Saudi Arabian city and capital of the Makkah province

Mecca or Makkah (officially: Makkah al-Mukarramah; Arabic: مكة المكرمة) is a city in Saudi Arabia and the holiest city in Islam. As of the 2004 census, 1,294,169 people lived there. The city is 73 kilometres (45 mi) inland from Jeddah, in the narrow sandy Valley of Abraham. It is 277 metres (909 ft) above sea level. It is 81 kilometres (50 mi) from the Red Sea.

مكة المكرمة
Makkah al-Mukarramah
The Holy City of Makkah
Masjid al-Haram and the center of Makkah
Masjid al-Haram and the center of Makkah
Flag of Makkah
Umm al-Qura ("Mother of All Settlements")
Makkah is located in Saudi Arabia
Location of Makkah in Saudi Arabia
Coordinates: 21°25′0″N 39°49′0″E / 21.41667°N 39.81667°E / 21.41667; 39.81667
Country Saudi Arabia
ProvinceMakkah Province
Founded byProphet Ismā'īl
(Islamic Tradition)
 • MayorOsama al-Bar
 • Provincial GovernorKhalid al-Faisal
 • City760 km2 (290 sq mi)
 • Urban
850 km2 (330 sq mi)
 • Metro
1,200 km2 (500 sq mi)
277 m (909 ft)
 • City2,000,000
 • Density4,200/km2 (2,625/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Metro
 Mecca Municipality estimate
Time zoneUTC+3 (AST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (AST)
Postal Code
(5 digits)
Area code+966-2
A view of Makkah during the Hajj, with Mt. Arafat in the distance.

Makkah is the holiest city in the Islamic world. Every year, millions of Muslims take a pilgrimage to Mecca, called the Hajj. They follow in the footsteps of Muhammad. All Muslims who are able to perform the Hajj are expected to do so at least once in their life. The Kaaba and Masjid al-Haram, are the holiest mosques in Islam. Mecca is closed to non-Muslims except for some journalists reporting on the Hajj.



The Kaaba, the small cubical building which Muslims pray towards is believed to have been built by Ibrahim and has been a religious center ever since. Muslims believed that God commanded Ibrahim to send his second wife Hajar and her son Ismail there.[2] They found the Zamzam Well which led to people settling nearby, and thus Makkah was born. When Ismail was big enough, he helped his father to build the Kaaba. The Kaaba is the place towards which Muslims turn in prayer. This is known as the Qibla.[3]


  1. Makkah Municipality Archived 2013-08-05 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-02-03.
  2. "The Qur'an 14:37". Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2006-10-07.
  3. The Qur'an 2:217

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