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For other uses, see Mecca (disambiguation). Mecca_sentence_0



مكة Bakkah بكة Mother of all Settlements ام القرىMecca_header_cell_0_0_0

CountryMecca_header_cell_0_1_0 Saudi ArabiaMecca_cell_0_1_1
ProvinceMecca_header_cell_0_2_0 Mecca ProvinceMecca_cell_0_2_1
GovernorateMecca_header_cell_0_3_0 Mecca GovernorateMecca_cell_0_3_1
MayorMecca_header_cell_0_5_0 Usama al-BarrMecca_cell_0_5_1
Provincial GovernorMecca_header_cell_0_6_0 Khalid bin Faisal Al SaudMecca_cell_0_6_1
TotalMecca_header_cell_0_8_0 1,200 km (500 sq mi)Mecca_cell_0_8_1
LandMecca_header_cell_0_9_0 760 km (290 sq mi)Mecca_cell_0_9_1
ElevationMecca_header_cell_0_10_0 277 m (909 ft)Mecca_cell_0_10_1
Population (2015)Mecca_header_cell_0_11_0
TotalMecca_header_cell_0_12_0 1,578,722Mecca_cell_0_12_1
Estimate (2020)Mecca_header_cell_0_13_0 2,042,000Mecca_cell_0_13_1
RankMecca_header_cell_0_14_0 3rdMecca_cell_0_14_1
Demonym(s)Mecca_header_cell_0_15_0 Makki

مكي Makkâwi مكاويMecca_cell_0_15_1

Time zoneMecca_header_cell_0_16_0 UTC+3 (Arabian Standard Time)Mecca_cell_0_16_1
WebsiteMecca_header_cell_0_17_0 Mecca_cell_0_17_1

Mecca, officially Makkah al-Mukarramah (Arabic: مكة المكرمة‎, romanized: Makkat al-Mukarramah, lit. Mecca_sentence_1

'Makkah the Noble') and commonly shortened to Makkah, is the holiest city in Islam and the capital of the Makkah Province of Saudi Arabia. Mecca_sentence_2

The city is 70 km (43 mi) inland from Jeddah on the Red Sea, in a narrow valley 277 m (909 ft) above sea level. Mecca_sentence_3

Its last recorded population was 1,578,722 in 2015. Mecca_sentence_4

The estimated metro population in 2020 is 2.042 million, making it the third-most populated city in the kingdom. Mecca_sentence_5

Pilgrims more than triple this number every year during the Ḥajj pilgrimage, observed in the twelfth Hijri month of Dhūl-Ḥijjah. Mecca_sentence_6

Mecca is the birthplace of Muhammad. Mecca_sentence_7

The Hira cave atop the Jabal al-Nur ("Mountain of Light") is just outside the city and is where Muslims believe the Qur'an was first revealed to Muhammad. Mecca_sentence_8

Visiting Mecca for the Hajj is an obligation upon all able Muslims. Mecca_sentence_9

The Great Mosque of Makkah, known as the Masjid al-Haram, is home to the Ka'bah, believed by Muslims to have been built by Abraham and Ishmael, is one of Islam's holiest sites and the direction of prayer for all Muslims (qibla), cementing Mecca's significance in Islam. Mecca_sentence_10

Muslim rulers from in and around the region long tried to take the city and keep it in their control, and thus, much like most of the Hejaz region, the city has seen several regime changes, which contributes to its rich history. Mecca_sentence_11

The city was finally conquered in the Saudi conquest of Hejaz by Ibn Saud and his allies in 1925. Mecca_sentence_12

Since then, Mecca has seen a tremendous expansion in size and infrastructure, with newer, modern buildings such as the Abraj Al Bait, the world's fourth-tallest building and third-largest by floor area, towering over the Great Mosque. Mecca_sentence_13

The Saudi government has also carried out the destruction of several historical structures and archaeological sites, such as the Ajyad Fortress. Mecca_sentence_14

Non-Muslims (Kuffar) are strictly prohibited from entering the city. Mecca_sentence_15

Muslims from around the world visit the city, not only for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, but also as tourists to visit regional landmarks such as the 'Aisha Mosque (Masjid 'Aisha) and the sites visited by pilgrims in the Hajj and 'Umrah. Mecca_sentence_16

Mecca is now home to two of the most expensive buildings in the world, the Masjid al-Haram, valued at 100 billion US dollars, and the Abraj al-Bait complex, valued at 15 billion US dollars. Mecca_sentence_17

Under the Saudi government, Mecca is governed by the Mecca Regional Municipality, a municipal council of 14 locally elected members headed by the mayor (called Amin in Arabic) appointed by the Saudi government. Mecca_sentence_18

As of May 2015, the mayor of the city is Dr. Osama bin Fadhel Al-Barr. Mecca_sentence_19

The City of Mecca amanah, which constitutes Mecca and the surrounding region, is the capital of the Mecca Province, which includes the neighboring cities of Jeddah and Ta'if, even though Jeddah is considerably larger in population compared to Mecca. Mecca_sentence_20

The Provincial Governor of the province from 16 May 2007 is Prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud. Mecca_sentence_21

History Mecca_section_0

Etymology Mecca_section_1

Mecca has been referred to by many names. Mecca_sentence_22

As with many Arabic words, its etymology is obscure. Mecca_sentence_23

Widely believed to be a synonym for Makkah, it is said to be more specifically the early name for the valley located therein, while Muslim scholars generally use it to refer to the sacred area of the city that immediately surrounds and includes the Ka'bah. Mecca_sentence_24

Bakkah Mecca_sentence_25

The Qur'an refers to the city as Bakkah in Surah Al Imran (3), verse 96, Mecca_sentence_26

This is presumed to have been the name of the city at the time of Abraham (Ibrahim in Islamic tradition) and it is also transliterated as Baca, Baka, Bakah, Bakka, Becca, Bekka, among others. Mecca_sentence_27

Makkah, Makkah al-Mukarramah and Mecca Mecca_sentence_28

In South Arabic, the language in use in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula at the time of Muhammad, the b and m were interchangeable. Mecca_sentence_29

This is presumed to have been the origin of the current form of the name. Mecca_sentence_30

"Makkah" is the official transliteration used by the Saudi government and is closer to the Arabic pronunciation. Mecca_sentence_31

The government adopted Makkah as the official spelling in the 1980s, but is not universally known or used worldwide. Mecca_sentence_32

The full official name is Makkah al-Mukarramah (Arabic: مكة المكرمة‎, romanized: Makkat al-Mukarramah, lit. Mecca_sentence_33

'Makkah the Honored'). Mecca_sentence_34

"Makkah" is used to refer to the city in the Qur'an in Surah Al-Fath (48), verse 24. Mecca_sentence_35

The word "Mecca" in English has come to be used to refer to any place that draws large numbers of people, and because of this some English-speaking Muslims have come to regard the use of this spelling for the city as offensive. Mecca_sentence_36

