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Medina is located in the Hejaz in the West of Saudi Arabia, some 200 km north of Mecca and close to the harbour town of Yanbo. Medina is the second holiest city of Islam, after Mecca but before Jerusalem.

The name literally means just city, but actually stands for the City of the Prophet. When Muhammad left Mecca, the Hijra, he was invited by the citizens of Medina to become their leader. From here Islam started its successful spread over the world.

Medina is not a city for tourists. It's a holy place and most of the foreign visitors come here on a pilgrimage, either the Hajj or the Umra. Strictly speaking a stop in Medina is not necessary but many of the pilgrims like to pay a visit to the tomb of the prophet while they are in Saudi Arabia. The city is strictly forbidden to non-muslims. Therefore it doesn't make sense to treat Medina like a tourist detination. We will go into the main 'attractions' but these are primarily pilgrim's attractions.

The main place pilgrims head for is the tomb of the prophet. It is located in what is known as The Mosque of the Prophet. The green domed complex of the mosque is huge and incredibly ornate. The Qiblatayn Mosque where Muhammad decreed that prayer should be directed toward Mecca rather than Jerusalem is another attracion, as is the Mosque of the tomb of Fatima.

Baqi is the cemetery in Medina. It houses the family, grandchildren and over twenty thousand companions of the Prophet Muhammad as well as many great Scholars and residents of Medina. It is said to be the largest cemetery in the world.

The Mosque of the Prophet (Al-Madinah/Medina)


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