What is mecca? Holy City – Definition – Concepts and Features

What’s the mecca?

Many times we have heard or read about Muslim religious events in what they call “Mecca.” However, not many of us have knowledge about what Mecca is? Well, in this article we talk about what Mecca is in the simplest way to achieve a simple understanding.

Before talking about what is Mecca, we must know where it is located. Mecca is the capital of the western province, it can be located in Makoraba, currently Saudi Arabia. Mecca is also located in the Hiyaz region, west of the Arabian peninsula and east of Jeddah, exactly 64 kilometers away.

Now, to answer what Mecca is, it can be said that it is the pilgrimage center of all Muslims who practice Islam. Once a year, during the month of pilgrimage, Muslims from all over the world go to Mecca to make the major or minor pilgrimage.

What is Mecca? What does Mecca mean?

Mecca, also called the ancient Bakkah, is a city in western Saudi Arabia, located in the mountains of Ṣirāt, inland from the Red Sea coast. It is a sacred city of pilgrimage, meditation and worship, of the Muslim community.

Muhammad, founder of Islam, was born in Mecca, being this religious center where Muslims return five times a day to pray. All devout Muslims attempt a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their life, because it is a sacred place, so only Muslims can enter the city.

La meca

Definition of Mecca

This sacred city located in western Arabia, which is a place of prayer and pilgrimage, has undergone great improvements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The area around the religious sanctuaries was cleared, the mosque was enlarged and homes, sanitation and transportation to the facilities were significantly improved. As a result, Mecca can accommodate an increasing number of pilgrims or hajjis, with a current area of 26 square km.

The city focuses on the Ramaram Mosque, which is also called the Great Mosque, where the Kaʿbah and the sacred well of Zamzam are located. It is limited by the mountains that are very close. Have a compact area built around that comprises the old city.

The city has the main avenues of al-Muddaʿah and Sūq al-Layl to the north of the mosque and al-Sūq al-Ṣaghīr to the south. Since World War II, Mecca has expanded following the roads through the mountain gaps to the north, northwest and west.

Similarly, it has modern residential areas called al-ʿAzīziyyah and al-Faysaliyyah along the road to Minā and al-Ẓāhir, al-Zahraʿā and Shāriʿ al-Manṣūra along the roads to Jiddah and Medina. In its expansion process, new street constructions have been made in the old city. In the 21st century, several skyscraper hotels have been built in the area around the mosque.

Mecca is the most sacred place of prayer and pilgrimage of the Islamic religion, the population density is high, since most people are concentrated in the old city, while the number of people in modern residential areas is the plus. Get out of the city.

During the month of pilgrimage, the city is full of one or two million faithful from other parts of Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries. Entry to Mecca is allowed only for followers of Islam. Therefore, Mecca is undoubtedly one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, as it houses people from several countries of the world, who have the same national origin and who tend to live together in certain parts of the city.

Another answer that is given to the question of “what is Mecca” is that it is a city where Muhammad was born around 570 approximately, and where he lived until he had to flee due to a religious persecution of which he was a victim in 622 approximately.

Similarly, it can be said as another response to “what is Mecca?” It could be that it is the place where all Muslim practitioners of Islam go because of their religious beliefs, since Mecca is the place where one of the Pillars of Islam, the pilgrimage. This pilgrimage is carried out for one month each year, this month is called Dhul Hiyya and is in the twelfth calendar.

Similarly, one could say that Mecca is the place where Ismael’s well is located, which some Muslims believe that the pure water it possesses is miraculous.

ubicación de la meca

The origin of mecca is the Kaaba

The Kaaba is more than a black and metallic cube that for all practitioners of Islam is the materialization of a monotheistic sanctuary, which according to Muslim beliefs was built by the prophet Adam and then rebuilt by Abraham and his son Ishmael.

History of mecca

The ancient Mecca was considered an oasis on the former caravan trade route that linked the Mediterranean world with southern Arabia, eastern Africa and southern Asia. The city was halfway between Maʾrib in the south and Petra in the north, progressively becoming Roman and Byzantine times an important commercial and religious center.

The Mecca was recognized in the Hellenistic world for the inclusion of Ptolemy and Macoraba, a city in the Arab interior, as part of its geography that remained for a long time, but that, at the end of the 20th century, some analysts have objected to the identification of Macoraba with Mecca.

