Medina Sights and Landmarks Guide, Saudi Arabia
Medina (or al-Madinah) is the second-holiest city in Islam (after Mecca/Makkah). Known as the ‘City of the Prophet of Allah’ (its full Arabic name is ‘Madinat Rasul Allah’) to which Muhammad escaped following his ouster from Mecca, Medina is no routine tourist city; it is rather a sacred city where devout followers of Islam from the world over come for annual Hajj or Umra pilgrimages. As such, Medina sights are more religious sites than tourist attractions.
Before we furnish more details on Medina sights, however, it would be sensible to include this piece of information that non-Muslims are not allowed in either Mecca or Medina. Non-Muslims, in fact, are considered infidels and are handed death-penalty on entering any of the two cities.
Medina Sights – The World-renowned Mosques
The Masjid Al Nabawi Al Sharief (The Mosque of Prophet Mohammed) is certainly the chief attraction of Medina. The second holiest mosque in Islam (after Masjid al-Haram, Mecca), the mosque stands at the site of Prophet Muhammad’s house in Medina and houses the tomb of the Prophet (at its very center, externally marked by a Green Dome). The modern-day mosque with its 10 minarets 24 domes is many times bigger than the original structure. Adorned with polychrome marbles and stones, the mosque is an excellent example of Arabic architecture.
Medina is also home to Masjid al-Quba or the Quba Mosque. This is the oldest mosque of Islam and the foundation stones are believed to have been laid by Prophet Mohammed himself after his Hijra (migration) to Medina.
Then, there is the Qibalatin/Qiblatayn Mosque, the holy site where Prophet Muhammad made a declaration to the effect that devotees offering prayer to the Allah should face Mecca and not Jerusalem (which was the practice before the announcement was made).
Medina has many other mosques such as the Masjid Juma, Masjid Musallah, Masjid Sabaa, Masjid Suqya, etc.
Medina Sights – Other Sights
The Baqi or Baqi`Al-Gharqad is the other important Medina sight that has some religious connection. Believed to be the largest cemetery in the world, the Baqi`Al-Gharqad is the ultimate resting place of Prophet Mohammed’s family members and companions after their death. The Prophet himself is said to have made multiple visits to the site during his lifetime to pray for eternal peace for the departed souls.
Medina Sights – Reaching the City
Medina has its own airport that is served by both domestic and international airlines. Of course, there are other ways of reaching Medina. Being a city in the western part of Saudi Arabia, making Riyadh the starting-point of your Medina-tour/pilgrimage will not be an ideal plan. A much-favored route is via Jeddah city, which runs special buses to both Mecca and Medina.
Although not a typical tourist destination, Medina has adequate numbers of hotels, both in the budget as well as luxury categories to add to the conveniences of your tours of religious Medina sights.
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