Street museum in Jeddah sells valuable relics

By Fatima Muhammad
AN antiquities street stall has captured the attention of many visitors to the Mahmoud Saeed souk market in Jeddah’s Siteen Street, formally known as King Fahd Street.

Owned by Abu Khaled Al-Zarani, the museum has a variety of items that belong to different cultures dating back over 100 years.

They include antiquities, radios, swords, kitchen tools, books and clothes. Al-Zahrani said he and his brother have collected these items from special auctions. The swords have different Arabic expressions or Qur’anic verses and bear the insignia of the original owner.

Various musical instruments are also displayed along with radios from different points in time.

There are three regular auctions in different parts of Jeddah, said Al-Zahrani.

These auctions feature products from various regions and eras. “I get my belongings mainly from them, and sometimes my brother imports a few products from other cities.”

He said he has his own display at home and people tend to visit him in search of valuable items that he does not sell on the street. Such valuables include products that are some 200 years old as well as currencies and swords.

Al-Zahrani was previously selling his products on Tahliya Street (formally known as Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Street) until a year ago. “I was on Tahliya Street but a new mall has opened there and I had to look for another place.

“I have number of clients, the business is great and there are always people searching for valuables.”

Among the rare items is an old pot used to cook foul (smashed beans) that bears the stamp of the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Al-Zahrani got this from a family who has lived all their life in Makkah. Other local valuables include a baby holder made of sheepskin and decorated with colorful lines on the outer layer.

The majority of the copper items displayed are of Turkish and Syrian origin from the Ottoman era.

They include trays, vases, Turkish coffee pots, barbecue sticks with animal shapes on one side, shisha equipment, animal statues, candle holders and lamps.

Among Al-Zahrani’s belongings are African products made of ivory as well as some crafted masks and sticks.

Al-Zahrani carries his belongings in a car that is 30 years old, which he said is loyal to him.

“This is how you turn a hobby into a lifetime job,” said Al-Zahrani while arranging his items on tables and telling a consumer the price of an eagle statue.

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