Sights & Landmarks in Mecca
- Masjid al-Haram (Sacred Mosque). The holiest site in Mecca and Islam is Grand Mosque. The massive mosque is the world's largest mosque and can accommodate up to 2 million people at once. The mosque has been continuously expanded and still going through major expansion and renovation. This mosque is the focal point of the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
- Kaaba. At the center of the grand mosque is Kaaba which is according to Muslim traditions, have been built by Prophet Abraham himself and his son, Prophet Ishmael. Covered in black cloth, it is circled seven times by Muslim pilgrims and to which Muslims face in the direction while performing Islamic prayers Salat. Black Stone set intact into the Kaaba's eastern cornerstone wall by Muhammad himself is an Islamic relic which, according to Muslim tradition, dates back to the time of Adam and Eve. Many Muslim pilgrims while doing Tawaf try to kiss and touch the sacred stone; however, this usually requires a lot of effort.
- Maqaam-e-Ibrahim. Next to Kaaba is a crystal dome called Maqaam-e-Ibrahim, which contains a rock that is believed to have an imprint of Abraham's foot. Traditions held that Abraham while constructing the high walls of Kaaba stood on the rock which miraculously rose up and let Abraham continue building.
- Al-Safa and Al-Marwah. These were the two small hills now well transformed into long galleries which are well-constructed with marble floor and equipped with air-conditions. Muslim traditions held that Hagar, wife of Abraham, ran back and forth between these two hills in search of water of her son Ismail. It is believed that she first climbed the hill of Al-Safa and later Al-Marwah. Today Muslim perform ritual walking here called Sa'ee involves walking between the two hills seven times. Each trip requires approximately 300m of walking and roughly 2.1km in total.
- Cave of Hira (Ghaar-e-Hira), Jabal Al Noor (3 kilometres from Mecca). The cave of Hira is an important site, since atop the mountain locally known as Jabal Al Noor is where Muslims believe Muhammed first had the Quran revealed to him from Allah through the angel Jebril. Pilgrims often climb the cave which stood at a height of 270m to see the place where Muhammad is believed to have received the first revelation of the Quran.
- Cave Thawr (Ghaar-e-Thawr), Jabal Thawr. This is the cave in which Prophet Muhammed hid in as he made departure to Yathrib (now Medina) from Mecca while being pursued by Quraish of Mecca who were planning to harm him. According to traditions, once Muhammad and his companion made entrance into the cave, the entrance was blocked by a spider which had cast a web to cover it and gave the impression to members of Quraish that no one has made entrance inside the cave since a long time thus saved life of Muhammad. Today, many pilgrims climb up the 1,405m high mountan to see the cave.
- Jannat al-Mu'alla. This is the cemetery in which companions and relatives of Prophet Muhammed are buried, including his first wife, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great great-grandfather.
- Al-Haramain Museum (متحف الحرم شریف). This museum has a lot of historical artifacts from different eras.
- Abraj Al Bait (Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel) (next to Grand Mosque). This 601m megatall building has become a modern symbol of Mecca. It is the third tallest building in the world and incorporates the world's largest clock face. The building house a five star hotel, a large prayer area capable of accommodating 10,000 people, a 5-story grand shopping mall, and numerous eateries.
- Mina. Mina is a neighborhood of Mecca. It has the nick name of Tent City, as there are hundred of thousands of air-conditioned tents in the area, which act as temporary accommodations for pilgrims during Hajj time. The pedestrian-only Jamaraat Bridge, where the symbolic ritual of Stoning of the Devil is done, is located here.
- Hill of Arafat (Jabal Rahma). 70m (230 ft) high Hill of Arafat is a granite hill in the outskirts of Mecca is the site where Prophet Muhammad stood and delivered the Farewell Sermon to the Muslims during the last day of his life. During Hajj, pilgrims spend the whole day on and around this hill doing prayers.
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