Saudi Arabia is known as the birthplace of Islam, with the city of Mecca and its Grand Mosque (Masjid Al-Haram) being the first bodies of representation for the religion. Just north of Mecca, lies Medina (literally meaning “the city”), another important place in the history of Islam. This is where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) fled to after being persecuted; also where he amassed a great number of followers and spread his teachings to the rest of the world.
As the most important landmark of Medina, the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi mosque complex is located in the very heart of the city. It was built in 622 and its first structure was erected near the house of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him). The Al-Masjid an-Nabawi is the second holiest place in Islam, the third mosque built in history, and the second largest in the world, after Al-Haram. At the time of its construction, it also served as community center, court-martial, and religious school; nowadays it is an important destination for pilgrimage.
Although it has undergone many reforms, the basic plant of Al Nabawi remained and inspired the architecture of several mosques around the world. The original building was uncovered – the mosque still retains many open areas, which today are covered by these giant and beautiful parasols This gargantuan structure is specifically beautiful at night, when its lights reflect on the surrounding patterned marble floors, enhancing the beauty of the intricate minarets that tower over the city. Regardless of faith or nationality, the Al Nabawi is an incredible place to visit, both for its historical and architectural significance.