Saudi Arabia

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Mecca. Photo: Camera Eye


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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