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Saudi Arabia

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Overview

Birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, home to the Kaaba, and the site of the first revelations of the Quran, Mecca is the holiest city in Islam. Every able-bodied Muslim with sufficient means is obligated to make the pilgrimage, or Hajj, to Mecca at least once in his or her life; this takes place during the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and sees millions of people arrive in the city and perform a series of rituals in a prescribed order. The largest mosque in the world, the Masjid al-Haram, surrounds the Kaaba - which before Muhammad was the focal point of numerous Arabian pagan religions. Non-Muslims are forbidden from entering Mecca.

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