The Hejaz, which is also known as al-Hijaz, is a region in the western part of Saudia Arabia. It consists of the cities of Jeddah, Yanbu, Medina, Tabuk, Taif, and Mecca and is considered the most cosmopolitan locality in the Arabian Peninsula. The region is bounded by the Red Sea to the west, Jordan to the north, Najd to the east, and the Asir Region to the south. Situated along the Red Sea Rift, Hejaz is recognized for its darker and more volcanic sand.
Its northern part was inhabited even as early as the 6th century BCE when the Chaldean kings of Babylon made Tayma the province’s summer capital. After becoming part of the Nabataean kingdom in 100-200 BCE, Hejaz was controlled by Baghdad until 1258.
After 1845, the Ottomans ruled the region and built the Damascus-Medina railroad. In 1916, Sharif Hussein ibn Ali led the revolt against the Ottomans, ruined the railroad, and declared himself the king of Hejaz. In 1932, along with Nejd, the kingdom joined Al-Hasa and Qatif, forming the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
As the site of the Islamic cities of Medina and Mecca, the two holiest places in Islam, the Hejaz has been an important historical and political landscape in the Islamic and Arab world.
The region’s economy that once relied on gold mining is now driven by pilgrimage spending, commerce, light industries, agricultural production of cereals and dates, and oil deposits.
The Kingdom of Hejaz used the Arabian pound as its currency. In 1925, the Arabian National Bank of Hedjaz which was run by an Egyptian diplomat, H. Habib Lotfallah, was granted an exclusive right to issue Arabian pound banknotes. In 1925, the bank issued banknotes printed by Draeger in Paris, France. Reflected on the obverse of these notes significant landmarks outside of the Hedjaz. Before this set of notes was delivered, Sharif Hussein ibn Ali was overthrown and was replaced by Ibn Sa’ud. Hence, the notes were only placed in storage and were never issued.