Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Tora T

Location

Mecca is located on an old caravan trade route in the Hijaz Mountain region of Saudi Arabia. If you travel 45 miles east of Mecca you will find the Red Sea Port of Jeddah. Mecca's hot desert climate is a given because it is located in a desert valley.
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Description

The Great Mosque in Mecca is a large religious structure built around the Kaaba, which is known as the holiest shrine in Islam. The Mosque is a rectangular courtyard surrounded by covered prayer areas. It is truly beautiful to look at, especially at night. Mecca itself is hot and dry.

History

In Roman time, Mecca was called "Macoraba" and was an important trade and religious center. It gained importance once Muhammad was born and later took over Mecca. It was there that Muhammad created his religion called Islam. It is said that Adam and Eve met in Mecca after searching for each other for 200 years. It is also believed that Adam died and was buried in Mecca.

Who considers Mecca sacred?

Muslims call Mecca a religious center and consider it the holiest of Muslim cities. To prove their devoutness, some Muslims take a pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca. A hajj is considered very important and obligatory to all able Muslims.

Hajj information & getting into Mecca

As mentioned before, a hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca that is special to Muslims. A hajj is extremely difficult, so most Muslims only go once in their lifetime. People of other religions may not take the hajj to Mecca. About 3 million Muslims gather for the hajj each year. It is a long journey to Mecca. However, after the lengthy journey, one cannot simply enter Mecca. There is an area with a several mile wide radius surrounding Mecca where non-Muslims may not enter. To be allowed in, one must profess they have undergone a state of ritual purity and consecration. Once they are proven Muslim, they may enter Mecca and turn in their clothing in exchange for two seamless white sheets to wear.
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Why is Mecca sacred? What role does it play in worship?

Some wonder why Mecca is so important to Muslims. The most important reason is because Mecca contains the Ka'aba, which was constructed by Abraham around the black stone. Mecca also has a role in worship. Devout Muslims pray facing Mecca five times per day. The Great Mosque in Mecca is where millions of Muslims have gone to pray over the years around the black stone. Mecca and the Ka'aba are very important to Muslims.
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Three sacred features found in Mecca

The Ka'aba, the Black Stone, and the Well of Zamzam are three important features in Mecca. First, the Ka'aba is a large cube structure in the center of the mosque in Mecca. Draped over the cube is a black cloth containing gold calligraphy. This cloth, called a kiswa, is replaced yearly. The Black Stone is located in the southeast corner of the mosque and is mounted in silver. It is believed that it was sent from Heaven by Allah. A very lucky person would get the chance to kiss the stone and receive good fortune. Finally, the Well of Zamzam is a drinking well that contains water that is said to have special properties such as healing effects and the ability to quench hunger and thirst. Muslims are drawn to these sacred religious places.

Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts about Mecca and the fascinating things inside.

  • Some non-Muslims have made it into Mecca
  • There is an emoji of the Ka'aba
  • The Ka'aba is said to be the first thing created on Earth
  • Believed to be where heavenly bliss and power directly touches Earth
  • The Ka'aba has been destroyed and recreated many times