Mecca - the holiest city of Islam
Non-Muslims are strictly prohibited from entering the holy city of Mecca.>
Mecca or “Al-Mecca al-Mukkarramah”,“the Venerable”, is the capital of the Saudi Arabian province, which is in the western part of the vast country. It is located in the region of Al Hijaz and the most important cities beside Mecca are Medina, Jeddah and Taif. Mecca, after Riyadh and Jeddah, is the third largest city in the country. Historic Mecca is the cradle of Islam.
Mecca is the "Sacred Mosque" Al-Masjid al-Haram with seven minarets and the assets therein Holy Ka'bah, the holiest site of Islam. The annual pilgrimage to Mecca, in addition the alms gift, the prayer (five times during the day) and the celebration of Ramadan is a cornerstone (Arkan) of Islam. The Hajj is mandatory and should be at least carried out once in the life of a Muslim who is financially and physically in a position. There are two types of Islam pilgrimages to Mecca: The main pilgrimage (Hajj) will take place during the Muslim month of Dhu al-Hijjah, and brings 2-3 million believer to Mecca. The smaller pilgrimage, the Umrah, can be performed at any time of the year.
During the Hajj is the population of Mecca triples for a short time, so that special tent cities must be arranged for the pilgrims. The Saudi government also provides the believers with food and drink. An incredible logistical challenge.
The importance of the city of Mecca in the heart of every Muslim is particularly apparent in the direction of prayer (qibla). Wherever one calls Allah in the world and prays to him, doing it in the direction in which Mecca lies. Each mosque in the world has a unique marker on which describes the situation of Mecca. Many Muslims believe that references to Mecca were already included in the texts of the Jewish Torah and the Christian Old Testament. Suspected text can be for example found in Psalm 84. Even if this relation is controversial, however, it is certain that the Egyptian geographer Ptolemy, the city already mentioned as "Makoraba" in the 2nd Century.
The importance of MECCA based on the Holy Ka'bah (arabic "Cube"). According to the Muslim faith, this is the first “House of God” - originally built by Adam - once rebuilt by the Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim) and his son Ishmael after it was once forgotten and ruin. Long before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (s.) and the expansion of Islam the Ka'bah held as a polytheistic shrine closely with the Arab soul and the holiest site of the Bedouins. During the pilgrimage, the Ka'bah, which is wrapped with a decorative black brocade cover (kiswat al-ka' bah) and embroidered in gold with Qur'anic verses of the Holy Kaaba, becomes circled seven times by the believers. They also try to touch or kiss the black stone, “Hacer ul Esvet”, in the Ka'bah. According to Islamic understanding the "black stone" was handed over to Abraham by the Angel Gabriel (Jibril - Turkish Cebrail), which set it in the building of cubes.
Mecca was the Birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (s.), 570, the prophet of Islam and also one of the most important historical figures of all time. According to his sermons against the polytheism and for a turn to Allah, the only God, that no other god but Almighty Allah. Prophet Muhammad (s.) had to leave Mecca and went to Yathrib Oasis (now Medina) with his other companions. There Prophet Muhammad became the religious, political and military leaders of the new religion of Islam, which is a complete grasp of all religions and their Prophets, Muhammad as the last prophet sent by God.
Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter Mecca by Saudi law. Those who use a fake Muslim identity (to enter) may be prosecuted and arrested by Saudi authorities. For all non-Muslims a special "Christian Detour Road" must be used.
For necessary information for the whole country, e.g. for currency, immigration regulations, health issues, etc., go to Saudi Arabia.