Saudi student with a passion for Sheffield challenges pals to seek out city's top beauty spots
A Saudi Arabian student with a love for Sheffield has challenged his friends on Twitter to seek out the city’s top landmarks and beauty spots.
Hamza Khalil, aged 32, of Bank Street, in Sheffield city centre, who is studying a mechanical engineering PHD at Sheffield University, has grown to love the steel city so much during his six-year stay that he now regards it as his second home.
And he has been so determined to share this with friends from the Saudi community in Sheffield that he challenged them via Twitter to highlight and photograph what they too feel is beautiful about the city and their gallery of pictures has grown-and-grown.
Hamza, who lives his wife Fatma Bucklina – an oncology PHD student - and their four-year-old boy, told how his friends have found places he did not know about so his interest in the city has become even broader.
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He said: “I was playing devil’s advocate with my fellow-students by asking them to see if they could find anything beautiful in the city and they have been coming up with some very nice places in and around Sheffield.”
Hamza, who is from Madinah, added: “I challenged them to come up with images on Twitter of the things they like and I had not even known about some of them. It has broadened my interest and knowledge of Sheffield even more.”
The Saudi student understands Sheffield is a big place but at the same time he said it feels small because everywhere is so nice and friendly.
He said: “Every part of the city is different. One of the most attractive things is how green the places are in and around the city.
"I live in Bank Street which is an old part of the city but you walk about ten minutes and you see the buildings and shops change and you feel like you are moving through time. It’s a lovely experience.”
Hamza is a big fan of the Peace Gardens and the much-improved Moor Market and he really enjoys Ecclesall Road and walking through Endcliffe Park and along the Sheffield Round Walk.
He added: “It is so easy to sit down and enjoy the scenery and the people.”
Another one of Hamza’s favourite things about living in Sheffield is being so close to the Peak District.
He said: “It’s a very nice place. A piece of heaven. A quiet, lovely and remote place, and with every visit it feels like you are recharging your soul.”
The Twitter friends have also developed a rivalry with a Saudi community in Manchester who are doing something similar from across the Pennines and the two groups are enjoying their own online War of the Roses to establish which city is more beautiful.
Hamza and his wife have been saddened about the closure of some of their favourite shops including the John Lewis store and Debenhams.
But he added: “In the previous six years, I have enjoyed some of the best moments of my life while I have been in Sheffield and the city has become my second home.”