Spiritual voyages have a way of making you feel closer to your spiritual guide. They give you a sense of belonging and purpose that can only be achieved by actually embarking on them.
Many have tried to visit Madinah to get just this experience, but they have found it hard for one reason or another. Well, now, thanks to City Sightseeing, you can comfortably see all the main sights in Madinah.
City Sightseeing is in operation in 160 different countries around the world. In Madinah, it is under the supervision of the Madinah Development Authority and is being run by Jalwa.
City Sightseeing offers tourists a chance to visit the main sights in major cities, allowing them the chance to hop in and out of City Sightseeing buses as they please. Once done, they can then hop into the next City Sightseeing bus as they arrive at the designated stops every half hour.
This kills the regulation of having to wait for a whole tour group in order to explore a specific site. Now, this service has been launched in Madinah offering a special bus for tourists to visit all the historical sites and the main landmarks.
Now, about the exhilarating trip! The two-hour trip involves a cultural and historical talk on the bus that is transmitted in English, Arabic, Persian, French, Malaysian, Indonesian and Urdu. All this happens in double-decker buses that carry 63 passengers per trip.
Actually, according to the operators, these buses carry an approximate of over 670,000 passengers a year and they are planning on raising this number to 1.35m.
There are currently 11 stops on the two-hour trip though there are plans to increase this number to 33. This would assume the fact that the time of taking on the trip would be longer. City Sightseeing controllers in Madinah are looking to turn the city into a tourist destination and believe that this move would help in achieving this goal.
Here are the current 11 stops in the tour:
1. The tour begins at Gate 21 at the Holy Mosque. This is on the north side of the Mosque.
2. The next stop is at the Al-Salam Gate whose main gate leads to the spot on the West side of the Holy Mosque where pilgrims offer greetings to the Prophet
3. Al- Manakha is the third stop. Here, tourists get to visit the spot the Prophet Muhammad put up a market and is the origin of the Al-Gamama Mosque which is also referred to as the Cloud Mosque. This is where the Prophet used to offer his Eid prayers as well as the rain beseeching prayers. From this spot, tourists can see other mosques like Abu Bakar Mosque as well as the Omar Mosque.
4. The next stop is the Al- Baqi Cemetery which is a holy graveyard on the south-eastern side of the Holy Mosque. This is where many Companions, as well as the family of the Prophet, were buried.
5. The Uhad Mountain marks the fifth stop. This is where the Battle of Uhad happened. Tourists get a chance to climb the hill where the Prophet positioned archers during the famous battle. There are vendors here from whom tourists can pick up souvenirs and herbs and such.
6. The Al- Qiblatain Mosque marks the place where the Prophet was ordered to change the direction of his prayers to the Grand Mosque in Makkah from the Al-Aqsa in Bayt.
7. The Quba Mosque marks the next stop. Pilgrims come here and offer their Saturday prayers as was the habit of the Prophet. Visitors can also buy manuscripts of the city’s major sights and some Arabic manuscripts from the exhibition close by as well local herbs, prayer beads and flowers from the vendors near the mosque.
8. The Al-Nour is the next stop where people can relax, shop, eat and kids can get entertained as it is a modern shopping mall.
9. If anyone does not enjoy the services at the eighth stop, they have a chance for a different experience at the next stop; the Sultana Street. It too is a mall with great eating spots.
10. The next stop is the breathtaking Seven Mosques. In essence, this is one big mosque that is comprised of seven smaller mosques. It is built to the south of the famous Sala’Mountain where the Trench Battle/ the Khandaq Battle took place. This is also where the Al- Fath Mosque is based, where the Prophet was promised victory over Makkah, after praying.
11. The final stop is at the Al- Hijaz Station. Here, the tourists get to see the old Ottoman era railway station, which is now a museum set apart to depict the story of the Holy City.