Nonetheless, Mecca is the familiar form of the English transliteration for the Arabic name of the city. Mecca_sentence_37

The consensus in academic scholarship is that "Macoraba", the place mentioned in Arabia Felix by Claudius Ptolemy, is Mecca. Mecca_sentence_38

Many etymologies have been proposed but the most suitable one is that it is derived from the Old South Arabian root "M-K-R-B" which means temple. Mecca_sentence_39

Other names Mecca_sentence_40

Another name used for Mecca in the Qur'an is at 6:92 where it is called Umm al-Qurā (أُمّ ٱلْقُرَى, meaning "Mother of all Settlements". Mecca_sentence_41

The city has been called several other names in both the Qur'an and ahadith. Mecca_sentence_42

Another name used historically for Mecca is Tihāmah. Mecca_sentence_43

According to Arab and Islamic tradition, another name for Mecca, Fārān, is synonymous with the Desert of Paran mentioned in the Old Testament at Genesis 21:21. Mecca_sentence_44

Arab and Islamic tradition holds that the wilderness of Paran, broadly speaking, is the Tihamah coastal plain and the site where Ishmael settled was Mecca. Mecca_sentence_45

Yaqut al-Hamawi, the 12th century Syrian geographer, wrote that Fārān was "an arabized Hebrew word, one of the names of Mecca mentioned in the Torah." Mecca_sentence_46

Prehistory Mecca_section_2

In 2010, Mecca and the surrounding area became an important site for paleontology with respect to primate evolution, with the discovery of a Saadanius fossil. Mecca_sentence_47

Saadanius is considered to be a primate closely related to the common ancestor of the Old World monkeys and apes. Mecca_sentence_48

The fossil habitat, near what is now the Red Sea in western Saudi Arabia, was a damp forest area between 28 million and 29 million years ago. Mecca_sentence_49

Paleontologists involved in the research hope to find further fossils in the area. Mecca_sentence_50

Early history (up to 5th century CE) Mecca_section_3

The early history of Mecca is still largely disputed, as there are no unambiguous references to it in ancient literature prior to the rise of Islam and no architecture from the time of Muhammad. Mecca_sentence_51

The Roman Empire took control of part of the Hejaz in 106 CE, ruling cities such as Hegra (now known as Mada'in Saleh), located around 800 km (500 mi) north of Mecca. Mecca_sentence_52

Even though detailed descriptions of Western Arabia were established by the Romans, such as by Procopius, there are no references of a pilgrimage and trading outpost such as Mecca. Mecca_sentence_53

Potential ancient references Mecca_sentence_54

The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus writes about Arabia in his work Bibliotheca historica, describing a holy shrine: "And a temple has been set up there, which is very holy and exceedingly revered by all Arabians". Mecca_sentence_55

Claims have been made this could be a reference to the Ka'bah in Mecca. Mecca_sentence_56

However, the geographic location Diodorus describes is located in northwest Arabia, around the area of Leuke Kome, closer to Petra and within the former Nabataean Kingdom and Roman province of Arabia Petraea. Mecca_sentence_57

Ptolemy lists the names of 50 cities in Arabia, one going by the name of "Macoraba". Mecca_sentence_58

There has been speculation since 1646 that this could be a reference to Mecca, but many scholars see no compelling explanation to link the two names. Mecca_sentence_59

Bowersock favors the identity of the former, with his theory being that "Macoraba" is the word "Makkah" followed by the aggrandizing Aramaic adjective rabb (great). Mecca_sentence_60

The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus also enumerated many cities of Western Arabia, most of whom can be identified. Mecca_sentence_61

According to Bowersock, he did mention Mecca as "Geapolis" or "Hierapolis", the latter one meaning "holy city", referring to the sanctuary of the Kaaba, well known already in pagan times. Mecca_sentence_62

Patricia Crone, from the Revisionist school of Islamic studies on the other hand, writes that "the plain truth is that the name Macoraba has nothing to do with that of Mecca [...] if Ptolemy mentions Mecca at all, he calls it Moka, a town in Arabia Petraea" (in northwest Arabia near present-day Petra). Mecca_sentence_63

The first direct reference to Mecca in external literature occurs in 741 CE, in the Byzantine-Arab Chronicle, though here the author places it in Mesopotamia rather than the Hejaz. Mecca_sentence_64

Given the inhospitable environment, and lack of historical references in Roman, Persian and Indian sources, historians including Patricia Crone and Tom Holland have cast doubt on the claim that Mecca was a major historical trading outpost. Mecca_sentence_65

However, other scholars such as Glen W. Bowersock disagree and assert that Mecca was a major trading outpost. Mecca_sentence_66

Mecca is mentioned in the following early Qur'anic manuscripts: Mecca_sentence_67


  • Codex Is. 1615 I, folio 47v, radiocarbon dated to 591-643 CE.Mecca_item_0_0
  • Codex Ṣanʿāʾ DAM 01–29.1, folio 29a, radiocarbon dated between 633 and 665 CE.Mecca_item_0_1
  • Codex Arabe 331, folio 40 v, radiocarbon dated between 652 and 765 CE.Mecca_item_0_2

Islamic narrative Mecca_sentence_68

In the Islamic view, the beginnings of Mecca are attributed to the Biblical figures, Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael. Mecca_sentence_69

The civilization of Mecca is believed to have started after Ibrāhīm (Abraham) left his son Ismāʿīl (Ishmael) and wife Hājar (Hagar) in the valley at Allah's command. Mecca_sentence_70

Some people from the Yemeni tribe of Jurhum settled with them, and Isma'il reportedly married two women, one after divorcing the first, on Ibrahim's advice. Mecca_sentence_71

At least one man of the Jurhum helped Ismāʿīl and his father to construct or according to Islamic narratives, reconstruct, the Ka'bah ('Cube'), which would have social, religious, political and historical implications for the site and region. Mecca_sentence_72

Muslims see the mention of a pilgrimage at the Valley of Baca in the Old Testament chapter Psalm 84:3–6 as a reference to Mecca, similar to the Qur'an at Surah 3:96. Mecca_sentence_73

In the Sharḥ al-Asāṭīr, a commentary on the Samaritan midrashic chronology of the Patriarchs, of unknown date but probably composed in the 10th century CE, it is claimed that Mecca was built by the sons of Nebaioth, the eldest son of Ismāʿīl or Ishmael. Mecca_sentence_74

Thamudic inscriptions Mecca_sentence_75

Some Thamudic inscriptions which were discovered in the south Jordan contained names of some individuals such as ʿAbd Mekkat (عَبْد مَكَّة, "Servant of Mecca"). Mecca_sentence_76

There were also some other inscriptions which contained personal names such as Makki (مَكِّي, "Makkahn"), but Jawwad Ali from the University of Baghdad suggested that there's also a probability of a tribe named "Makkah". Mecca_sentence_77

