Photos from the amazing Hejaz Railway, connecting Ottoman Istanbul to Medina

In 1900 Sultan Abduhamid II announced to the world a unique project: Istanbul would be connected to the holy sanctuaries of Medina and Mecca by railway.

The railroad construction began in Damascus, reaching Dar’a in 1901, Amman in 1903, and on to Medina in 1908, spanning some 1300km.

Two years ago, in 2018, we came across this fascinating exhibition in Lebanon, held at the American University of Beirut, charting the line of the railway and revealing some amazing photos taken from the time.

These pictures are over 100 years old, and conjure an age of tradition, travel, deserts and adventure.

You can read more about the Hejaz Railway on Wikipedia.

Crossing the bridge
Transporting building materials for laying the tracks
Postcard for Damascus Station
Locomotive at Maan Station
Tunnel entrance
A train crossing the bridge
Medina Station
Laying the tracks
Transporting the pilgrims at Mafraq

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