In the heart of Saudi Arabia rests the holy city of Mecca. All year, Muslims visit the holy city. It is customary for a Muslim to pray facing Kaaba, a building in the heart of the sacred mosque of Mecca, no matter where he or she is in the world. Mecca is a once in a lifetime obligatory pilgrimage for all Muslims. Furthermore, only Muslims can enter the holy city of Mecca.
HOW TO GO
Saudi Arabia issues special visas for those making a pilgrimage to Mecca. The King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah is where you will want to arrive. From the airport, there is a highway that takes you to the holy city. There is a checkpoint on the highway, only Muslims are allowed past this point. For budget lovers, SAPTCO bus services run from Jeddah to Mecca. This service is used by Muslims only.
WHEN TO GO
During the holy month of Dhu’l-Hijjah, Muslims perform the sacred pilgrimage known as Hajj; during this month millions of visitors arrive in Mecca. When a Muslim visits during a month besides Dhu’l-Hijjah, the pilgrimage is called Umrah. These smaller pilgrimages bring fewer visitors to the holy city. The holy month is based on a lunar calendar, and consequently, the precise dates change every year. For the next few years, the holy month will fall around August.
THINGS TO DO
The focal point of a pilgrimage to Mecca is a visit to the Sacred Mosque, Al-Masjid al-Harami. Inside the mosque is the holy site built by the Prophet Mohammad and his son called the Kaaba. Black cloth covers the Kaaba, and during Hajj, pilgrims have to walk around the Kabbah and offer prayers. The Hill of Arafat, also known as Jabal Rahmah, is the place where Mohammad gave his last sermon. Other sites include Jabal Thawr, Jabal al-Nour, Masjid e Taneem, and Jannat al-Mu’alla. You can stop at any Middle Eastern restaurant to taste the cuisine but there is no ham, pig, pork or alcohol available in Saudi Arabia.
The power ranges between 110 V – 220 V. The sockets are Type A, B, C and G. Depending on what voltage your device uses, you may need a power transformer to match the voltage. You may also need a plug adapter to be able to fit the appropriate socket type.
September 12, 2016 9:40 am