Under the Quraish Mecca_section_4

Some time in the 5th century, the Ka'bah was a place of worship for the deities of Arabia's pagan tribes. Mecca_sentence_78

Mecca's most important pagan deity was Hubal, which had been placed there by the ruling Quraish tribe. Mecca_sentence_79

and remained until the Conquest of Mecca by Muhammad. Mecca_sentence_80

In the 5th century, the Quraish took control of Mecca, and became skilled merchants and traders. Mecca_sentence_81

In the 6th century, they joined the lucrative spice trade, since battles elsewhere were diverting trade routes from dangerous sea routes to more secure overland routes. Mecca_sentence_82

The Byzantine Empire had previously controlled the Red Sea, but piracy had been increasing. Mecca_sentence_83

Another previous route that ran through the Persian Gulf via the Tigris and Euphrates rivers was also being threatened by exploitations from the Sassanid Empire, and was being disrupted by the Lakhmids, the Ghassanids, and the Roman–Persian Wars. Mecca_sentence_84

Mecca's prominence as a trading center also surpassed the cities of Petra and Palmyra. Mecca_sentence_85

The Sassanids however did not always pose a threat to Mecca, as in 575 CE they protected it from a Yemeni invasion, led by its Christian leader Abraha. Mecca_sentence_86

The tribes of southern Arabia asked the Persian king Khosrau I for aid, in response to which he came south to Arabia with foot-soldiers and a fleet of ships near Mecca. Mecca_sentence_87

By the middle of the 6th century, there were three major settlements in northern Arabia, all along the south-western coast that borders the Red Sea, in a habitable region between the sea and the Hejaz mountains to the east. Mecca_sentence_88

Although the area around Mecca was completely barren, it was the wealthiest of the three settlements with abundant water from the renowned Zamzam Well and a position at the crossroads of major caravan routes. Mecca_sentence_89

The harsh conditions and terrain of the Arabian peninsula meant a near-constant state of conflict between the local tribes, but once a year they would declare a truce and converge upon Mecca in an annual pilgrimage. Mecca_sentence_90

Up to the 7th century, this journey was intended for religious reasons by the pagan Arabs to pay homage to their shrine, and to drink Zamzam. Mecca_sentence_91

However, it was also the time each year that disputes would be arbitrated, debts would be resolved, and trading would occur at Meccan fairs. Mecca_sentence_92

These annual events gave the tribes a sense of common identity and made Mecca an important focus for the peninsula. Mecca_sentence_93

The Year of the Elephant (570 CE) Mecca_sentence_94

The "Year of the Elephant" is the name in Islamic history for the year approximately equating to 550-552 CE, when, according to Islamic sources such as Ibn Ishaq, Abraha descended upon Mecca, riding an elephant, with a large army after building a cathedral at San'aa, named al-Qullays in honor of the Negus of Axum. Mecca_sentence_95

It gained widespread fame, even gaining attention from the Byzantine Empire. Mecca_sentence_96

Abraha attempted to divert the pilgrimage of the Arabs from the Ka'bah to al-Qullays, effectively converting them to Christianity. Mecca_sentence_97

According to Islamic tradition, this was the year of Muhammad's birth. Mecca_sentence_98

Abraha allegedly sent a messenger named Muhammad ibn Khuza'i to Mecca and Tihamah with a message that al-Qullays was both much better than other houses of worship and purer, having not been defiled by the housing of idols. Mecca_sentence_99

When Muhammad ibn Khuza'i got as far as the land of Kinana, the people of the lowland, knowing what he had come for, sent a man of Hudhayl called ʿUrwa bin Hayyad al-Milasi, who shot him with an arrow, killing him. Mecca_sentence_100

His brother Qays who was with him, fled to Abraha and told him the news, which increased his rage and fury and he swore to raid the Kinana tribe and destroy the Ka'bah. Mecca_sentence_101

Ibn Ishaq further states that one of the men of the Quraysh tribe was angered by this, and going to Sana'a, entering the church at night and defiling it; widely assumed to have done so by defecating in it. Mecca_sentence_102

Abraha marched upon the Ka'bah with a large army, which included one or more war elephants, intending to demolish it. Mecca_sentence_103

When news of the advance of his army came, the Arab tribes of Quraysh, Kinanah, Khuza'a and Hudhayl united in the defense of the Ka'bah and the city. Mecca_sentence_104

A man from the Himyarite Kingdom was sent by Abraha to advise them that Abraha only wished to demolish the Ka'bah and if they resisted, they would be crushed. Mecca_sentence_105

Abdul Muttalib told the Meccans to seek refuge in the hills while he and some members of the Quraysh remained within the precincts of the Kaaba. Mecca_sentence_106

Abraha sent a dispatch inviting Abdul-Muttalib to meet with Abraha and discuss matters. Mecca_sentence_107

When Abdul-Muttalib left the meeting he was heard saying, Mecca_sentence_108

Abraha eventually attacked Mecca. Mecca_sentence_109

However, the lead elephant, known as Mahmud, is said to have stopped at the boundary around Mecca and refused to enter. Mecca_sentence_110

It has been theorized that an epidemic such as by smallpox could have caused such a failed invasion of Mecca. Mecca_sentence_111

The reference to the story in Quran is rather short. Mecca_sentence_112

According to the 115th Surah of the Qur'an, Al-Fil, the next day, a dark cloud of small birds sent by Allah appeared. Mecca_sentence_113

The birds carried small rocks in their beaks, and bombarded the Ethiopian forces and smashed them to a state like that of eaten straw. Mecca_sentence_114

Economy Mecca_sentence_115

Camel caravans, said to have first been used by Muhammad's great-grandfather, were a major part of Mecca's bustling economy. Mecca_sentence_116

Alliances were struck between the merchants in Mecca and the local nomadic tribes, who would bring goods – leather, livestock, and metals mined in the local mountains – to Mecca to be loaded on the caravans and carried to cities in Shaam and Iraq. Mecca_sentence_117

Historical accounts also provide some indication that goods from other continents may also have flowed through Mecca. Mecca_sentence_118

Goods from Africa and the Far East passed through en route to Syria including spices, leather, medicine, cloth, and slaves; in return Mecca received money, weapons, cereals and wine, which in turn were distributed throughout Arabia. Mecca_sentence_119

The Meccans signed treaties with both the Byzantines and the Bedouins, and negotiated safe passages for caravans, giving them water and pasture rights. Mecca_sentence_120

Mecca became the center of a loose confederation of client tribes, which included those of the Banu Tamim. Mecca_sentence_121

Other regional powers such as the Abyssinians, Ghassanids, and Lakhmids were in decline leaving Meccan trade to be the primary binding force in Arabia in the late 6th century. Mecca_sentence_122

