Medina is the second holy city of the Muslim world in Saudi Arabia, after Mecca. Located north of Mecca, Medina is a place where every year millions of believers come to worship and where the rule is that any person who is not Muslim may not proceed. Even the streets of Medina were inaccessible to those who profess another religion.
Located at 588 meters altitude, the full name is Madinat Rasul Allah or Medinat an-Nabi, ie The city of the prophet or al-Madina munauara, which means enlightened city. Actually the full name of the media is Madinat Rasul Allah salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
Medina is a city in the Hejaz region, in western Saudi Arabia and is the capital of Al Madinah Province. The holy city is important because of the fact that there are relics of the Prophet Mohammed. Medina has a population of 1.3 million people, during pilgrimages number of people jumps dramatically.
Situated in the historic fertile region where thousands of fruits are grown, as well as vegetables and cereals, it is 340 km north of Mecca, about 190 km from the Red Sea coast. The city has an important educational center in the face of the Islamic University of Madinah, and Taibah University, specializing in medical sciences and humanities.
Before Islam spread in the lands of Medina, the city was named Yathrib. In 622 the prophet Mohammed left Mecca and goes in the town of Medina, this is now known as the Hijrah. The year of this relocation is considered the source of Islamic chronology. Migration of the Prophet is based on the Islamic calendar year of starting at the arrival of Mohammed in Mecca. After this time, the town was renamed Medina-your-NABA.
Medina took 661 years to flourish, then Umayyad dynasty transferred the capital to Damascus. By the time Mohammed arrived in Medina, the village was riven by friction and disagreements of the various clans and religions. The prophet acted as a unifier, in whose hands the most powerful weapon was the Islamic religion. Medina fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1517. Wahhabis establish control in the village in 1804, but eight years later, it was again under control of the Turks at the head of Muhammad Ali.
Medina is surrounded by double walls, bastions and nine gates. In the heart of this city is the great mosque dedicated to Prophet Mohammed (Al-Masjid al-Nabawi), which was erected at the place where the Prophet Mohammed died on 6 June 632, in the mosque is the tomb of Mohammed, his daughter Fatima and the first caliphs Umar and Abu Bakr.
The sacred temple, center of pilgrimage for Muslims from around the world, extends over an area of 163000 square meters. The mosque of the Prophet, known as the Dome of the Prophet or green dome, was built near the home of Mohammed. Later, his home became part of the mosque, which was upgraded by the Caliph Al-Walid I.
Medina is actually the site of the three oldest mosques in the Islamic world. Besides the mosque of the Prophet, built here are more Masjid al-Qiblatain, where the Holy Prophet turned towards the Qiblah prayers from Jerusalem to Mecca. Quba Mosque is considered the most ancient and primordial in Islam. It was built at the time of the Prophet Mohammed, but ruined by lightning; probably about 850 and is then rebuilt.
Sunni extremist beliefs of Saudi Wahhabism are responsible for destroying a large part of the architectural heritage of the Medina. As a result of the so-called Saudi rule in the city were destroyed many buildings hundreds of years old. Many critics define this phenomenon as Saudi vandalism and argue that in Mecca and Medina for the past 50 years have removed more than 300 historic sites related to Mohammed, his family or his followers. Among these places is the house of Mohammed.