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**1. Etymology and Names:**
– The etymology of Mecca is uncertain, with various names historically associated with the city.
– ‘Bakkah’ and ‘Makkah’ are ancient names for Mecca, with the official transliteration being ‘Makkah al-Mukarramah.’
– Mecca is also known as ‘Umm al-Qurā,’ ‘Tihāmah,’ and has been linked to the Desert of Paran in Arab tradition.
– Historical references like ‘Fārān’ and debates about the association with Macoraba add to the city’s diverse nomenclature.

**2. Historical Development:**
– Sparse documentation exists about Mecca’s pre-Islamic history, with limited references in ancient literature.
– Mecca’s early history contrasts with other regions due to its remote and sparsely populated surroundings.
– The city’s significance in paleontology due to the Saadanius fossil discovery highlights its prehistoric past.
– Mecca’s role as a trading outpost and its economic importance in facilitating trade routes are notable aspects of its historical development.

**3. Islamic Narratives and Significance:**
– Islamic traditions attribute Mecca’s origins to figures like Adam, Abraham, Hagar, and Ishmael, with the construction of the Kabah being a pivotal event.
– Mecca’s role in religious history is emphasized in the Old Testament, Quranic verses, and Thamudic inscriptions.
– The city’s importance under the Quraish tribe and Abraha’s attempted conquest underscore its significance in Islamic narratives.
Muhammad’s birth in Mecca, his migration to Medina, and the subsequent conquest of Mecca by Muslims in 630 CE mark crucial events in the city’s Islamic history.

**4. Economic and Political Aspects:**
– Mecca’s economic prosperity was driven by camel caravans, trade agreements with Byzantines and Bedouins, and its role as a center for trade in the late 6th century.
– The city’s strategic importance in trade routes, its confederation of client tribes, and the protection it received from external invasions highlight its economic and political significance.
– Mecca’s interactions with various ruling powers, such as the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, and the city’s status under Ottoman rule and subsequent political transitions shape its political history.

**5. Cultural and Modern Context:**
– Mecca’s cultural significance as the birthplace of Islam, a pilgrimage site for Muslims worldwide, and a hub for scholars and pious individuals is enduring.
– The city’s resilience through challenges like Umayyad and Qarmatian attacks, the Black Death pandemic, and cholera outbreaks during the Hajj period reflects its historical and modern importance.
– Descriptions of Mecca by travelers like Ibn Battuta and events like the Ottoman rule, Hashemite Revolt, and cholera outbreaks provide insights into the city’s cultural evolution.
– Mecca’s modern history, including its control by the Sharifate, cholera outbreaks, and notable events like Sir Richard Francis Burton’s pilgrimage, offer a glimpse into its contemporary context.

Mecca (Wikipedia)

Mecca (/ˈmɛkə/; officially Makkah al-Mukarramah, commonly shortened to Makkah) is the capital of Mecca Province in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia and the holiest city in Islam. It is 70 km (43 mi) inland from Jeddah on the Red Sea, in a narrow valley 277 m (909 ft) above sea level. Its last recorded population was 2,385,509 in 2022. Its metropolitan population in 2022 is 2.4 million, making it the third-most populated city in Saudi Arabia after Riyadh and Jeddah. Around 44.5% of the population are Saudi citizens and around 55.5% are foreigners from other Muslim countries. Pilgrims more than triple the population number every year during the Ḥajj pilgrimage, observed in the twelfth Hijri month of Dhūl-Ḥijjah.[citation needed] With over 10.8 million international visitors in 2023, Mecca was one of the 10 most visited cities in the world.

  • The Holy Capital (العاصمة المقدسة)
  • Mother of all Settlements (أم القرى)
Makkah al-Mukarramah (مكة المكرمة)
Mecca governorate (green) within Mecca province
Mecca governorate (green) within
Mecca province
Mecca is located in Saudi Arabia
Coordinates: 21°25′21″N 39°49′24″E / 21.42250°N 39.82333°E / 21.42250; 39.82333
CountrySaudi Arabia
ProvinceMecca Province
GovernorateHoly Capital Governorate
 • MayorSaleh Al-Turki
 • Provincial GovernorKhalid bin Faisal Al Saud
 • City1,200 km2 (500 sq mi)
 • Land760 km2 (290 sq mi)
277 m (909 ft)
 (2022 census)
 • City2,385,509
 • Rank3rd in Saudi Arabia
 • Density2,000/km2 (5,100/sq mi)
 • Metro
2,427,924 (Mecca Governorate)
DemonymMakki (مكي)
Time zoneUTC+3 (AST)
Area code+966-12

Mecca is generally considered "the fountainhead and cradle of Islam". Mecca is revered in Islam as the birthplace of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Hira cave atop the Jabal al-Nur ("Mountain of Light"), just outside the city, is where Muslims believe the Quran was first revealed to Muhammad. Visiting Mecca for the Ḥajj is an obligation upon all able Muslims. The Great Mosque of Mecca, known as the Masjid al-Haram, is home to the Ka'bah, believed by Muslims to have been built by Abraham and Ishmael. It is Islam's holiest site and the direction of prayer (qibla) for all Muslims worldwide.

Muslim rulers from in and around the region long tried to take the city and keep it in their control, and thus, much like most of the Hejaz region, the city has seen several regime changes. The city was most recently conquered in the Saudi conquest of Hejaz by Ibn Saud and his allies in 1925. Since then, Mecca has seen a tremendous expansion in size and infrastructure, with newer, modern buildings such as the Abraj Al Bait, the world's fourth-tallest building and third-largest by floor area,[citation needed] towering over the Great Mosque. The Saudi government has also carried out the destruction of several historical structures and archaeological sites, such as the Ajyad Fortress. However, many of the demolitions have officially been part of the continued expansion of the Masjid al-Haram at Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina and their auxiliary service facilities in order to accommodate the ever-increasing number of Muslims performing the pilgrimage (hajj). Non-Muslims are strictly prohibited from entering the city.

Under the Saudi government, Mecca is governed by the Mecca Regional Municipality, a municipal council of 14 locally elected members headed by the mayor (called Amin in Arabic) appointed by the Saudi government. In 2015, the mayor of the city was Osama bin Fadhel Al-Barr; as of January 2022, the mayor is Saleh Al-Turki. The City of Mecca amanah, which constitutes Mecca and the surrounding region, is the capital of the Mecca Province, which includes the neighbouring cities of Jeddah and Ta'if, even though Jeddah is considerably larger in population compared to Mecca. The Provincial Governor of the province since 16 May 2007 is Prince Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud.

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