Cities of Saudi Arabia: Mecca
The spiritual center and the sacred city for all Muslims of the planet, one of the three (along with the medina and Jerusalem) of the sacred cities of Islam, Mecca lies on the slopes of the mountain system of El Saravat in the central part of the west coast of the country. It is in Mecca about 570 years. NS. The founder of Islam The Prophet Muhammad (Mohammed) was born, it was here that the holy places of the Islamic world are located, it is here that Millions of pilgrims from around the world flock. Mecca is a city closed to representatives of other denominations, but to get here at least once in life – the holy duty and debt of every Muslim.
The city center is the Great Mosque, or Al Masjid Al-Haram, which occupies an area of 309 thousand. kv. meters and accommodating at the same time up to 700 thousand people. Famous since 1570, the Great (sacred or protected) Mosque is a majestic building with nine minarets, the height of which reaches 95 meters, lined with gentle-lilac marble. Four gates are conducted inside the mosque, in addition to which there are still 44 other entry. In the center of the mosque, Kaaba is the main sanctuary of Islam, in the direction of which all Muslims are treated during prayer ("Kibla", Although it is worth noting that during the formation of Islam, all Muslims prayed, turning towards Jerusalem). The origin of this facility that Muslims is called al-Bait al-Haram ("Sacred House"), it is unclear, however, it is known that it was a sacred place for the peoples of Arabia long before the emergence of Islam. According to legends, ChiS (Biblical Sif – the son of Adam and Eve) built on this place the sanctuary of five stones from the five sacred mountains – Sinai, Lebanese, Eleon, Judy (on the Qur’an it was to make noever ark, so the nearest analogue is Mount Ararat) and Hira (on this mountain subsequently Muhammad received the first revelation), and Ibrahim (Bible Abraham), together with his son Ismail (Ishmael) built a temple in this place, which is now known as Kaaba.
Kaaba angles are oriented on the sides of the light, and it itself is covered with a black silk bedspread ("Kisva"), the upper part of which decorate the embroidered golden sayings from the Quran. The door to Kaaba is made of pure gold and weighs 286 kg. To the eastern angle of Caaba, a black stone (al-Khadzhar al-Asvad), fastened by a silver rim (the stone itself is repeatedly split for thousands of years of history, so the rim, in fact, fastens its 15 pieces). A number of scientists believe that this is a meteorite, according to the Muslim tradition, this stone Angel Jabrail (Gabriel) brought the expelled from Paradam after his repentance. According to legend, originally the stone was white and only with time became black from the touch of sinners.
Opposite the entrance to the sanctuary of Kaaba, there is another shrine – the stone of Makas-Ibrahim, which has preserved the imprint of the fire. It is on this flat stone who fell in the air, stood by Ibrahim during the construction of Kaaba. In the Haram Mosque, the Holy Source of the Zamzam, who was given to Ismail, when he with his mother Hajar (Biblical Agar) died in the desert from thirst. It is around this source and Mecca emerged. Water from the source of the messenger comes through the pipes into the inner places of the mosque, where special places for ablution and drinking, and, by the way, water is indeed amazingly pleasant to taste.
In accordance with the basics of Islam, each orthodox Muslim must at least once in his life "Mother cities", What is the name of Mecca in the Quran (Sura 6, Ayat 92). Especially significant in the eyes of Muslims is a ritual pilgrimage to Mecca – Hajj, committed per month Zul-Hija in the lunar calendar. Currently, only during the Hajj, Mecca is visited to two million people. Therefore, almost all life in the city is connected with the service of pilgrims – built modern hotels, many of which are located in close proximity to the Haram Mosque. However, during the Hajj, most pilgrims live in tents in special camps.