interesting facts about mecca

7 Interesting Facts about Mecca

Mecca, or in Arabic Makkah, is in Saudi Arabia and is the birthplace of Muhammad and the holiest city of the Islamic religion. All able Muslims must do Hajj by visiting Mecca at least once in their lifetime. In fact, it’s only Muslims who can enter Mecca, non-Muslims are forbidden to enter this holy city. If you do get to visit Mecca, you’ll find the largest mosque in the world and the highest prayer room in the world. You’ll also find the sacred Kabba and the site of the world’s largest human gathering. Ready to learn more? Here are some of the most interesting facts about Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

7 Interesting Facts About Mecca

1. Mecca is a city in Saudi Arabia

The city of Mecca is located in western Saudi Arabia in the Sarawat (Sarat) Mountains, which run parallel to the eastern coast of the Red Sea. It is the capital of the Makkah Province, which is one of the 13 provinces of Saudi Arabia. As of 2018, the population of the Makkah Province was about 8.8 million inhabitants making it the most populous of the Saudi provinces. As of 2022, the population of the city of Mecca is 2,114,675.

interesting facts about mecca

2. Mecca is the holiest city of the Islamic religion

Those who practice the Islamic faith believe that the descendants of Ishmael (the first son of Abraham) first inhabited Mecca. Muhammad, the founder of Islam and the proclaimer of the Qurʾān, was born in Mecca in 570.

3. Mecca is closed to non-Muslims

Mecca is a city of Islam and strict laws are enforced regarding people who don’t follow the Islamic faith. For example, the public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited. The government of Saudi Arabia also bans all non-Muslims from entering the holy city of Mecca.

interesting facts about mecca

4. The largest mosque in the world is in Mecca

Being the holiest city of the Islamic religion, it comes as no surprise that the largest mosque in the world is in Mecca. Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām (The Sacred Mosque), also called the Grand Mosque of Mecca, has nine minarets – the largest amount of minartes of any mosque in the world. The second caliph (ruler of the Islamic community) built the mosque in 638, with later caliphs adding to the structure.

5. Mecca is home to the sacred Kaaba

Workers built the Grand Mosque of Mecca around the Kaaba (Ka’bah or Kabah). This shrine predates Islam and Muslims believe the prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail built the Kaaba as a place of worship. The Kaaba, meaning cube in Arabic, is constructed from grey stone and marble and is the tall square building located near the centre of the Great Mosque. For most of the year, a large black cloth called the kiswah covers the Kaaba. The Kaaba is positioned so that its four corners roughly correspond with the points of the compass. Inside, there are three pillars that support the roof and silver and gold lanterns hanging from the ceiling. During prayer, Muslims face the direction of the Kaaba.

6. The Kaaba is the site of the world’s largest human gathering

The Kaaba is the “House of God” and all devout and able Muslims must attempt a Hajj (pilgrimage) to this holy site at least once in their lifetime. The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam that are central to the Muslim faith. The annual Hajj has to take place between the eighth and 13th days of the month of “Dhul-Hijjah,” the 12th month of the Islamic calendar year. If a Muslim makes the pilgrimage to the Kaaba at any other time of year it is an Umrah, not a Hajj. The Hajj is the world’s largest human gathering with an average number of attendees of 2,269,145 per year. The largest Hajj (3,161,573 pilgrims) took place in 2012.

interesting facts about mecca

7. The world’s highest prayer room is in Mecca

The world’s highest musalla (prayer room) is in the Mecca Clock Royal Tower hotel. This is the third-tallest building and fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world. The musalla is located some 600 meters above sea level inside the hotel’s clock which is the world’s largest clock face. This also happens to be the closest musalla to the Kaaba, which is located a mere 500 meters away.

interesting facts about mecca

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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