Makkah can ideally be described as the capital of Islam. It has many beautiful and historic places which every one regardless of his/her religion would like to visit. Owing to the huge influx of Muslim pilgrims and to maintain the sanctity of this Holy place, the Saudi government has forbidden non Muslims to enter Grand Mosque but they are allowed to visit every other mosque in the city. For Muslims, Makkah is at the center of their religion and it is compulsory for every Muslim to perform Hajj once in a life time if they can afford such a journey. Following is a list of 10 most beautiful places of Makkah which are definitely to be visited on a trip to Mecca.
10) Mount Arafat
Mount Arafat is a small hill located east of Makkah in the plain of Arafat. The height of the hill is about 230 ft. This hill has great historic significance as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered the farewell sermon of Last Hajj standing on this hill. Each year on the occasion of Hajj Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims spend a whole day on Aarfah praying to God and asking for forgiveness and blessings.
9) Ji’ranah Mosque
Masjid Al-Ji’ranah is situated between Taif and Makkah, closer to Makkah. It is about 20 kilometers away from Makkah. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stopped at that location on his way back from the campaign of Hunaian and entered Ihram from there. It is a place for Miqa’t. The mosque has excellent facilities and the interior of the mosque is very beautiful.
8) Thour Mountain
Thour Mountain lies to the south of Makkah. It is a rocky and barren hill in the southern direction of Makkah and its height is about 761 meters above sea level. This mountain contains Thour cave, in which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companion Abu Bakar hid from the Kuraish tribe for three days. A tree grew up in front of the cave, dove made a nest on it and laid eggs. A spider spread its web over cave’s opening to protect Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from his enemies. The Cave of Thor is considered to be a sign of faith and hope.
7) Hira’ Cave
It is this very cave where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) spent a lot of time and he had received his first revelation from the Angel Jibrail (Angel Gabriel), inside this cave from Allah. The cave holds great importance in the Islamic History. The cave is located on Jabal-al-Noor a mountain about 3 kilometers from Makkah. It takes about 600 steps to reach the cave; the cave itself is about 12 feet in length, 5 feet 3 inches in width. 270 meter in height.
6) Masjid Taneem
Masjid Taneem is located at a distance of about 5 miles from Kabba. It is also known as Masjid-e-Ayesha. It is the Miqa’t for Makkah people and those coming to Makkah whether for Hajj, Umra or residency. It means that people of Makkah who want to perform Umra first go to Masjid Taneem and who than enter in the state of Ihram and then travel back to Makkah so that the condition of travelling for the pilgrims is completed. It is a very big mosque and has excellent facilities of baths, ablutions and for changing.
5) Makka auction
As the name suggests, Makka auction is an auction house. It is a permanent auction center situated in Hilton Tower which is very close to Grand Mosque. You can find some amazing jewelry, ancient rings, old currency notes and old Islamic coins from different countries and many other interesting stuff. To say the least it is a really different way of shopping. The things are shown and then people bid on them. Sometimes it feels like a competition of richness but sometimes you might end up with a pretty good deal.
4) Makkah Mall
The city of Makkah has several malls but if there is one mall that you should visit then it is Makkah Mall. Because of its location the pilgrims find it easy to visit this mall as it is conveniently situated close to Masjid al Haram. You can find most of the reputed brand stores in this mall. The good thing is that the mall has something for everyone, from really expensive brands to great stuff on cheap prices. The food court is top class and the mall also has a nice prayer area and a kid’s playing area. This mall can be described as a perfect family shopping mall.
3) Al Kiswa Factory
Kiswa is the cloth that covers the Kabba and Kiswa Factory is the place where this cloth is made each year. The factory is located on the Old Makkah Jeddah Road. During the Haj the new Kiswa is delivered to the Chief Gatekeeper of the Holy Mosque. The Kiswa factory takes care of all the steps in the preparation of Kiswa, these include: dyeing, weaving, designing, printing, embroidering, laboratory, and assembly of the Kisswa. . The factory is open for visitors on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday from 9 am – 12 pm.
2) Jabal-Al-Noor (Mountain of Light)
Jabal-al-noor (Mountain of Light) is located near Makkah and is a very popular tourist attraction. It has huge significance in Islamic history as the famous Ghar e Hira (Hira Cave) is located in this mountain. Jabal-al-Noor is a rocky mountain and it takes about 2 hours of hiking to get to the Ghar e Hira. The cave itself is quite small and faces the direction of Kabba. One can see the buildings below hundreds of meters and few kilometers away from the Jabal-al-noor.
1) Grand Mosque (Haram)
The grand mosque of Makkah commonly known as Masjid al-Haram is the largest mosque in the world surrounded by the holiest places of Islam. Muslims around the world pray in the direction of Grand Mosque, 5 times a day. The current structure of the mosque covers 356,000 square meters including outdoor and indoor praying spaces. The capacity of the mosque is being increased to 400,000 square meters owing to the increasing number of pilgrims each year. Kabba is at the center of the mosque and it also has the Black Stone, Muqam Ibrahim, Al safa and Al Marwa and the famous ZamZam Well. Millions of pilgrims visit the mosque throughout the year. The sight that the mosque gives during Hajj is just breath taking with approximately 2 million people offering hajj and praying. The experience which one gets during a visit to this majestic and beautiful mosque is unparalleled and it is an amazing spiritual experience which hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world wish for.