Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The population of Mecca is much larger than in Halliburton’s day! There are an estimated 2,000,000 people living in Mecca. Millions travel to Mecca during Hajj. Many of the historic buildings in Mecca have been destroyed. Some were demolished to make way for more modern facilities. Some have been removed by the government to prevent the location from becoming a pilgrimage site.
Get an inside look at the Kaaba VIDEO
The city of Mecca—sunk in a rocky valley in the Arabian desert—has been a holy city since earliest history. For centuries before Mohammed was born here in the year 570, people came from all over Arabia to worship idols in this city. Against this idol worship Mohammed preached. The religion he founded is now followed by 2,000,000,000 people. To them, Mecca is the center of the Universe. Although not visible, the Al-Haram Mosque, which holds the Kaaba, sits to the right of the base of the tall building in the upper left of this photo. (2009 public domain)
The high point of the pilgrim season lasts only three days. Perhaps half of these, dressed mostly in white pilgrim garb, may gather at one time in the Holy Square at the hour of prayer. The pilgrims come all the way from the Philippines in the East, and from Bulgaria and Timbuktu in the West. A pilgrimage to Mecca brings each pilgrim great honor for the rest of his life. (CC BY-SA 2.0 ©2008 Al Jazeera English)
Underneath this black cloth cover is the Kaaba, the cube-shaped temple built by Abraham. This Kaaba is 50 feet square and 70 feet high. The camel’s-hair veil is changed each year, just before the pilgrim season. One of the sacred duties required of each pilgrim is to walk three times around the Kaaba. (CC BY 2.0 ©2012 Shahin Olakara)