‘The Hijaz Railway was one of the most important achievements during the Ottoman period... ’
The Ottomans changed the Hajj
route (Darb al-Hajj al-Sham) which follows the mountains east of Wadi Araba, known as the King's Highway, to a new route which lay along the edge of the desert, known as Darb
al-Bint after the daughter of Sultan Salim I, who had complained of bandits on the King's Highway. A series of forts and pilgrimage stations were built along this new route to protect pilgrims and provide them with water, food and merchandise.
The Hijaz Railway was one of the most important achievements during the Ottoman period, completed in 1908 during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hameed II. The main purpose of the Hijaz railroad was to transport pilgrims from Damascus to Medina
in Saudi Arabia through Jordan. The system was severely damaged during the First World War, but some sections are still functioning, for example Damascus to Amman and Amman to Qatraneh.