Geographical locationThe city of Mecque is the most crowned city Islam, being located at the west of the Saudi Arabia, in the center of the chain of the Hedjaz to 65 km of Djeddah on the Sarouat mountain. The part is ranges between 200 and 250 m above the sea level. The western part to 400 m, is characterized by the presence of certain mounts which can reach up to 900 m of altitude (the mount Jabal Tarki is the most mount of Mecque). The central part has an altitude of 300 Mr. This part is characterized by the mount Thor (759 m) which played a big role in the life of the prophet Mahomet. The temperature with Mecque reaches a maximum of 48 degrees the be and a minimum of 18 degrees the Hiver, with an average ranging between 31 and 29,9 degrees, which does of them one of the hottest areas of the world.
Its population is estimated at: 1294200 inhabitants (census 2004). The city of Mecque counts nearly a million inhabitants (966 000 in 1993) and thrives especially thanks to the million pilgrims who go there each year. The sanctuary of Mecque reaches its full capacity of two million and half of people at the time of the nights of the month of Ramadan (for the night prayers Tarawih), or at the time of the pilgrimage Hajj.
The pilgrimage leads also the faithful ones to Médine where is fall it from Mahomet.
The majority of the pilgrims reach with Mecque by the international airport King Abdulaziz of Djeddah.
HistoryThe city of Mecque is mentioned for the first time by the Egyptian geographer Ptolémée, which calls it Makoraba at the 2nd century. Mecque of before Islam is already a high place of veneration, a sanctuary, where cross Jewish, Christian, polytheists, mazdéens and several other beliefs. It was dominated by the tribe of Quraychites, of which is resulting Mahomet. Mecque was a large commercial crossroads with 6th and 7th centuries. It was known for its safety and the confidence of its inhabitants. The city developed around the well of Zamzam and Ka' aba. In 1916, it is proclaimed capital kingdom hachémite of Hedjaz and was conquered by Abd Al-Aziz III ibn Saud in 1924.
Preislamic periodThe Hedjaz becomes towards 200 an area which borrow of many caravans. The tribes Bedouins benefit from the localization of Hedjaz, with the crossroads of the roads towards the Africa, towards the Asia Mineure, the Persian world and the prosperous coasts of the Golfe of Aden (Kingdoms of Sheba, of the Hadramaout…) to control the trade in this area. The tribe of the Quraïchites is the clan which dominates Mecque at the period of the life of Mahomet.
Islamic periodThis city sees the birth of Mahomet. It meets little adhesion on behalf of the majority of its pagan fellow-citizens , whereas it was regarded as one of noblest and respected among them. Those drive out it and it must exile with Yathrib in 622 during an event which will create the new kind of dating: the Hégire.
After victorious military campaigns and a great number of conversions, Mahomet returns in 630 with Mecque. The mecquois then convert of number with the new religion Monothéiste without combat.
Place de La Mecque in the Islamic religionThe two principal branches of Islam, sunnite and Shiite, regard this city as holy, since it is the birthplace of the prophet of Islam and refers to the period of before the Schisme.
Mecque is a fundamental center of the Moslem religious life. One of the five Piliers of Islam stipulates indeed that any believer must make a pilgrimage with Mecque, if it has the means of them. This pilgrimage bears the name of Hajj (or Hadj , according to the C-Ws communication). Each year, 2,5 million Moslems flows with Mecque to carry out Hajj during the month of Dhou Al Hijja. A number much larger carries out the minor pilgrimage (the Oumra), which can be carried out constantly year, but more particularly during the Ramadan.
Mecque is also the direction towards which the Moslems who request turn during their prayers. The Qibla is located at 21°25 ′ 24 ″ NR, 39°49 ′ 24 ″ E. the Mosquée Sacrée, Al-Masjid Al-Haram comprises in its center the Kaaba.
The KaabaIn Arabic, Kaaba means “cubic”. It is however about a right-angled parallelepiped of 15 12 meter and height meters by 12 meters on the ground. According to the Moslem tradition, Kaaba is built by Adam, first prophet, and was rebuilt by “ Ibrahim” (Abraham) and her son Ismaël.
This sanctuary is largest in the world and was built later on around Kaaba by Sayidina Ibrahim. A black stone, digs, east encloses in one of the angles of the Kaaba.
Access to nonthe MoslemsThe access with Mecque is interdict with the not-Moslems. Barriers on the roads prohibit the access to the city. The most known case of visit of Mecque by a not-Moslem is that to sir Richard Francis Burton, in 1853, disguised as an Afghan pilgrim under the name of Qadiri Sufi . It drew its Personal Narrative from it off has Pilgrimage to Al Madinah and Meccah (personal Account of a pilgrimage with Médine and Mecque).
- Direction with Mecque
- At the origins of Mecque, the glance of the historian by Jacqueline Chabbi, professor at the university Paris Viii-Saint-Denis.
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