Madinah is known as the ‘radiant city’ and the ’enlightened city’. It is the City of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This serene city is steeped in Islamic history, and one cannot help but feel that one is walking in the footsteps of the Prophet (PBUH) while exploring the city.
The hop-on hop-off City Sightseeing Buses provide a good overview of a city when one is short of time and I’m a fan of them. I’ve used them in London, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Istanbul and many other cities. So when I heard that they were in Madinah too, I was curious to see what it was about. We had already done the normal private tours before and I wanted to see Madinah from a different perspective.
The bus depot is outside the Al Shaza hotel which is opposite the Taiba Shopping Centre. There are 2 routes, the Red Route and the Green Route, which cover 12 stops. We went on the Red Route which took about 1 hour 15 minutes. Personally, I think both routes should be combined to make one route as the Green Route is quite short.
The bus has commentary via earphones in 16 different languages, including English, Arabic, Turkish, Malaysian, Indonesian, Urdu, French and Persian which are the main languages spoken by the pilgrims. As the bus drove through the city, we listened to the commentary about the places we were seeing. We saw parts of Madinah we hadn’t seen before.
We stopped at Mount Uhud, Al Noor Mall, the Trench Battlefield, Masjid Quba, Al Qiblatain Mosque and the Al Hijaz Railway Station, inter alia. The Green Route covers Masjidun Nabawi, Jannatul Baqi and Al Manakh Square.
Mount Uhud was the site of the battle of Uhud, one of the most important battles in the early days of Islam, within which the Prophet's (PBUH) uncle Hamza (RA) was martyred. Of this mountain the Prophet (PBUH) declared, “This mountain loves us and we love it.” [Source: Muslim]
Masjid Quba was the first mosque built in Islam. “The Prophet (PBUH) used to go there every Saturday. He said “Whoever purifies himself in his house then comes to the mosque of Quba’ and prays there, he will have a reward like that for Umrah.”
Masjid Qiblatain (Mosque of the Two Qiblas) is where the Prophet (PBUH) was praying when the revelation of the Quran came to change the direction of the Qibla from Bait-al-Maqdis (Masjidul-Aqsa) in Jerusalem to the Ka’bah in Makkah.
This is the second largest mosque in the world and the second holiest site in Islam. Originally built by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), it houses his tomb as well as those of his two main companions – the first two caliphs. The mosque currently has a capacity of 1 million but it is also being constantly expanded.
The Trench Battlefield was the site of the Battle of the Trenches (Khandaq), another important battle in Islam. It is now home to a complex of six ancient mosques and a seventh modern one.
Jannatul Baqi is the main cemetery of Madinah. Buried here are many members of the Prophet's (PBUH) close family, around ten thousand of his companions (Sahabah) and many other prominent, pious personalities.
The Hijaz Railway was originally built to transport pilgrims from the city of Damascus in Syria to the city of Madinah. It was completed in 1908, but was severely damaged during the First World War. The Hejaz Railway Museum was opened in 2006 on the grounds of the restored historic Ottoman railway station.
Al Noor Mall is a modern, popular shopping centre in Madinah.
Al Manakh Square is a market square dating back to the Prophet's (PBUH) times.
Current prices (2022) on the Hop-on Hop-off Madinah Bus are as follows:
For more information on the hop-on hop-off Madinah bus , visit City Sightseeing Madinah.