In the Islamic tradition, Abraham and Ishmael, his son of Hagar, built the Kaʿbah, today Mecca, as the house of God. It is considered the high point of pilgrimage even before the birth of Islam in the seventh century. So, this cube-shaped stone building has been destroyed and rebuilt several times.

In pre-Islamic times, the city was ruled by various Yemeni tribes. Therefore, it became a city-state under the government of Quraysh, with great commercial ties with Arabia, Ethiopia and Europe. Therefore, the. can you see more information about the history of Meca here

The Mecca became a place for commerce, pilgrimage and tribal meetings

The Mecca suffered several attacks throughout its history. One of the first was of Ethiopian origin, in the year 570, the year of the birth of the Holy Prophet of Islam. Another attack was in the year 929, in this attack the city was assaulted by the “carmátas”, a sect that deviated from Islam. This sect seized the black stone that is embedded in the Kaaba. It was up to 20 years later that the “carmátas” were forced to return it by the Fatimid al-Mansur caliph.

This pilgrimage, coexistence and prayer center is important because the city increased in a very important way with the birth of Muhammad around 570. The Prophet was forced to flee from the Mecca in 622, but then returned eight years later, to take The control of the city.

In the 630 the Mecca was released by the Islamic army headed by the Prophet Muhammad. During the first century of the Hegira, the great Mosque that surrounds the Kaaba began to be built due to the crowd that visited it, although on several subsequent occasions it continued to be magnified.

The liberation of Mecca from idols, and its declaration as a center of Muslim pilgrimage dedicated to God, has since given it the value of the main religious center of Islam. Over time, the old caravan route declined and the Mecca lost its commercial importance, so, since then it has been nourished by the profits of the annual pilgrimages and the gifts of the Muslim rulers.

Importance of The Mecca

The Ḥaram mosque is a magnificent work of construction and art of large size and architecture and has been embellished and enlarged on multiple occasions over the centuries, recently it has had a series of massive expansions by the government of Saudi Arabia at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st one.

The avant-garde complex today is now multilevel, and includes an advanced communication network, air conditioning, escalators, as well as a complex network of routes and tunnels for pedestrians, as well as numerous aesthetic and artistic accompaniments.

It has been expanded to house more than one million faithful at a time. Houses near the mosque have been demolished to make way for open spaces and wide streets, which can be crossed through underground walkways built to ease traffic.

South of the Ramaram mosque, the Saudi government built the Abrāj al-Bayt skyscraper complex, which is one of the largest and tallest buildings in the world, which has hotels, shopping centers and prayer areas near the sacred places. Likewise, the spaces are made with luxury and rich construction, both architectural, artistic,  opulence and comfort.definición de la meca

Holy city for the Pagans

Before Muhammad began to preach, the Mecca was especially a holy city for all the inhabitants and especially for “the pagans” because the Mecca has several places of religious importance such as the Kabba, which is a sanctuary where the black stone is located. It is said that this stone was given to the prophet Abraham by the archangel Gabriel.

During the Hajj, the greatest pilgrimage, believers in the Mecca must go around the Kabba seven times. This is a tradition in which it is narrated that the enemies of Muhammad had carried rumors, of his arrival in the Mecca and that the Muslims were weak because of the fever, so the Prophet Muhammad requested that his followers take a few turns to the Kaaba at a brisk pace to show that they were still strong. This sacred mosque is built around the Kaaba.

Another of the important places of the city is the Palace of the Great Jerife and the Sepulcher of Abraham, Mina which is the place of the symbolic stoning of the devil where the pilgrims stoned him and then go to Mount Arafat which is a place destined to the prayer where it is believed that the Prophet Muhammad delivered his final speech. There is also Muzdalifah, a desert where pilgrims spend the night.

In this sense, the Mecca for Muslims is part of the fundamental aspects of their faith, which are the so-called pillars of Islam, which are five: the profession of faith, alms, prayer, pilgrimage and fasting. Every year almost 3 million pilgrims approach the holy city to make a major pilgrimage, called Hajj, during the Muslim month of ‘du l-hiyya’. Other pilgrims also make the minor pilgrimage, which is called Umrah and can be done throughout the year.

People who are not believers, that is, non-Muslims, cannot see the rituals of Hajj, because it is strictly forbidden to enter. For those who do not believe in the Mecca and Medina, the penalty if they are caught inside is the deportation of country. That is why very few people have been able to see these rituals. It should be noted that hundreds of pilgrims, over the years, have been injured and even killed due to the stampede and avalanches of fires through the different Islamic factions.

