Entrance to this holy city is only permitted by Muslims, so if you’re a non-Muslim, this is not the vacation for you. If you are Muslim, Mecca is one of the most, if not the most, amazing cities to visit. With places like the “Mountain of Light” and the Masjid al-Haram mosque, Muslims will be immediately captivated by this city. Whether you’re performing the Hajj or visiting for leisure, Mecca has many important places for you to check out!
The first place you must see is Masjid al-Haram, Islam’s most sacred mosque where many Muslims perform spiritual rites in their process called Hajj. Also referred to as the Great Mosque of Mecca, the Masjid al-Haram is the largest mosque in the world and covers an area of more than 350,000 square meters. That means it can hold up to 820,000 worshippers at once! The mosque dates back to the 7th century and has been expanded since. The King Fahd Gate is a sight to see, and the new outdoor prayer area on the southeast side of the mosque is a new addition. Start your trip to Mecca off right with a visit to the Majid al-Haram mosque.
While you’re in the Masjid al-Haram, take a look the the Kaaba, a building at the center of the mosque. The Kaaba is the most sacred site in Islam and is considered the “House of Allah”. Muslims face the Kaaba while praying, regardless of where they are in the world. The building is made of granite, while the inside of the Kaaba is made of marble and limestone, and stands at around 43 feet high. On the bottom left corner of the Kaaba is where you’ll find the Black Stone, a revered relic that dates back to the times of Adam and Eve. Many who make their hajj to Mecca attempt to kiss the stone on their journey, an homage to the Muhammad who is reported to have done the same. The stone is held together by a silver frame and fastened to the Kaaba. Both the Kaaba and the Black Stone are important in the Islamic religion and are great places to visit on your vacation.
The Masjid e Taneem is a mosque located about 10 minutes from Mecca. Those who live in Mecca and want to make the pilgrimage to the city usually visit this mosque in order to enter into the state of Ihram before walking into Mecca. It has beautiful indoor facilities and includes palm trees lining the exterior of some portions of the building. Take a trip to Jabal al-Nour, a hill that contains an important cave in the Islamic religion. The cave is thought to be the place where Muhammad spent much of his time meditating and the spot where he received his first revelation from God. Needless to say, this is a tremendously important site to Muslims.
Located just a few miles outside of Mecca is a small “town” called Mina. During the Hajj pilgrimage, Mina provides over 100,000 air-conditioned tents to visiting Muslims. It is also the place where Muslims throw stones to commemorate the moment when the Prophet Abraham stoned the Devil who came between him and the command Allah had sent him. Muslims spend the first day and night of Hajj in Mina. Take note that men and women are not allowed to sleep together in Mina. For those making the pilgrimage, Mina is a great place to begin the Hajj journey and meet thousands of others doing the same.
For all your accommodation needs, check out Tripping.com. With over 1,000 vacation rentals, and most of them air-conditioned, you’ll find exactly what you need for your journey to Mecca. Stay in the eastern portion of the city to be closer to Mina, and toward the heart of the city to be within walking distance to the Great Mosque of Mecca.
Although you can find taxis nearly everywhere in Mecca, the best way to get around the city is by foot. The traffic can be miserable and you’ll end up paying for a pricey ride to get where you want to be. Fly into King Abdulaziz International Airport—the Hajj specific terminal was built to handle 80,000 passengers at the same time—and hop on the SAPTCO bus which will take you from Jeddah to Mecca. Then, easily walk or take a taxi to your accommodations.
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