The ‘What to Do’ of Mecca Attractions
First of all, it is important to note that the town of Mecca is not for everyone. This isn’t to say that the city is in anyway unenjoyable. Actually, it is quite the opposite. However, unfortunately for travellers who are not of the Muslim faith, entry into the city is prohibited.
Mecca is one of the world’s most desirable cities to visit. This is somewhat because of its mysterious ambiance, but largely because of its famous attractions and unsurpassed landmarks. No other city in the world boasts what Mecca can. It is an ancient city. It is a holy city. These two combinations always make for an incredible combination.
Mecca rests in the western provinces of Saudi Arabia. Many would say that Mecca is overshadowed by its tourist-magnet neighbour, Jeddah. However, with only a certain percentage of the world given permission to experience the Islamic holy city, this is somewhat biased.
If Mecca did change its laws and allowed non-Muslim visitors into the city, there are quite a number of attractions travellers would certainly visit.
Firstly, visitors would undoubtedly head straight to heart and soul of, not only Mecca, but of the Islamic world. There aren’t too many places in the world that are blessed with such an attraction. Of course, this refers to the Masjid Al-Haram, which is also called the Grand Mosque. Inside the mosque lies the Kaaba. This is found in the centre of the mosques main square, and is the most sacred icons of Islam. It is this that Muslims pray towards from every corner of the globe.
Also within the Grand Mosque, visitors can find the Well of Zamzam. This is a fountain of water that is revered for its supposed healing powers. Illnesses, hunger, and thirst are believed to be ‘cured’ by the ailing powers of the spring.
The Grand Mosque is also located in a beautiful area of the city. Despite its ancient status and beautiful structure, there are numerous modern structures that have already been constructed or are being constructed. These high-rises add a phenomenal backdrop to the mosque, and show that even in such an ancient settlement, development is still on the go. Some of these high-rises are Mecca hotels.
Away from the Sacred Mosque, but still within the city of Mecca, visitors can experience Jabal al-Noor. This is a sacred peak that is believed to be the very spot where Prophet Muhammed first met Archangel Gabriel, and received the teachings of the Quran. Of course, this site is quite holy for Muslims.
Also within Mecca’s urban area, travellers can enjoy a range of shopping pleasures. This is a common pastime for all tourists to the city of Mecca, as the stores are generally located within markets, where items are as varied as the nations of Islam. Of course, visitors will find a lot of Islamic-related merchandise, such as prayer rugs. But, there is also a great range of arts, crafts, clothing, accessories and souvenirs. Bargaining is a great way to experience an important part of the shopping culture in Mecca too.
About five kilometres outside the city of Mecca lies one of the most important areas of the region. The area of Mina is a desert landscape that might not look like much when the Hajj pilgrimage isn’t happening. However, during the Hajj, which sees millions of Muslims making a pilgrimage to Mecca, the entire valley is filled with tents that house the millions of Muslims in attendance. This is also near the famous site, Jamarat Bridge, which is where Ibrahim is said to have met face to face with and then stoned the devil.
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