7 Interesting Facts About Mecca in Saudi Arabia

Mecca in Saudi Arabia is the holiest city of the Islamic religion. It is home to the largest mosque in the world, the highest prayer room in the world and is the site of the world’s largest human gathering. With so many amazing things to know about this fascinating city, here are some of the most interesting facts about Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

7 Interesting Facts About Mecca in Saudi Arabia

1. Mecca is a city in Saudi Arabia

Mecca, or in Arabic Makkah is a city in western Saudi Arabia. It is located in the Sarawat Mountains (Sarat), which run parallel to the eastern coast of the Red Sea. It is the capital of the Makkah Region. As of 2021, Mecca’s population is 2,078,766.

2. Mecca is the holiest city of the Islamic religion

People of Islam believe that Mecca was first inhabited by the descendants of Ishmael (the first son of Abraham). Muhammad, the founder of Islam and the proclaimer of the Qurʾān, was born in Mecca in 570. Because Mecca is a city of Islam, strict laws are enforced and the government of Saudi Arabia forbids all non-Muslims from entering the holy city of Mecca.

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3. Mecca is home to the world’s largest mosque

Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām (The Sacred Mosque), also known as the Grand Mosque of Mecca, is the largest mosque in the world. Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām has nine minarets and construction began on the mosque during the reign of Caliph Omar Ibn al-Khattab (634-644). The mosque was built around the Kaaba (Ka’bah or Kabah). This shrine predates Islam and Muslims believe it was built by the prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail as a place of worship.

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4. Mecca is home to the sacred Kaaba

The Kaaba is located near the centre of the Great Mosque. Muslims face the direction of the Kaaba during prayer. The cube-shaped structure is constructed from grey stone and marble. It 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. For most of the year, a large black cloth called the kiswah cover the Kaaba. 

5. The world’s largest human gathering

All devout and able Muslims must attempt a Hajj (pilgrimage) to the Kaaba, the “House of God” at least once in their lifetime. The annual Hajj made to the city of Mecca is the world’s largest human gathering. The average number of attendees is 2,269,145 per year, with the largest gathering, 3,161,573 pilgrims, taking place in 2012.

6. The Black Stone of Mecca was once white

The Black Stone of Mecca is located on the eastern corner of the Kaaba. According to Muslim tradition, Adam received the stone on his fall from paradise. During Hajj (pilgrimage) Muslims try to touch the stone and kiss it. Tradition states that the Black Stone was originally white but became black due to absorbing the sins of the pilgrims who have kissed and touched it.

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

You’ll find the world’s highest musalla (prayer room) in the Mecca Clock Royal Tower hotel. It is located 600 meters above sea level and is inside the world’s largest clock. It is also the closest musalla to the Ka’bah, which is located just 500 meters away.

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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