Muhammad and the conquest of Mecca Mecca_section_5

Main articles: Muhammad, Conquest of Mecca, Muhammad in Mecca, and List of expeditions of Muhammad Mecca_sentence_123

Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570, and thus Islam has been inextricably linked with it ever since. Mecca_sentence_124

He was born in a minor faction, the Banu Hashim, of the ruling Quraysh tribe. Mecca_sentence_125

It was in Mecca, in the nearby mountain cave of Hira on Jabal al-Nour, that, according to Islamic tradition, Muhammad began receiving divine revelations from God through the archangel Jibreel in 610 AD. Mecca_sentence_126

Advocating his form of Abrahamic monotheism against Meccan paganism, and after enduring persecution from the pagan tribes for 13 years, Muhammad emigrated to Medina (hijrah) in 622 with his companions, the Muhajirun, to Yathrib (later renamed Medina). Mecca_sentence_127

The conflict between the Quraysh and the Muslims is accepted to have begun at this point. Mecca_sentence_128

Overall, Meccan efforts to annihilate Islam failed and proved to be costly and unsuccessful. Mecca_sentence_129

During the Battle of the Trench in 627, the combined armies of Arabia were unable to defeat Muhammad's forces. Mecca_sentence_130

In 628, Muhammad and his followers wanted to enter Mecca for pilgrimage, but were blocked by the Quraysh. Mecca_sentence_131

Subsequently, Muslims and Meccans entered into the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, whereby the Quraysh and their allies promised to cease fighting Muslims and their allies and promised that Muslims would be allowed into the city to perform the pilgrimage the following year. Mecca_sentence_132

It was meant to be a ceasefire for 10 years; however, just two years later, the Banu Bakr, allies of the Quraish, violated the truce by slaughtering a group of the Banu Khuza'ah, allies of the Muslims. Mecca_sentence_133

Muhammad and his companions, now 10,000 strong, marched into Mecca and conquered the city. Mecca_sentence_134

The pagan imagery was destroyed by Muhammad's followers and the location Islamized and rededicated to the worship of Allah alone. Mecca_sentence_135

Mecca was declared the holiest site in Islam ordaining it as the center of Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj), one of the faith's Five Pillars. Mecca_sentence_136

Muhammad then returned to Medina, after assigning 'Akib ibn Usaid as governor of the city. Mecca_sentence_137

His other activities in Arabia led to the unification of the peninsula under the banner of Islam. Mecca_sentence_138

Muhammad died in 632. Mecca_sentence_139

Within the next few hundred years, stretched from North Africa into Asia and parts of Europe. Mecca_sentence_140

As the Islamic realm grew, Mecca continued to attract pilgrims from all across the Muslim world and beyond, as Muslims came to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Mecca_sentence_141

Mecca also attracted a year-round population of scholars, pious Muslims who wished to live close to the Kaaba, and local inhabitants who served the pilgrims. Mecca_sentence_142

Due to the difficulty and expense of the Hajj, pilgrims arrived by boat at Jeddah, and came overland, or joined the annual caravans from Syria or Iraq. Mecca_sentence_143

Medieval and pre-modern times Mecca_section_6

Mecca was never the capital of any of the Islamic states. Mecca_sentence_144

Muslim rulers did contribute to its upkeep, such as during the reigns of 'Umar (r. 634–644 CE) and 'Uthman ibn Affan (r. 644–656 CE) when concerns of flooding caused the caliphs to bring in Christian engineers to build barrages in the low-lying quarters and construct dykes and embankments to protect the area round the Kaaba. Mecca_sentence_145

Muhammad's return to Medina shifted the focus away from Mecca and later even further away when 'Ali, the fourth caliph, took power chose Kufa as his capital. Mecca_sentence_146

The Umayyad Caliphate moved the capital to Damascus in Syria and the Abbasid Caliphate to Baghdad, in modern-day Iraq, which remained the center of the Islamic Empire for nearly 500 years. Mecca_sentence_147

Mecca re-entered Islamic political history during the Second Fitna, when it was held by Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr and the Zubayrids. Mecca_sentence_148

The city was twice besieged by the Umayyads, in 683 and 692 and for some time thereafter, the city figured little in politics, remaining a city of devotion and scholarship governed by various other factions. Mecca_sentence_149

In 930, Mecca was attacked and sacked by Qarmatians, a millenarian Shi'a Isma'ili Muslim sect led by Abū-Tāhir Al-Jannābī and centered in eastern Arabia. Mecca_sentence_150

The Black Death pandemic hit Mecca in 1349. Mecca_sentence_151


  • Mecca_item_1_3
  • Mecca_item_1_4
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Ibn Battuta's description of Mecca Mecca_section_7

One of the most famous travelers to Mecca in the 14th century was Moroccan scholar and traveler, Ibn Battuta. Mecca_sentence_152

In his rihla (account), he provides a vast description of the city. Mecca_sentence_153

Around the year 1327 CE or 729 AH, Ibn Battuta arrived at the holy city. Mecca_sentence_154

Immediately, he says, it felt like a holy sanctuary and thus. Mecca_sentence_155

he started the rites of the pilgrimage. Mecca_sentence_156

He remained in Mecca for three years and left in 1330 CE. Mecca_sentence_157

During his second year in the holy city, he says his caravan arrived "with a great quantity of alms for the support of those who were staying in Mecca and Medina". Mecca_sentence_158

While in Mecca, prayers were made for (not to) the King of Iraq and also for Salaheddin al-Ayyubi, Sultan of Egypt and Syria at the Ka'bah. Mecca_sentence_159

Battuta says the Ka'bah was large, but was destroyed and rebuilt smaller than the original and that it contained images of angels and prophets including Jesus, his mother Mary and many others. Mecca_sentence_160

Battuta describes the Ka'bah as an important part of Mecca due to the fact that many people make the pilgrimage to it. Mecca_sentence_161

Battuta describes the people of the city as being humble and kind, and also willing to give a part of everything they had to someone who had nothing. Mecca_sentence_162

The inhabitants of Mecca and the village itself, he says, were very clean. Mecca_sentence_163

There was also a sense of elegance to the village. Mecca_sentence_164

Under the Ottomans Mecca_sentence_165

In 1517, the then Sharif of Mecca, Barakat bin Muhammad, acknowledged the supremacy of the Ottoman Caliph but retained a great degree of local autonomy. Mecca_sentence_166

In 1803 the city was captured by the First Saudi State, which held Mecca until 1813. destroying some of the historic tombs and domes in and around the city. Mecca_sentence_167

The Ottomans assigned the task of bringing Mecca back under Ottoman control to their powerful Khedive (viceroy) and Wali of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha. Mecca_sentence_168

Muhammad Ali Pasha successfully returned Mecca to Ottoman control in 1813. Mecca_sentence_169

In 1818, the Saud were defeated again but survived and founded the Second Saudi State that lasted until 1891 and led on to the present country of Saudi Arabia. Mecca_sentence_170

