Hejaz Railway Museum

museum kereta api hijaz
Image: https://13martyrs.wordpress.com/hejaz-railway-museum-madinah-images/

Subhi started the engine and soon we were out of Nabawi Mosque’s basement. Our destination is a cream-colored European building surrounded by a tall black iron fence. The building looks striking due to it distinction from other buildings that are generally square and white colored.

Once there, Subhi and i walked along the inner part of this two-storey building to see some of Madinah’s heritage during the Ottoman Empire age. From the paintings we could learn thaht the city of Madinah in the 1800s have defensive wall and bastions. From the yellowish paintings we could also found that the old landscape of the city and the Nabawi. No wonder if the museum holds a lot of Ottoman relics due to their presence in Hijaz during the 17th century. The building itself was one of the railroad stations which that lies from Istanbul Turkey to Hijaz (now part of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).

The existence of the railway line known as the Hijaz Railway is a proof of The Ottoman’s concern for Moslem community. Hajj pilgrims who depart from Turkey, Syria, or Jordan can shorten the traveling time than departing by horses or camels. In addition to serving pilgrims, the station also facilitated the deployment of Ottoman armies whose territory stretches wide. During the first world war, this railway played an important role in restraining the British and French troops attempt to control Syam (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan). They were only able to move freely after an English agent named T.E Lawrence trained the Bedouin Arabs to blow up railroads using dynamite.

Satisfied to explore the inner part, Subhi and I moved to the museum yard that still holds passenger platforms, railroad tracks, wooden-walled cars, and of course black locomotives that use steam power. I imagine the heavy work of a machinist who used to drive this machine. While a machinist holds the wheel and focuses on the streets, his colleagues ‘gladly’ shovel the mounds of black coal into the furnace.

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