French celebrate 175 years of presence in Jeddah
The French Consulate General is celebrating the 175th anniversary of the opening of the French Consulate in Jeddah with a number of cultural programs which kicked off Sunday and will last through Thursday.
Louis Blin, French consul general in Jeddah, said in a press conference that the five-day cultural activities will showcase the bilateral and historical ties between Arabia and France.
He said that the French Consulate first opened in Jeddah in 1839 during the Ottoman rule. This indicates that the French presence in Jeddah in particular and in the Arabian Peninsula in general is deeply rooted in history.
“The French and Saudis have been together for 175 years which shows their strong brotherly relationship,” Blin observed, adding that the French Consulate was first established in Jeddah before being opened in other places on the peninsula.
He explained that the celebration was aimed at showcasing the strong relations between the two peoples and their common aspirations.
Blin said the celebrations will include the work of famous researcher and historian Luc Chantre: “The French pilgrimage to Makkah, 1830-1930,” a book which will be published in Paris next month. The book dwells on the pilgrims of France, Italy, Germany and Britain in the mid-19th century and highlights the policy of the French government of sending pilgrims to Makkah even in those days.
Elaborating on the other programs, Blin said: “We will show a film about the French presence in the Hijaz. It is the first movie ever to have been shot in the Hijaz (1917). In addition, there will be an exhibition of old photographs of Jeddah and the Hijaz dating from 1895 to 1918 which will be displayed for the first time. He said he would present “The French vision of the History of the Arabian Peninsula,” outlining the French perspective on Arabia.
An entertainment program is also on the cards, he said with an exceptional concert of Hijazi music, folklore and dances with the participation of famous singers including Muhammad Abdou, Abdallah Rashad, Talal Salamah and Muhammad Hashem. Moreover, there will be a Hijazi costume show which will be presented throughout the celebrations.
Blin concluded by saying that he hoped that the relationship between the two countries and peoples would continue to grow and strengthen in the next 175 years.