Mecca, Saudi Arabia
"We have rendered the shrine a focal point for the people, and a safe sanctuary. You may use Abraham's shrine as a prayer house. We commissioned Abraham and Ishmael: 'You shall purify My house for those who visit, those who live there, and those who bow and prostrate.'" - Quran 2:125
Mecca (officially spelled Makkah) is a city in western Saudi Arabia. It is located near the Red Sea in the narrow, sandy Valley of Abraham, 909 feet above sea level. Mecca is the spiritual and geographical focal point for all Muslims. It was chosen by the Prophet Muhammad himself as the holy city of Islam and the direction (qibla) in which all Muslims should offer their prayers. Each year, during the Islamic month of Dhu'l-Hijja, thousands of Muslims from around the world join in a pilgrimage to Mecca (the Hajj), in fulfillment of one of the Five Pillars of Islam. For most Muslims, this is an event of a lifetime, full of meaning and spiritual renewal. Many also perform the minor Mecca pilgrimage, the Umrah, at various times throughout the year. Mecca is unique from other cities profiled on this website in that non-Muslims are not permitted to visit the holy city at any time. We hope, therefore, that this section on Mecca might help Muslims plan a pilgrimage to Mecca and non-Muslims experience a bit of this fascinating sacred place through photos, maps and descriptions.
- Mecca Map Our detailed, interactive city map of Mecca, showing the location of sacred sites and religious attractions.
- Mecca Photos Our galleries of hand-selected photos of religious sites in Mecca.
- Mecca Books Selected travel guides and other books on Mecca.
- Mecca Hotels Search availability, read reviews, browse photos, view a map and book a room in Mecca at the guaranteed lowest price.
Sacred Sites and Religious Attractions in Mecca
Al-Masjid al-Haram (The Holy Mosque)The holiest mosque in the world, the Haram Mosque has been much expanded from its original 7th-century form. Today it can accommodate up to 820,000 worshippers in air-conditioned comfort.
The Ka'baThe Ka'ba is believed to have been built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. Enshrining a sacred stone, it is said to be first place on earth that was created. It is the directional focus of worldwide Muslim prayers.