outdoor activities. A marina is
the setting for water sports including boating, water skiing and wind surfing.
The Coastal City also boasts a large swimming pool. Members can take advantage
of swimming lessons or participate in competitions held regularly at the pool.
Tournaments are also organized at the tennis courts located on the grounds.
- For indoor activities, the King Fahd Coastal City utilizes a large sports
hall which includes a gymnasium measuring forty by twenty-five meters. Regularly
used for both basketball and volleyball, the sports hall is also the setting for
demonstrations and classes in Taekwando and wrestling. Next to the sports hall
is a twelve lane bowling alley and four international-standard squash courts.
There is also a large fitness and conditioning room equipped with a variety of
the latest exercise machines including exercise bicycles, treadmills, rowing
machines, stair- masters, weight-training equipment and free weights.
The large pool, bowling lanes, weight room are popular with young
- The King Fahd Coastal City is not entirely devoted to sports and
athletics. There is also a main "club house" where there are a number
of board games, table tennis, pool tables and other recreational facilities.
There is also a state-of-the-art television and video room in addition to a
Membersı Library. In an attempt to attract a wide range of members and to
make full use of the complex, the GPYW allocated sufficient space for
conferences and seminars. In recent years the Coastal City has hosted a number
of conferences which have covered scientific topics such as advancements in eye
surgery and computers, in addition to those devoted to culture including books
and traditional art and poetry. Some events are held in a 450-seat theater which
is equipped with audio and visual technology suitable for many types of
- The activities at the King Fahd Coastal City are supported by a large staff
which manages the entire facility. A food and beverage department operates a
number of snack bars throughout the complex while the Lagoon Restaurant, a
formal dining room overlooking the water, seats up to three hundred people.
Other staff members devote their time to sports instruction, coaching and
organizing activity programs for the members.
- The King Fahd Coastal City is a unique example of the opportunities
available to Saudi families interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle
through sports and recreation. Plans are underway to expand the existing complex
in Jeddah, and due to the success of the two coastal cities, studies are being
conducted to determine where other such facilities might flourish.