In 1853, Sir Richard Francis Burton undertook the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina disguised as a Muslim. Mecca_sentence_171

Although Burton was certainly not the first non-Muslim European to make the Hajj (Ludovico di Varthema did this in 1503), his pilgrimage remains one of the most famous and documented of modern times. Mecca_sentence_172

Mecca was regularly hit by cholera outbreaks. Mecca_sentence_173

Between 1830 and 1930, cholera broke out among pilgrims at Mecca 27 times. Mecca_sentence_174

Modern history Mecca_section_8

Hashemite Revolt and subsequent control by the Sharifate of Mecca Mecca_sentence_175

In World War I, the Ottoman Empire was at war with Britain and its allies. Mecca_sentence_176

It had successfully repulsed an attack on Istanbul in the Gallipoli Campaign and on Baghdad in the Siege of Kut. Mecca_sentence_177

The British agent T.E. Mecca_sentence_178 Lawrence conspired with the Ottoman governor, Hussain bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca to revolt against the Ottoman Empire and it was the first city captured by his forces in the 1916 Battle of Mecca. Mecca_sentence_179

Sharif's revolt proved a turning point of the war on the eastern front. Mecca_sentence_180

Hussein declared a new state, the Kingdom of Hejaz, declaring himself the Sharif of the state and Mecca his capital. Mecca_sentence_181

News reports in November 1916 via contact in Cairo with returning Hajj pilgrims, stated that with the Ottoman Turkish authorities gone, the Hajj of 1916 was free of the previous massive extortion and monetary demands made by the Turks who were agents of the Ottoman government. Mecca_sentence_182

Saudi Arabian conquest and modern history Mecca_sentence_183

Following the 1924 Battle of Mecca, the Sharif of Mecca was overthrown by the Saud family, and Mecca was incorporated into Saudi Arabia. Mecca_sentence_184

Under Saudi rule, much of the historic city has been demolished as a result of the Saudi government fearing these sites might become sites of association in worship beside Allah (shirk). Mecca_sentence_185

The city has been expanded to include several towns previously considered to be separate from the holy city and now is just a few kilometers outside the main sites of the Hajj, Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat. Mecca_sentence_186

Mecca is not served by any airport, due to concerns about the city's safety. Mecca_sentence_187

It is instead served by the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah (approx. Mecca_sentence_188

70 km away) internationally and the Ta'if Regional Airport (approx. Mecca_sentence_189

120 km away) for domestic flights. Mecca_sentence_190

The city today is at the junction of the two most important highways in all of the Saudi Arabian highway system, Highway 40, which connects the city to Jeddah in the west and the capital, Riyadh and Dammam in the east and Highway 15, which connects it to Medina, Tabuk and onward to Jordan in the north and Abha and Jizan in the south. Mecca_sentence_191

The Ottomans had planned to extend their railway network to the holy city, but were forced to abandon this plan due to their partaking in the First World War. Mecca_sentence_192

This plan was later carried out by the Saudi government, which connected the two holy cities of Medina and Mecca with the modern Haramain high-speed railway system which runs at 300 km/h (190 mph) and connects the two cities via Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport and King Abdullah Economic City near Rabigh within two hours. Mecca_sentence_193

The haram area of Mecca, in which the entry of non-Muslims is forbidden, is much larger than that of Medina. Mecca_sentence_194

1979 Grand Mosque seizure Mecca_sentence_195

See also: 1979 Grand Mosque seizure Mecca_sentence_196

On 20 November 1979, two hundred armed dissidents led by Juhayman al-Otaibi, seized the Grand Mosque, claiming the Saudi royal family no longer represented pure Islam and that the Masjid al-Haram and the Ka'bah, must be held by those of true faith. Mecca_sentence_197

The rebels seized tens of thousands of pilgrims as hostages and barricaded themselves in the mosque. Mecca_sentence_198

The siege lasted two weeks, and resulted in several hundred deaths and significant damage to the shrine, especially the Safa-Marwah gallery. Mecca_sentence_199

A multinational force was finally able to retake the mosque from the dissidents. Mecca_sentence_200

Since then, the Grand Mosque has been expanded several times, with many other expansions being undertaken in the present-day. Mecca_sentence_201

Destruction of Islamic heritage sites Mecca_sentence_202

Main article: Destruction of early Islamic heritage sites in Saudi Arabia Mecca_sentence_203

Under Saudi rule, it has been estimated that since 1985, about 95% of Mecca's historic buildings, most over a thousand years old, have been demolished. Mecca_sentence_204

It has been reported that there are now fewer than 20 structures remaining in Mecca that date back to the time of Muhammad. Mecca_sentence_205

Some important buildings that have been destroyed include the house of Khadijah, the wife of Muhammad, the house of Abu Bakr, Muhammad's birthplace and the Ottoman-era Ajyad Fortress. Mecca_sentence_206

The reason for much of the destruction of historic buildings has been for the construction of hotels, apartments, parking lots, and other infrastructure facilities for Hajj pilgrims. Mecca_sentence_207

Incidents during pilgrimage Mecca_sentence_208

Main article: Incidents during the Hajj Mecca_sentence_209

Mecca has been the site of several incidents and failures of crowd control because of the large numbers of people who come to make the Hajj. Mecca_sentence_210

For example, on 2 July 1990, a pilgrimage to Mecca ended in tragedy when the ventilation system failed in a crowded pedestrian tunnel and 1,426 people were either suffocated or trampled to death in a stampede. Mecca_sentence_211

On 24 September 2015, 700 pilgrims were killed in a stampede at Mina during the stoning-the-Devil ritual at Jamarat. Mecca_sentence_212

Significance in Islam Mecca_section_9

Mecca holds an important place in Islam and is the holiest city in all branches of the religion. Mecca_sentence_213

The city derives its importance from the role it plays in the Hajj and 'Umrah. Mecca_sentence_214

Masjid al-Haram Mecca_section_10

The Masjid al-Haram is the largest mosque in the world and the most expensive single building in the entire world, valued at 100 billion US dollars, as of 2020. Mecca_sentence_215

It is the site of two of the most important rites of both the Hajj and of the Umrah, the circumambulation around the Ka'bah (tawaf) and the walking between the two mounts of Safa and Marwa (sa'ee). Mecca_sentence_216

The masjid is also the site of the Zamzam Well. Mecca_sentence_217

According to Islamic tradition, a prayer in the masjid is equal to 100,000 prayers in any other masjid around the world. Mecca_sentence_218

Kaaba Mecca_section_11

Main article: Kaaba Mecca_sentence_219

There is a difference of opinion between Islamic scholars upon who first built the Ka'bah, some believe it was built by the angels while others believe it was built by Adam. Mecca_sentence_220

Regardless, it was built several times before reaching its current state, the most famous of these renovations being the one by Abraham (Ibrahim in Islamic tradition). Mecca_sentence_221

