Medina is a holy city, home to Islam’s three oldest mosques and the burial site of Islam founder and prophet, Muhammad. While most travellers to Medina visit on a pilgrimage during Hajj or Eid Al Fitr, this peaceful city is surrounded by the towering Uhud Mountain range and worth exploring deeper.
Things to do
You’d be amiss not visiting Medina’s revered mosques, including the Quba Mosque, said to have had its first stones laid by the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Masjid al-Qiblatayn is another historic mosque with an elaborate prayer hall, while Al-Masjid an-Nabawi is one of the world’s largest and is the resting place of Muhammad.
Avid historians will love Medina, which is near the site of the Battle of Uhud that took place on Mount Uhud in 625AD. You can also discover Islam’s rail history at the Hejaz Railway Museum, which displays exhibits on the historic Ottoman railway station including engines and pieces of the original train.
Medina’s streets are filled with pilgrims during Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city for six days of religious ceremonies. The city’s malls are also packed during this time, but are a great place for finding unique treasures year-round.
Medina is located about two hours from the Red Sea, one of the world’s most historically-rich waterways where Egyptians, Romans and other empires once traded and fought. You can also take the four-hour drive to Mecca, considered Islam’s holiest city and the main stop on an Islamic pilgrimage.
There is no public transport in Medina, but you can walk to many points of interest. Destinations further afield can be reached with one of the city’s taxis. Although Medina’s holy centre is only open to Muslims, non-Muslims can visit the outer parts of the city and the airport.