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The Donations That Paid For A Railway

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

A unique aspect of the Hejaz Railway was the way in which it was financed. In 1900, Sultan Abdulhamid II called upon the Islamic community to fund the construction project with donations. The campaign to collect contributions was a vast endeavour stretching far beyond the dominions of the Ottoman Empire. By contributing to the fund, believers from all over the world were able to feel that they were playing a part in the building of a railway that would ease the long and dangerous journey from Damascus to Mecca for pilgrims.

Medals were issued to the contributors according to the amount of their donations: gold, silver and cupro-nickel.

The medal has an image of a locomotive within a laurel wreath on one side and a Turkish inscription describing the award as 'The Hamidiah Hejaz Railway for Enthusiastic Service' on the other. The medals were presented with a red or green ribbon.

Ottoman medal for contributors to the Hejaz Railway donations campaign
Medal awarded to contributors to the Hejaz Railway donations fund

Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II Hejaz Railway
The Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II

Ottoman medal for the Hejaz Railway donations campaign
Cupro-nickel medal with ceremonial red ribbon

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WOW, some good stuff.


Feb 23, 2023

Interesting post about a fascinating railway

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