How Bosnia’s Muslims helped build the Ottoman Empire’s Hejaz Railway

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Source: TRT World

By Hamza Karcic

Bosnian Muslims living outside the Ottoman Empire financially supported Sultan Abdulhamid II’s ambitious Hejaz railway project.

On 1 September 1900, the construction of a major railway in the Ottoman Empire commenced. The Hejaz Railway, set to connect Damascus and Medina, was conceived of as a project of both religious and strategic significance.

The new railway was aimed at facilitating convenient and efficient travel for Muslims making the pilgrimage to Medina in present-day Saudi Arabia for Hajj. It would also further strengthen the central government’s control over distant territories in the empire.

Though the idea had been around for some time, Sultan Abdulhamid II took a keen interest in bringing the project to fruition. Timed to coincide with the anniversary of his ascension to the throne, the beginning of the railway construction inaugurated one of the last major infrastructure projects in the Ottoman Empire.

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