Destination Guide

The Travel Well Guide

Medina

City: N/A       State: Al Madinah Province       Country: Saudi Arabia
Medina also transliterated into English as Madinah is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad. It is historically significant for being Muhammad's home after the HijrahIn 622 AD the prophet Muhammad left Mecca and was given sanctuary in the city of Yathrib, in the volcanic hills 320 km (200 mi) to the north. The city became known as Madinat al-Nabi - 'City of the Prophet of Allah', shortened to al-Madina, or Medina - 'The City'.For the next 40 years, Medina was the capital of the Muslim world and, although the city gradually declined in political importance, as Islam spread across the Middle East to cities like Jerusalem and Damascus, it retained its spiritual significance - for it was here that Muhammad laid the foundation stone of the first mosque in the world, the Masjid al-Quba. When he died in 632, the Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet's Mosque) was built on the site of his house. The al-Nabawi contains his tomb and is second in importance only to the al-Haram in Mecca.The original Masjid al-Nabawi was 30 x 35 m (100 x 115 ft) built of palm trunks and mud, with three entrances. Its basic plan was the one adopted by mosques everywhere. Over the centuries, al-Nabawi has been rebuilt, embellished and enlarged many times; although smaller than the al-Haram, it is still a magnificent building, ten times its original size, with room for half a million worshippers.Medina is enclosed by a huge 12th century wall, flanked by towers and a castle. Of the four entrance gates, the Bar al-Salaam, in particular, is renowned for its beauty. Outside the city walls there are suburbs of low houses, courtyards and gardens. The city is packed with religious monuments, shrines, and shops selling artefacts and holy trinkets.

Climate | When to Visit

The city is most crowded during Hajj (annual mass pilgrimage), when many iigrims include a visit to Medina on their journey to Mecca.
Visit during: November to February

Directions | How to Reach

Pilgrims access the city through the Hajj terminal of King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jedda or the Jeddah Seaport, both of which are in Jeddah.

miscellaneous | Important Information

Saudi Arabia is considered an unsafe country for non-Muslims, especially westerners, it is up to individuals to inform themselves of the current situation before they travel here and to keep up to date with official information and advice.

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