Hejaz, more correctly spelt Hijaz, is a region in the Arabian Peninsular that includes both the Red Sea littoral and the holy Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina. It had been part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire since 1517. In 1845 the Ottomans strengthened their influence by taking greater control from the local chiefs. To consolidate the position further, and to facilitate the journey for pilgrims, a railway, known as the Hijaz Railway, was built between 1900 and 1908 from Damascus to Medina.
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