The Ka'bah is also the common direction of prayer (qibla) for all Muslims. Mecca_sentence_222

The surface surrounding the Ka'bah on which Muslims circumambulate it is known as the Mataf. Mecca_sentence_223

Hijr al-Aswad (The Black Stone) Mecca_section_12

The Black Stone is a stone, considered by scientists to be a meteorite or of similar origin and believed by Muslims to be of divine origin. Mecca_sentence_224

It is set in the eastern corner of the Ka’bah and it is Sunnah to touch and kiss the stone. Mecca_sentence_225

The area around the stone is generally always crowded and guarded by policemen to ensure the pilgrims' safety. Mecca_sentence_226

Maqam Ibrahim Mecca_section_13

This is the stone which Abraham stood on to build the higher parts of the Ka'bah. Mecca_sentence_227

It contains two footprints that are comparatively larger than average modern-day human feet. Mecca_sentence_228

The stone is raised and housed in a golden hexagonal chamber beside the Ka'bah on the Mataf plate. Mecca_sentence_229

Safa and Marwa Mecca_section_14

Main article: Safa and Marwa Mecca_sentence_230

Muslims believe that in the divine revelation to Muhammad, the Qur'an, Allah describes the mountains of Safa and Marwah as symbols of his divinity. Mecca_sentence_231

Walking between the two mountains seven times, 4 times from Safa to Marwah and 3 times from Marwah interchangeably, is considered a mandatory pillar (rukn) of 'Umrah. Mecca_sentence_232

Hajj and 'Umrah Mecca_section_15

The Hajj pilgrimage, also called the greater pilgrimage, attracts millions of Muslims from all over the world and almost triples Mecca's population for one week in the twelfth and final Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah. Mecca_sentence_233

In 2019, the Hajj attracted 2,489,406 pilgrims to the holy city. Mecca_sentence_234

The 'Umrah, or the lesser pilgrimage, can be done at anytime during the year. Mecca_sentence_235

Every adult, healthy Muslim who has the financial and physical capacity to travel to Mecca must perform the Hajj at least once in a lifetime. Mecca_sentence_236

Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage, is not obligatory, but is recommended in the Quran. Mecca_sentence_237

In addition to the Masjid al-Haram, pilgrims also must visit the nearby towns of Mina/Muna, Muzdalifah and Mount Arafat for various rituals that are part of the Hajj. Mecca_sentence_238

Jabal an-Nur Mecca_section_16

This is a mountain believed by Muslims to have been the place where Muhammad spent his time away from the bustling city of Mecca in seclusion. Mecca_sentence_239

The mountain is located on the eastern entrance of the city and is the highest point in the city at 642 meters (2,106 feet). Mecca_sentence_240

Hira'a Cave Mecca_section_17

Situated atop Jabal an-Nur, this is the place where Muslims believe Muhammad received the first revelation from Allah through the archangel Gabriel (Jibril in Islamic tradition) at the age of 40. Mecca_sentence_241

Geography Mecca_section_18

Mecca is located in the Hejaz region, a 200 km (124 mi) wide strip of mountains separating the Nafud desert from the Red Sea. Mecca_sentence_242

The city is situated in a valley with the same name around 70 km (44 mi) west of the port city of Jeddah. Mecca_sentence_243

Mecca is one of the lowest cities in elevation in the Hejaz region, located at an elevation of 277 m (909 ft) above sea level at 21º23' north latitude and 39º51' east longitude. Mecca_sentence_244

Mecca is divided into 34 districts. Mecca_sentence_245

The city centers on the al-Haram area, which contains the Masjid al-Haram. Mecca_sentence_246

The area around the mosque is the old city and contains the most famous district of Mecca, Ajyad. Mecca_sentence_247

The main street that runs to al-Haram is the Ibrahim al-Khalil Street, named after Ibrahim. Mecca_sentence_248

Traditional, historical homes built of local rock, two to three stories long are still present within the city's central area, within view of modern hotels and shopping complexes. Mecca_sentence_249

The total area of modern Mecca is over 1,200 km (460 sq mi). Mecca_sentence_250

Elevation Mecca_section_19

Mecca is at an elevation of 277 m (909 ft) above sea level, and approximately 70 km (44 mi) inland from the Red Sea. Mecca_sentence_251

It is one of the lowest in the Hejaz region. Mecca_sentence_252

Topography Mecca_section_20

The city center lies in a corridor between mountains, which is often called the "Hollow of Mecca". Mecca_sentence_253

The area contains the valley of al-Taneem, the valley of Bakkah and the valley of Abqar. Mecca_sentence_254

This mountainous location has defined the contemporary expansion of the city. Mecca_sentence_255

Sources of water Mecca_section_21

In pre-modern Mecca, the city used a few chief sources of water. Mecca_sentence_256

The first were local wells, such as the Zamzam Well, that produced generally brackish water. Mecca_sentence_257

The second source was the spring of 'Ayn Zubaydah (Spring of Zubaydah). Mecca_sentence_258

The sources of this spring are the mountains of Jabal Sa'd and Jabal Kabkāb, which are a few kilometers east of 'Arafah/'Arafat or about 20 km (12 mi) southeast of Mecca. Mecca_sentence_259

Water was transported from it using underground channels. Mecca_sentence_260

A very sporadic third source was rainfall which was stored by the people in small reservoirs or cisterns. Mecca_sentence_261

The rainfall, scant as it is, also presents the threat of flooding and has been a danger since earliest times. Mecca_sentence_262

According to al-Kurdī, there have been 89 floods by 1965. Mecca_sentence_263

In the last century, the most severe flood was that of 1942. Mecca_sentence_264

Since then, dams have been built to ameliorate this problem. Mecca_sentence_265

Climate Mecca_section_22

Mecca features a hot desert climate (Köppen: BWh), in three different plant hardiness zones: 10, 11 and 12. Mecca_sentence_266

Like most Saudi Arabian cities, Mecca retains warm to hot temperatures even in winter, which can range from 19 °C (66 °F) at night to 30 °C (86 °F) in the afternoon, but also, very rarely, fall to zero and subzero temperatures. Mecca_sentence_267

Summer temperatures are extremely hot and consistently break the 40 °C (104 °F) mark in the afternoon, dropping to 30 °C (86 °F) in the evening, but humidity remains relatively low, at 30–40%. Mecca_sentence_268

Rain usually falls in Mecca in small amounts scattered between November and January, with heavy thunderstorms also common during the winter. Mecca_sentence_269

Economy Mecca_section_23

The Meccan economy has been heavily dependent on the annual pilgrimage. Mecca_sentence_270

Income generated from the Hajj, in fact, not only powers the Meccan economy but has historically had far-reaching effects on the economy of the entire Arabian Peninsula. Mecca_sentence_271

