Islam’s holiest city, Mecca is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad. It’s the beating heart of Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Province and is dotted with sacred sites. Every year, millions of Muslims descend on the city for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. They make a beeline for the Grand Mosque, which encircles the Kaaba shrine.
Things to Do
Mecca is home to a string of religious sites, with the Grand Mosque dominating the city. It steps up as the largest mosque in the world and was built to enclose the sacred Kaaba building and the Black Stone relic.
After paying your respects, visit the Museum of the Prophet, a privately owned space dedicated to the study of the Quran. If you want to stretch your legs, Jabal al-Nour mountain is an easy climb and offers sweeping views of the city.
Khalid Ibn Al Waleed is one of Mecca’s busiest streets, with most pilgrims passing through on their way to the Grand Mosque. Vendors sell everything from prayer carpets and perfume to street food and fresh juice.
Mecca has no major airport, which means most travellers fly into Jeddah then travel onwards by car or bus. Public buses run throughout the city, with plenty of taxis also cruising the streets. During Hajj, walking is often the quickest way to get from A to B as Mecca’s streets can get congested.