Saturday, January 10, 2009

Journey to Hajj - Makkah

Pedestrian precinct between Makkah City
Commercial Buildings (L) and Masjidil Haram (R)

Mecca (Makkah)

From: World Encyclopedia

City in w Saudi Arabia and the holiest city of Islam. The birthplace of the prophet Muhammad, only Muslims are allowed in the city. Mecca was originally home to an Arab population of merchants. When Muhammad began his ministry here, the Meccans rejected him. The flight or Hejira of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 marked the beginning of the Muslim era. In 630, Muhammad's followers captured Mecca, and made it the centre of the first Islamic empire. Egypt controlled the city in the 13th century. The Ottoman Turks held it from 1517 to 1916, when Hussein Ibn Ali secured Arabian independence.
In 1924, Mecca fell to the forces of Ibn Saud, who later founded the Saudi Arabian kingdom. Much of Mecca's commerce depends on Muslim pilgrims undertaking the Hajj. After World War II, the city's wealth increased through oil revenues. Pop. (2002) 1,541,800.