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Visit Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Madinah Appears as Rising Tourism Star

Madinah Saudi Arabia
image courtesy of VisitSaudi
Written by Linda Hohnholz

Madinah, one of Islam’s two holiest cities located in Saudi Arabia, attracts millions of pilgrims annually for Hajj or Umrah.

The tourism sector in Madinah witnessed significant growth during the first quarter of 2024, exceeding performance indicators from the same period last year. This positive trend is reflected in the Madinah Chamber’s economic report for Q1 2024.

The report highlights a 15.3% increase in tourism-related businesses compared to Q1 2023. This sector, encompassing accommodation, travel agencies, and trip organizers, currently represents 2.6% of all economic activities registered with the Madinah Chamber.

Cultural and Historical Sites

Central to the city is Al Masjid an Nabawi, also known as the Prophet’s Mosque, built by the Prophet Muhammad in 622 A.D. and his burial site. Visitors can explore the Hijaz Railway Museum to learn about the old railway that connected Damascus with Makkah and Madinah or take the modern Haramain High-Speed Railway between Madinah and Makkah. Other highlights include Quba Mosque, Islam’s first mosque, and the historic Mount Uhud.

The Hijaz Railway Museum is considered one of the historical tourist destinations in Madinah. It was established in 1419 AH, corresponding to 1998 AD, and was inaugurated by Prince Abdulmajeed ibn Abdulaziz. It is located on Omar ibn Al-Khattab St, King Abdulaziz Square in Anbariya. It is about 1,020 meters away from the Prophet’s Mosque.

Madinah’s most famous castle, Quba Castle, was built for surveillance and protection. Made from thick, black volcanic stones and covered with white plaster, the castle is located about 1,500 meters from Quba Mosque on a high hill in the Al Duwaima neighborhood.

Mount Uhud is a majestic mountain that had a special place to the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, who said: “Uhud is a mountain that loves us and we love it.”

Experience Madinah Dining

At Arabesque Restaurant, patrons will enjoy an unforgettable meal featuring Mediterranean, Asian, and Middle Eastern flavors set against a stunning backdrop of the minarets of the Prophet’s Mosque. Be sure to save room for the house-made desserts.

Beiruti serves a wide selection of expertly made authentic, and affordable Lebanese food. Diners say this eatery can be busy at times, but the best shawarma in Madinah is worth the wait.

The motto at GOZL is “Choose best. Choose tasty.” And with its diverse and expansive menu, that should be easy to do, with hummus, falafel, flatbreads, and more.

Two of the best times to visit this cultural and religious city is during Hajj Season from June to July and during Ramadan from March to April. Transportation is available via private car, public transportation, and ride hailing.