Makkah al-Mukarramah, also known as Mecca, is vouched as the holiest city in Islam. Popularly known as the capital city of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia, Makkah, known as Bakkah in ancient terms is located near Sirat Mountains. The region has become the most thriving city in the world for Islamic religion due to it being a holy ground of the birth of its founder, Muhammad.
The land is extremely popular among Muslims who visit it at least once a year, from all over the world to pay an annual visit, especially during the festival Hajj. As it is a sacred city, hence it is only Muslims who are allowed to enter the city. This city is situated 70km inland from the infamous Jeddah on the Red Sea, on a narrow valley 277 above the sea level.
Multiple names are referred for the city, and the etymology of the city is completely obscure. Known as a synonym for the famous city Mecca, it is widely referred to be the former name of the valley located in the surrounding. This valley was mostly used by the Muslims for referring to the sacred area which surrounds and also comprises the Ka’bah.
Although the early history of Mecca is still ambiguous with no specific reference to the ancient literature prior the rise of Islam, however, there have been insights of the Roman Empire to taking supreme control of a part of Hejaz back during 106 CE. A number of Muslim leaders from around the city tried posing a significant control on the terrain, which is why it has several regime changes that owe to the rich history.
Data and Facts
- The holiest place for worship for Muslims
- It is the oldest inhabited city in the entire world
- Mecca was conquered by Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Muslim on December 11
- The city had an ancient name and was popularly referred to as Bakkah.
- The city is also referred to as Umm Al Qara, the Mother of All Settlements.
- It is presently referred to as Makkah Al Mukarrahmah, or Makkah the Honored.
- The population, as of record in the past 2012, accounted for an approximate count of 2 million.
- It receives the highest population of tourists during the month of pilgrimage in the Middle East, with as much as 15 million.
- The second most expensive building is housed in Makkah.
- It only gives entry to Muslims
The city is centred on Haram Mosque, also popularly known as the Great Mosque where the sacred wall of Zamzam and Kaaba is thrived upon. Makkah is governed by the emir of Makkah mintaqah idariyyah heading the administrative district and is largely responsible for governing law and order of the city. There is a compact built-up area surrounding the mosque, which is a substantial part of the old city. This city stretched to the north and also to the southwest, however, is limited on the other two sides, or the ease and the west due to the mountains located nearby.
There is another part of the city that houses the modern residential areas, Al-Alziziyyah and al-Faysaliyyah in addition to the road to al-Zahir, Mina, Shari al-Mansur and al-Zahra, and the roads to Medina and Jiddah. It is subjected to expansion due to the construction of a number of streets that are a part of the former city. The 21st century witnessed the construction of a number of skyscraper hotels around the infamous mosque.
As mentioned earlier, it can be very well understood that the economy largely depended on the annual pilgrimage taking place each year. The income that is generated from the Hajj not only prioritizes the Mecca economy but has had historical significance to reaching out to the economy of the Arabian Peninsula. Although taxes were present in the initial days introduced especially during the Great Depression, however, ceased its operation by 1972.
Another significant way in which the city generates income is through the services offered to the pilgrims. The fares that are paid by pilgrims to reach the pilgrim area by land help to generate income in addition to the accommodation companies housing them. In addition to this, the city also incurs its earnings through several factories and industries located locally; however, Mecca does not play any consequential role in the economy of Saudi Arabia with its focus on oil exports.
Some of the very few industries that operate in Makkah are that of furniture, textiles, and utensils, with the majority being service-oriented. However, the recent upsurge and growth of multiple industries cannot be ignored, which includes bakeries, copper extraction, corrugated iron manufacturing, baking, farming and carpentry.
There is no such business environment in Makkah, with the maximum of its revenue being dependent on Hajj pilgrimage and its tourists. However, as mentioned earlier, a number of industries have sprawled up with the most popular being carpentry, textiles, furniture, utensils, iron manufacturing, bakeries and more. As per for the forecast, the contribution of Mecca to Saudi Arabia's GDP is approximately 6.6 billion U.S. dollars for the year 2026.
Makkah is beautifully built on high mountains and valleys with a number of significant urban projects being carried out in the city. The megaprojects are in the pipeline across both the public and the civil services. Hence, the city is undergoing significant infrastructure change and hence is likely to bring about a vital transformation in a few years down the line.
Moreover, health infrastructure is also adequate with most of the services and care is given for free. Although there are a number of careful checks done, however, pilgrims might still bring a few illnesses at times which get a tad bit difficult to control.
As the city is largely dependent on tourism, hence major technological advancements are incurred in the field of tourism. It is by using the advances that help to ease the pilgrimage for a million individuals. In order to facilitate the strenuous experiences of the pilgrims, the Ministry has launched a series of varied electronic devices that comprises flight preclearance in addition to digitized health records which helps to propagate the Hajj authorities to efficiently scan the medical backgrounds prior their arrival in the country. It also offers phone applications to the pilgrims to enable them to navigate the entire pilgrimage without any hurdle, with reinforcing internet infrastructure around Makkah by placing as many as 3000 mobile antennas that improve the 4G reception and Wi-Fi coverage.
Social Wellness and Human Resources:
Makkah solemnly pledges by Muslim culture with it being a Muslim predominant city. It observes worship every day across several mosques in Makkah, with pilgrims visiting all around the year to the holy destination. In terms of educational front, free Education is offered for both girls and boys from both primary as well as university level. The famous university, the Umm al-Qara University, as founded in the year 1979 is located in Mecca along with two other university colleges, the Madrasah Ahl al-Hadith and Saudi Arabian Institute for Higher Education. There are popular libraries such as Makkah Al Mukarramah Library, Grand Masjid Library and others that are quite popular among the inhabitants.