The income was generated in a number of ways. Mecca_sentence_272

One method was taxing the pilgrims. Mecca_sentence_273

Taxes were especially increased during the Great Depression, and many of these taxes existed to as late as 1972. Mecca_sentence_274

Another way the Hajj generates income is through services to pilgrims. Mecca_sentence_275

For example, the Saudi flag carrier, Saudia, generates 12% of its income from the pilgrimage. Mecca_sentence_276

Fares paid by pilgrims to reach Mecca by land also generate income; as do the hotels and lodging companies that house them. Mecca_sentence_277

The city takes in more than $100 million, while the Saudi government spends about $50 million on services for the Hajj. Mecca_sentence_278

There are some industries and factories in the city, but Mecca no longer plays a major role in Saudi Arabia's economy, which is mainly based on oil exports. Mecca_sentence_279

The few industries operating in Mecca include textiles, furniture, and utensils. Mecca_sentence_280

The majority of the economy is service-oriented. Mecca_sentence_281

Nevertheless, many industries have been set up in Mecca. Mecca_sentence_282

Various types of enterprises that have existed since 1970 in the city include corrugated iron manufacturing, copper extraction, carpentry, upholstery, bakeries, farming and banking. Mecca_sentence_283

The city has grown substantially in the 20th and 21st centuries, as the convenience and affordability of jet travel has increased the number of pilgrims participating in the Hajj. Mecca_sentence_284

Thousands of Saudis are employed year-round to oversee the Hajj and staff the hotels and shops that cater to pilgrims; these workers in turn have increased the demand for housing and services. Mecca_sentence_285

The city is now ringed by freeways, and contains shopping malls and skyscrapers. Mecca_sentence_286

Human resources Mecca_section_24

Education Mecca_section_25

Formal education started to be developed in the late Ottoman period continuing slowly into Hashemite times. Mecca_sentence_287

The first major attempt to improve the situation was made by a Jeddah merchant, Muhammad ʿAlī Zaynal Riḍā, who founded the Madrasat al-Falāḥ in Mecca in 1911–12 that cost £400,000. Mecca_sentence_288

The school system in Mecca has many public and private schools for both males and females. Mecca_sentence_289

As of 2005, there were 532 public and private schools for males and another 681 public and private schools for female students. Mecca_sentence_290

The medium of instruction in both public and private schools is Arabic with emphasis on English as a second language, but some private schools founded by foreign entities such as International schools use the English language for medium of instruction. Mecca_sentence_291

Some of these are coeducational while other schools are not. Mecca_sentence_292

For higher education, the city has only one university, Umm Al-Qura University, which was established in 1949 as a college and became a public university in 1979. Mecca_sentence_293

Healthcare Mecca_section_26

Healthcare is provided by the Saudi government free-of-charge to all pilgrims. Mecca_sentence_294

There are ten main hospitals in Mecca: Mecca_sentence_295


  • Ajyad Hospital (مُسْتَشْفَى أَجْيَاد)Mecca_item_2_8
  • King Faisal Hospital (مُسْتَشْفَى ٱلْمَلِك فَيْصَل بِحَي ٱلشّشه)Mecca_item_2_9
  • King Abdulaziz Hospital (Arabic: مُسْتَشْفَى ٱلْمَلِك عَبْد ٱلْعَزِيْز بِحَي ٱلـزَّاهِر‎)Mecca_item_2_10
  • Al Noor Specialist Hospital (مُسْتَشْفَى ٱلنُّوْر ٱلتَّخَصُّصِي)Mecca_item_2_11
  • Hira'a Hospital (مُسْتَشْفَى حِرَاء)Mecca_item_2_12
  • Maternity and Children's Hospital (مُسْتَشْفَى ٱلْوِلَادَة وَٱلْأَطْفَال)Mecca_item_2_13
  • King Abdullah Medical City (مَدِيْنَة ٱلْمَلِك عَبْد ٱلله ٱلطِّبِيَّة)Mecca_item_2_14
  • Khulais General Hospital (مُسْتَشْفَى خُلَيْص ٱلْعَام)Mecca_item_2_15
  • Al Kamel General Hospital (مُسْتَشْفَى ٱلْكَامِل ٱلْعَام)Mecca_item_2_16
  • Ibn Sina Hospital (مُسْتَشْفَى ابْن سِيْنَا بِحَدَاء / بَحْرَه)Mecca_item_2_17

There are also many walk-in clinics available for both residents and pilgrims. Mecca_sentence_296

Several temporary clinics are set up during the Hajj to tend to wounded pilgrims. Mecca_sentence_297

Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic Mecca_section_27

In February 2020, Saudi Arabia temporarily banned foreigners from entering Mecca and Medina to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic in the Kingdom. Mecca_sentence_298

Culture Mecca_section_28

Mecca's culture has been affected by the large number of pilgrims that arrive annually, and thus boasts a rich cultural heritage. Mecca_sentence_299

As a result of the vast numbers of pilgrims coming to the city each year, Mecca has become by far the most diverse city in the Muslim world. Mecca_sentence_300

In contrast to the rest of Saudi Arabia, and particularly Najd, Mecca has, according to The New York Times, become "a striking oasis of free thought and discussion and, also, of unlikely liberalism as Meccans see themselves as a bulwark against the creeping extremism that has overtaken much Islamic debate". Mecca_sentence_301

Al Baik, a local fast-food chain, is very popular among pilgrims and locals alike. Mecca_sentence_302

Until 2018, it was available only in Mecca, Medina and Jeddah, and traveling to Jeddah just to get a taste of the fried chicken was common. Mecca_sentence_303

Sports Mecca_section_29

In pre-modern Mecca, the most common sports were impromptu wrestling and foot races. Mecca_sentence_304

Football is now the most popular sport in Mecca and the kingdom, and the city hosts some of the oldest sport clubs in Saudi Arabia such as Al Wahda FC (established in 1945). Mecca_sentence_305

King Abdulaziz Stadium is the largest stadium in Mecca with a capacity of 38,000. Mecca_sentence_306

Demographics Mecca_section_30

Mecca is very densely populated. Mecca_sentence_307

Most long-term residents live in the Old City, the area around the Great Mosque and many work to support pilgrims, known locally as the Hajj industry. Mecca_sentence_308

'Iyad Madani, the Saudi Arabian Minister for Hajj, was quoted saying, "We never stop preparing for the Hajj." Mecca_sentence_309

Year-round, pilgrims stream into the city to perform the rites of 'Umrah, and during the last weeks of eleventh Islamic month, Dhu al-Qi'dah, on average 2-4 million Muslims arrive in the city to take part in the rites known as Hajj. Mecca_sentence_310

Pilgrims are from varying ethnicities and backgrounds, mainly South and Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa. Mecca_sentence_311

Many of these pilgrims have remained and become residents of the city. Mecca_sentence_312

The Burmese are an older, more established community who number roughly 250,000. Mecca_sentence_313