On the other hand, the Mecca has suffered several attacks throughout its history. In the thirteenth century it was conquered and thwarted by the Egyptians, and then fell into the control of the Turks in the sixteenth century. It is in this mandate that the jerifes (rulers of the city in function of protecting the holy places of Islam and the pilgrims) descendants of Muhammad took over the control of the sacred city but were later expelled by another jerife, called Husayn Ali , in 1916 who later became the king of the province of al-Hijaz. In 1924, the Mecca was conquered by the Sultan, named Abd al Aziz ibn Saud, who was the last ruler who proclaimed the Mecca as the religious capital of Saudi Arabia.

Where’s Mecca? Where’s the Mecca?

is located about 64 kilometers from the narrow sand valley, 277 meters above sea level. You can also say that the Red Sea is 80 kilometers from its location. It is located in the Strait of Wadi Ibrahim, is surrounded by hills that can have from 60 meters to 150 meters high. Mecca is also located near Jabal Khandama, a hill over 913 meters high. Learn more about where the Mecca is here

How to visit Mecca? How to get to Mecca?

The Mecca is the most sacred place for the Islamic religion, it is the main place of all  their religious thoughts. In this city the Prophet Muhammad was born and therefore, it is visited annually by millions of Islamists from different corners of the world.

The Mecca is of the utmost importance for Islamists who must visit it at least once in their life and mostly do so in the Hajj era. Because this religion is very hermetic it is complicated and it is practically impossible for non-followers to enter this pilgrimage site. One of the ways of how to visit the Mecca if you are not a believer, is to request a special visiting visa. Learn more about visiting Mecca


The Pilgrimage to the Mecca

This pilgrimage is considered one of the five pillars of Islam, Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the trip to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, must make Hajj at least once in their life.

The pilgrimage takes place in the great mosque of Mecca, specifically in a cubic building 15 meters high and almost twelve meters wide, which is covered by a black handkerchief that is called kishwa. This building receives the name of the Kaaba, it is right in one of the angles of the Kaaba the black stone is embedded, located almost a meter and a half from the ground.

During the pilgrimage a variety of detailed rituals are made, which include the use of special white garments and an anti-clockwise procession around the Kaaba, a cube-shaped structure wrapped in black silk that is believed to have been built by the Prophet Abraham of the Old Testament.

The Prophet Muhammad made the first pilgrimage to the Mecca in 628 AD with 1,400 followers. Currently, as a way to manage the tickets, the Saudi Arabian authorities require pilgrims to make a strict visa application. Learn more about the theme of pilgrimage to the Mecca here

The Islam

The Islam as a religion of worship and prayer began with the Prophet Muhammad. The word Islam means “surrender” so, its fundamental principle is to surrender to the will of God. Having as main belief that God exists and Muhammad is his messenger.

The followers and believers of Islam are called Muslims and believe they follow the same tradition as the Judeo-Christian figures of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, who are considered to be important prophets before Muhammad. Learn more about Islam here


When we ask ourselves the question “what is the Mecca?” We may not be aware of how important this place can be for Muslims attached to Islam who, no matter where they are in the world, perform their five daily prayers in the direction of the Mecca, so you can assume the great importance it has for these people.

In conclusion it can be said that the Mecca is the connection that Muslims have with their god and the sacred place in which by means of the pilgrimage, be it the major pilgrimage or the minor pilgrimage, which consists of a series of rites, they request God’s forgiveness and follow the path that Allah opens to each of the Muslims.

The Mecca is a sacred city for Muslims and is located in western Saudi Arabia, being the main city in the Hiyaz region and one of the most important in the Arabian Peninsula. Many consider this city as ‘the navel of the earth’, ‘first work of creation’ and also ‘mother of the cities’. This is located in its highest place that has a link to the union of the superior with the inferior and the nutritious source of the orb.

Este es el lugar de nacimiento de Muhammad, el fundador del Islam y es una de las ciudades más importantes del Islam. La Meca es determinada cada año por millones de peregrinos. Muhammad, que murió allí en 570 y vivió en la ciudad hasta 622, porque más tarde emigró debido a la persecución religiosa y se refugió en Medina.

La ciudad de Medina fue el lugar donde murió 10 años después de su fuga y está enterrada en el patio de su casa que más tarde se perdió en la Mezquita del Profeta o la Mezquita Masjid al Nabawi, que es la segunda más importante después de la Meca y allí es donde Los musulmanes se inclinan a rezar.