The main purpose of the railway was to establish a connection between Constantinople , the capital of the Ottoman Empire and the seat of the Islamic Caliphate , and Hejaz in Arabia , the site of the holiest shrines of Islam and the holy city of Mecca, the destination of the Hajj annual pilgrimage. Another important reason was to improve the economic and political integration of the distant Arabian provinces into the Ottoman state, and to facilitate the transportation of military forces. Railways were experiencing a building boom in the late s, and the Hejaz region was one of the many areas up for speculation. The first such proposal involved a railway stretching from Damascus to the Red Sea.
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Hicaz Demiryolu Kitabesi - Picture of Damascus, Syria