Hijaz Railway

Hijaz Railway

LEGACY OF THE PILGRIMS’ ROAD

Located within the Wadi AlQura, a famed and important valley since ancient times, AlUla has long been a place of journey, travel and exploration.

It is a land traversed by the ancient and historic routes of trade, cultural exchange and pilgrimage that linked the Levant (countries on the eastern Mediterranean) and Egypt with the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. Routes of pilgrimage crossed the landscape of AlUla, as in its ancient past. As well as the Syrian and Egyptian routes, AlUla hosted part of the Aylah passage that connected Madinah to Aqaba in Jordan. Great importance was placed on these journey ways, and they were well maintained for pilgrims with forts, watchtowers and water sources.

HIjaz Railway

HIjaz Railway

Later, the Hijaz Railway followed the same routes and greatly improved the speed and safety of travel. Today, it is notable that both the Syrian Hajj Road and Hijaz Railway are on the UNESCO Tentative List for World Heritage.

Railway construction began in 1900, reaching Madinah in 1908 and opening in Damascus in 1913. As a result of World War I, the railway’s full 1,300 planned kilometres were never completed.

The Hijaz Railway Station is near Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Othamanic

Hegra Fort

Hegra Fort, built in the middle of the 18th century to shelter travellers, is situated at the southern end of the Hijaz Railway Station. The railway’s double water tower was built near the fort’s reservoir to take advantage of the ready supply of water, which enabled pilgrims to purchase fresh produce, including oranges, lemons and dates.

The Hijaz Railway’s telegraph staff were also stationed within the fort. Writings by foreign explorers in the late 1800s and early 1900s mention a small garden to the east and south of the fort with pomegranate trees and date palms. The fort and reservoir were renovated as part of the project to restore the buildings of the adjoining railway station.

Soon, visitors can tour the Hajj Museum, housed in this restored fort, to learn more about its history and role in pilgrim's journeys.

Visitor Information

You can visit Hijaz Railway as part of the Hegra experience.

Due to Covid-19 health and safety precautions, Hegra is operating at a limited capacity.

To avoid disappointment, we recommend you book Hegra tickets online before arrival. 

Alternatively, you may purchase your tickets at the information desk located at Winter Park.

COVID-19 Precautions
Body temperature checks are being carried out on all visitors arriving. Furthermore, in all public places, people are reminded to wear masks and maintain a safe distance of two metres apart and avoid physical contact unless absolutely necessary.

Staff and visitors alike are being prompted to wash their hands frequently with soap and water. You’ll find plenty of sanitisation stations at the main sites. Where handwashing facilities are not immediately available, sanitiser gel dispensers are provided.

A number of essential employees are on-site at any one time. Staff who come into contact with visitors are provided with masks and gloves. High-touch items and surfaces are disinfected frequently and areas are kept well ventilated.

A dedicated security team is on hand to help ensure the guidelines are observed. If you have any questions relating to travelling during the Covid-19 pandemic, please call the national helpline for tourism queries on 930, which is staffed around the clock.

Explore Hegra

Dive into the mysteries of Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site

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