Jeddah Saudi Arabia
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Makkah

The Blessed city, Muslims often refer to Makkah as 'Makkah Al - Mukarramah' meaning 'Makkah, the Honoured City'. Its was the birthplace of the Holy Qu'ran was first revealed to him 40 years later. Makkah's ancient sacred mosque surrounds the Ka'ba, the cubic structure some 15 meters tall, draped in a gold - embroidered black silk cover, which represents one of the most ancient symbols of Islam. When it was completed, Abraham was commanded by God to call mankind to make pilgrimage to it. Throughout history, geographers, philosophers and historians, such as the second century Greek thinker, Ptolemy, have written about the spiritual significance of Makkah.

Makkah is located in western Saudi Arabia, is the holiest city in Islam. It is strictly forbidden for Non-Muslims to enter the city and this is strongly enforced. Road signs to guide Muslims are provided. During prayer times, streets near the Mosque may get crowded with mosque goers due to most Muslims having a preference for praying at the Sacred Mosque. A pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the Hajj, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, and it is obligatory for all Muslims with the physical and financial ability to make it. Over three million Muslims visit the city during the month of Dhu'l-Hijjah yearly. Visits outside this month are known as minor pilgrimages or Umrah, and while not compulsory, they are strongly encouraged. This is also the place where Prophet Muhammad was born. Mecca also has a very rich history as it is a very old city which has been considered sacred since the early middle ages. It is also the birthplace of Islam and is the most sacred place for Muslims.

Mecca, much like the rest of Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast a desert climate with very high summer temperatures. Mecca has no winter and the "coldest" part of the year features temperatures from 18°C (64°F) to 30°C (86°F), while 35°C (95°F) hittings aren't uncommon.

By plane

Jeddah is the gateway to Mecca. The Hajj Terminal at King Abdulaziz International Airport (IATA: JED), used only for the Hajj, is served mostly by charter flights, although there are some scheduled services. During Umrah, scheduled services use the airport's other terminals.

By car

There is an excellent modern multi-lane highway from Jeddah. During the Hajj pilgrimage season it is jammed with buses full of pilgrims. At any other time, traffic is extremely light for the size of the road.

A few miles outside Mecca, there is a cutoff referred to as the "Christian bypass". Turn along this highway to drive another 50 miles out of the way to reach the lovely mountain town of Taif. Taif, at 5000 feet elevation, was the former summer palace of the Saudi Kings. If you remain on the main highway, there is a police checkpoint just after the exit, where non-Muslims are kept out of the holy city.

By train

The Haramain High Speed Railway, which links Mecca with Jeddah and Medina, opened in 2018. Note that Mecca station is located within the city limits, and is open to Muslims only.

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