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The Defence of Medina Station - Beyond the Call of Duty...

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

The main station building at Medina, the southern terminus of the Hejaz Railway, originally had one storey. The station's inauguration was on 1 Sept 1908, the anniversary of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II's accession to the throne. The 2nd level was added 6 years later.


Inauguration ceremony for  Medina Station on the Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia
At the time of its inauguration in 1908, Medina Station had only one storey

Medina Station on the Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia
Work being carried out to construct the 2nd storey of Medina Station in 1914

During the First World War, Medina Station would play a vital role in keeping the railway running, essential both for the defence of the city and the Hejaz region. Medina's strong fortifications and a professional, well-armed garrison of 14,000 under General Fakhri Pasha, enabled it to hold out until the end of the war and even beyond. When the Armistice of Mudros ended hostilities in October 1918, it was expected that Fakhri Pasha would surrender. However, the veteran commander considered it his solemn duty to maintain the defence of the Holy City until a personal order from the Sultan relieved him of the responsibility. He held out until 10th January 1919, when a group of his fellow officers mutinied and handed him over to the enemy.


Medina Station restoration on the Hejaz Railway in Saudi Arabia
Medina Station after the restoration project of 2004

A project for the restoration of the station was completed by the Saudis in 2004. The renovation work included the main station building, the engine workshop, the water tower and the station master's residence. As part of the project, the main building was refurbished to house an Islamic Museum, opened in 2006, where archaeological and ethnographic items relating to the history of Medina are currently exhibited.


Read more about Medina Station in the Route Guide.


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