Mecca, Al-Makka, city in the west of Saudi Arabia, in a rocky, desert-like basin of the Hidjas landscape, between the coastal plain and the highlands, 277 m above sea level, (2018) 1.97 million residents.
As the birthplace of Muhammad, Mecca is the holiest city and most important place of pilgrimage for Islam (Hajj; 700,000–900,000 pilgrims annually, mainly via the Djidda airport), a pure cult and cultural center (excluding agriculture and industry) with an Islamic-theological college, school for Islamic jurisprudence, Saudi Arabian institute for further education, several madrasas and libraries; Water supply originally from the Ain Subaida well, 15 km away, today from seawater desalination plants in Jeddah. Mecca and its immediate surroundings are not accessible to non-Muslims.
The center of the city and the most important goal of the pilgrimage is the Kaaba in the courtyard of the main mosque (built 775–785, today’s shape in the 16th century, expanded in 1955; seven minarets). Other places of pilgrimage are the Semsem well and the graves of the companions and the first wife of Muhammad (Hadidja) in the Al-Mala cemetery. R. Gutbrod, F. Otto and Hermann Kendel built a mosque and a hotel in 1974 with conference rooms grouped around a green inner courtyard. The world’s largest clock has been located on the Mecca Royal Clock Tower since 2010.
Mecca, mentioned as Makoraba around 150 AD, was already an important trading center as a crossroads of old caravan roads in the border area between the rain- cultivated areas of the southwestern Arabian highlands and the desert steppes in pre-Islamic times. The Koraic, also because of its religious attraction (through the Kaaba), made it a center of the Trans-Arab caravan trade at the end of the 6th / beginning of the 7th century, Mecca gained political status through Mohammed(622 Hidjra; 630 conquest of Mecca) as the center of the Islamic world Meaning. Looted by the Karmatians in 930, 960–1803 and 1813–1924 Sherif of the Hasan family (grandson of Mohammed) had the emirate of Mecca owner (10th to 15th centuries under nominal sovereignty of the rulers of Egypt, since 1517 the Ottomans); 1803-13 Mecca belonged to the Wahhabi Empire. In 1916, Husain I. Ibn Ali made himself independent of Turkish suzerainty, but had to give way for good after the occupation of the city by Ibn Saud in 1925; In 1926 Mecca was incorporated into Saudi Arabia.
According to bridgat, Medina, Al-Madina, is an oasis city in Saudi Arabia, in the Hidjas in an irrigated plain at the foot of a volcanic plateau, 639 m above sea level, (2018) 1.4 million residents.
Islamic University (founded in 1961), Taibah University (founded in 2003), libraries. Medina is (after Mecca) the second most important place of pilgrimage in Islam (closed to non-Muslims) and an important trading center; extensive date palm groves and vegetable gardens; Seawater desalination plant; Airfield.
The “Great Mosque” (built in 707–709), which was groundbreaking for the development of the Islamic mosque, with a. the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed, crowned by a green dome, was reconstructed and rebuilt after fires (1256 and 1481) (especially 15th / 16th centuries), most recently in the late Ottoman period (1848-60). Much of this renovation was replaced in the first half of the 1950s by a new building with two inner courtyards, which was greatly expanded in 1985-90, so that it now occupies almost the entire space of the former, demolished old town and takes into account the rapidly increasing number of pilgrims (Space for 130,000 people).
Medina, when Jathrib was already an important city on the Frankincense Route in pre-Islamic times and since the 1st millennium BC. Inhabited in 622 BC, took in Mohammed and his companions after his emigration from Mecca (Hidjra) and was renamed in Medina (Arabic for “place of [religious] jurisdiction”), the center of the early Islamic community he created (632–656 capital of the Arab-Islamic empire and residence of the caliphs). The Umayyad Caliph Walid I (705-715) left the site of the former house and the grave of Muhammad and his daughter Fatima build the “Great Mosque” with the help of Byzantine builders; therefore, as the “city of the prophets” or “enlightened city”, Medina became one of the holy places of Islam. From 1517/1532 under Ottoman rule, 1803–13 belonging to the Wahhabi Empire, 1916–18 center of the “Kingdom of Hidjas” of Husain I Ibn Ali, Medina came to Saudi Arabia in 1924.
Djidda [d ʒ -], Jeddah, Jidda [d ʒ -], Jedda [d ʒ -], port city in Saudi Arabia, on the Red Sea, 70 km west of Mecca, second largest with (2018) 4.4 million residents City of the country.
Djidda is the seat of foreign diplomatic missions and the state radio and television company, has a university (founded in 1967), technical schools and museums (Abdul Raouf Khalil Museum). As the economic center of the country, it is the seat of numerous banks and insurance companies as well as the Saudi Arab Airlines; Oil refinery, steel rolling mill, cement factory, assembly plant for commercial vehicles, large power plant, seawater desalination plants. Main trading port in the country; the international airport, 25 km north of Jeddah, is one of the largest and most modern on earth (design: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill); Terminal with large tent roof construction (completed in 1982). The port and airport are meeting points for pilgrims to Mecca.
Three reconstructed city gates give an impression of the former city fortifications (destroyed in 1940). In the listed old town (UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014) there are tower-like houses with wooden-barred oriels from the 18th and 19th centuries. Sights include the restored Nasif House and the Al-Shafee Mosque. The skyrocketing oil profits since 1973 made the modern expansion of the city possible. The sports hall of the university (1981) was built by F. Otto and R. Gutbrod. The National Commercial Bank was built by the SOM group of architects from 1982. The Kingdom Tower has been located since 2013 (Architect: A. Smith) under construction, which, with a planned height of around 1,000 m, will be the tallest building in the world upon completion. In the open-air museum “Corniche” a. Sculptures by H. Moore and V. Vasarély.
Djidda, a pre-Islamic foundation, important in the Middle Ages as a fortress and especially as a port for Mecca, came to the Ottomans after 1532. At the beginning of the 19th century it was the scene of the clashes between Mehmed Ali and the Wahhabis. Up until the destruction by the Wahhabis there was a monumental burial place of the ancestral mother Eva (Djidda is the Arabic term for “grandmother”). In 1916, Djidda came to the Kingdom of Hidjas, and in 1925 to Saudi Arabia.