Adding to this, the discovery of oil in the past 50 years has brought hundreds of thousands of working immigrants. Mecca_sentence_314

Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter Mecca under Saudi law, and using fraudulent documents to do so may result in arrest and prosecution. Mecca_sentence_315

The prohibition extends to Ahmadis, as they are considered non-Muslims. Mecca_sentence_316

Nevertheless, many non-Muslims and Ahmadis have visited the city as these restrictions are loosely enforced. Mecca_sentence_317

The first such recorded example of a non-Muslim entering the city is that of Ludovico di Varthema of Bologna in 1503. Mecca_sentence_318

Guru Nanak Sahib, the founder of Sikhism, visited Mecca in December 1518. Mecca_sentence_319

One of the most famous was Richard Francis Burton, who traveled as a Qadiriyya Sufi from Afghanistan in 1853. Mecca_sentence_320

Mecca Province is the only province where expatriates outnumber Saudis. Mecca_sentence_321

Architectural landmarks Mecca_section_31

Adorning the southern facade of the Masjid al-Haram, the Abraj al-Bait Complex, which towers over the Great Mosque, is a seven-building complex with the central clock tower having a length of 601 m (1,972 feet), making it the world's fourth-tallest building. Mecca_sentence_322

All seven buildings in the complex also form the third-largest building by floor area. Mecca_sentence_323

The Mecca Gate, known popularly as the Qur'an Gate, on the western entrance of the city, or from Jeddah. Mecca_sentence_324

Located on Highway 40, it marks the boundary of the Haram area where non-Muslims are prohibited from entering. Mecca_sentence_325

The gate was designed in 1979 by an Egyptian architect, Samir Elabd, for the architectural firm IDEA Center. Mecca_sentence_326

The structure is that of a book, representing the Quran, sitting on a rehal, or bookrest. Mecca_sentence_327

Communications Mecca_section_32

Press and newspapers Mecca_section_33

The first press was brought to Mecca in 1885 by Osman Nuri Pasha, an Ottoman Wāli. Mecca_sentence_328

During the Hashemite period, it was used to print the city's official gazette, Al Qibla. Mecca_sentence_329

The Saudi regime expanded this press into a larger operation, introducing the new Saudi official gazette of Mecca, Umm al-Qurā. Mecca_sentence_330

Mecca also has its own paper owned by the city, Al Nadwa. Mecca_sentence_331

However, other Saudi newspapers are also provided in Mecca such as the Saudi Gazette, Al Madinah, Okaz and Al Bilad, in addition to other international newspapers. Mecca_sentence_332

TV Mecca_section_34

Telecommunications in the city were emphasized early under the Saudi reign. Mecca_sentence_333

King Abdulaziz pressed them forward as he saw them as a means of convenience and better governance. Mecca_sentence_334

While under Hussein bin Ali, there were about 20 public telephones in the entire city; in 1936, the number jumped to 450, totaling about half the telephones in the country. Mecca_sentence_335

During that time, telephone lines were extended to Jeddah and Ta’if, but not to the capital, Riyadh. Mecca_sentence_336

By 1985, Mecca, like other Saudi cities, possessed modern telephone, telex, radio and television communications. Mecca_sentence_337

Many television stations serving the city area include Saudi TV1, Saudi TV2, Saudi TV Sports, Al-Ekhbariya, Arab Radio and Television Network and various cable, satellite and other specialty television providers. Mecca_sentence_338

Radio Mecca_section_35

Limited radio communication was established within the Kingdom under the Hashemites. Mecca_sentence_339

In 1929, wireless stations were set up in various towns in the region, creating a network that would become fully functional by 1932. Mecca_sentence_340

Soon after World War II, the existing network was greatly expanded and improved. Mecca_sentence_341

Since then, radio communication has been used extensively in directing the pilgrimage and addressing the pilgrims. Mecca_sentence_342

This practice started in 1950, with the initiation of broadcasts on the Day of 'Arafah (9 Dhu al-Hijjah), and increased until 1957, at which time Radio Makkah became the most powerful station in the Middle East at 50 kW. Mecca_sentence_343

Later, power was increased 9-fold to 450 kW. Mecca_sentence_344

Music was not immediately broadcast, but gradually folk music was introduced. Mecca_sentence_345

Transportation Mecca_section_36

Air Mecca_section_37

The only airport near the city is the Mecca East airport, which is not active. Mecca_sentence_346

Mecca is primarily served by King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah for international and regional connections and Ta'if Regional Airport for regional connections. Mecca_sentence_347

To cater the large number of Hajj pilgrims, this airport has Hajj Terminal, specifically for use in the Hajj season, which can accommodate 47 planes simultaneously and can receive 3,800 pilgrims per hour during the Hajj season. Mecca_sentence_348

Roads Mecca_section_38

Mecca, similar to Medina, lies at the junction of two of the most important highways in Saudi Arabia, Highway 40, connecting it to the important port city of Jeddah in the west and the capital of Riyadh and the other major port city, Dammam, in the east. Mecca_sentence_349

The other, Highway 15, connects Mecca to the other holy Islamic city of Medina approximately 400 km (250 mi) in the north and onward to Tabuk and Jordan. Mecca_sentence_350

While in the south, it connects Mecca to Abha and Jizan. Mecca_sentence_351

Mecca is served by four ring roads, and these are very crowded compared to the three ring roads of Medina. Mecca_sentence_352

Rapid transit Mecca_section_39

Al Masha'er Al Muqaddassah Metro Mecca_sentence_353

The Al Masha'er Al Muqaddassah Metro is a metro line in Mecca opened on 13 November 2010. Mecca_sentence_354

The 18.1-kilometer (11.2-mile) elevated metro transports pilgrims to the holy sites of 'Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina in the city to reduce congestion on the road and is only operational during the Hajj season. Mecca_sentence_355

It consists of nine stations, three in each of the aforementioned towns. Mecca_sentence_356

Mecca Metro Mecca_sentence_357

The Mecca Metro, officially known as Makkah Mass Rail Transit, is a planned four-line metro system for the city. Mecca_sentence_358

This will be in addition to the Al Masha'er Al Muqaddassah Metro which carries pilgrims. Mecca_sentence_359

Rail Mecca_section_40

Intercity Mecca_section_41

In 2018, a high speed intercity rail line, part of the Haramain High Speed Rail Project, named the Haramain high-speed railway line entered operation, connecting the holy cities cities of Mecca and Medina together via Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport and King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh. Mecca_sentence_360

The railway consists of 35 electric trains and is capable of transporting 60 million passengers annually. Mecca_sentence_361

Each train can achieve speeds of up to 300 kmh (190 mph), traveling a total distance of 450 km (280 mi), reducing the travel time between the two cities to less than two hours. Mecca_sentence_362

It was built by a business consortium from Spain. Mecca_sentence_363

See also Mecca_section_42


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