As the “Enlightened City”, Al Madinah is home to a number of magnificent mosques, impressive architectural structures, beautiful natural landmarks, and captivating historic places that pilgrims and travellers will do well to see and visit.
If you are a visitor wishing to go on a Madinah city tour to explore and learn more about the rich history and heritage of this city, you won’t go wrong with visiting these places first:
Known as the Prophet’s Mosque, this mosque is the second holiest site in Islam. It was built in 622 CE during the hijra or migration of the early Muslims from Makkah to Madinah.
The Prophet’s Mosque was originally an open-air building made of palm trunks and mud walls. Although the mosque still stands on the original site near the house of the Prophet Muhammad, it now has two floors and is 100 times bigger than the original structure.
The mosque also has 24 domes which slide out on metal tracks to provide shade to worshippers.
The most distinctive feature of the mosque is a green dome called the Dome of the Prophet. This dome marks the location of the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb. The first and second caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar, are also buried near the Prophet.
The Quba Mosque is the first mosque to be built in the history of Islam. This mosque is the second largest and most significant mosque in the city after the Prophet’s Mosque.
According to historical references, the Prophet and his Companions built the mosque in the first year of the Hijri or Islamic calendar. The mosque originally contained a well which belonged to Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari. It became a holy place as the Prophet’s camel knelt down to take a long drink of water from the well after the Prophet’s journey.
Over the years, the Quba Mosque underwent a number of renovations. At present, it has four minarets, a library, and lodgings for the Imams, muezzins, and guards. It is also distinguished by its 56 domes and commercial centre.
The Quba Mosque is located about four kilometres from the Prophet’s Masjid. Due to its size, the building can be clearly seen even from a distance.
Mount Uhud is the place where the second battle between the defending Muslims of Madinah and attacking enemies of Makkah took place in the third year of Hijri.
During the battle, the Prophet suffered a wound. Seventy of his brave companions fell and were martyred. The Prophet had the martyrs buried in the condition they had fallen in the mountain. At present, fences surround the graves and the graveyard stands as a symbol of the sacrifices that the early Muslims made for their faith.
Mount Uhud is located four to five kilometres from the Prophet’s Mosque at the northern part of Al Madinah.
The Seven Mosques were built on the western edge of the Sela Mountain where the Battle of the Trench or Ghazwa-e-Khandaq took place.
In the year 5AH, the Muslims of Madinah dug a trench to protect themselves from the Makkan army. Because of the trench, the enemies were unable to enter the city and attack the Muslims. Although there were a few who were able to cross the trench, they were killed.
Today, the six ancient mosques are closed for restoration but the battleground is open to the public. There is also a new mosque called the Al-Khandaq mosque which worshippers can enter. The mosque is located at the base of the mountain.
The Seven Mosques is around four kilometres away from the Prophet’s Mosque.
Known as the “Garden of Heaven”, Jannat al-Baqi is located beside the Prophet’s Mosque.
This cemetery is the burial ground of numerous holy personalities including a number of the Prophet’s companions. The first persons to be buried here were Asad Bin Zararah and Ansari, a companion of the Prophet who died soon after the arriving in Madinah.
Other significant personalities buried here include the third caliph Uthman Ghani, the four daughters of the Prophet, the wives of the Prophet, and the Prophet’s Uncle Abbas.
After visiting these historic sites, take some time out to get some much-needed rest and dine at one of the best restaurants in Madinah.
The city has a number of dining establishments where you can have your fill of superb eats and refreshing drinks and relax in their wonderful and comfortable ambiance.
Amjad Irshaidat is the Country General Manager – Saudi Arabia for Shaza Hotels. The 5-star Shaza Hotel in Al Madina combines sophistication and location in effortless style, with each suite being, by intention, an emphatic expression of generous warmth and Eastern hospitality.