Visit Makkah: The Best 13 Places to See There
Looking to explore the city of Makkah after your Umrah pilgrimage? As Umrah takes a few hours to complete, you have sufficient time to explore this holy city. Even though there are several places to see, we have compiled the top 13 must-visit places that you shouldn’t miss.
Some of these places played an important role in the life of our Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) and Islam. Visiting these holy sites can lead to a deeper engagement with the history of Islam and give us an opportunity to develop a fuller appreciation of those who lived and struggled before us.
1. Experience true peace in Masjid Al Haram
Even though Umrah and Hajj pilgrims are familiar with Masjid Al Haram, there are a few other elements inside the masjid that many don’t notice. You can wander around the mosque to admire the Ottoman Porticoes. The arched porches were built during the Ottoman era and have been preserved intricately ever since.
Next, walk towards one of the main gates of Masjid Al-Haram and admire its grandeur. There are around 210 gates built, but 5 of them are main gateways namely the Gate of Ismael, Gate of Bilal, Bab Adbullah, Safa gate, and King Fahad gate.
You can always visit Masjid Al-Haram regardless of time or date. This is a place where one can escape the shackles of their worldly life and find true peace, contentment, and tranquility.
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2. Marvel at the beauty of Holy Kaaba
The Holy Kaaba is the most beautiful and revered site in Makkah. Known as the ‘House of Allah’, the Holy Kaaba is the main focal point in Islam where Muslims from around the world face towards it to pray 5 times a day. It also houses the Black Stone, also known as the ‘Hajre Aswad’.
The best way to admire its beauty is by getting closer and touching it. The experience is wholesome, nothing like you have felt before. Avoid visiting the Kaabah after prayer times as there will be a lot of jostling and pushing around.
3. Get a bird’s eye view of Makkah at the Clock Tower Museum
After exploring Masjid Al-Haram and the holy Kaaba, you can walk towards the Abraj Al-Bait complex to visit the Clock Tower Museum. It’s spread over 4 floors lit with information about the universe, Islam, and its history. The museum is open from 1 PM – 6 PM and tickets start at SAR 150 per person.
But the most impressive part of the museum is its viewing deck. You will get a 360-degree view of the ancient city and the glorious Masjid Al-Haram and get mesmerized by the beauty.
4. Appreciate the craftsmanship at The Kaabah Kiswa Factory (Ghilaaf-e-Ka’aba)
Located about 17km to the west of central Makkah, this factory manufactures the Holy Kaabah’s black and gold cover known as the ‘Kiswa’. Many Saudi artisans have been employed to design, dye, weave, and embroider the Kiswa adorned with verses from the Quran in gold thread.
These artisans take great care in transforming 670kg of silk into Kiswa and work hard towards changing the Kaabah’s covering once a year. You can get up close to watch these artisans in action and be amazed by the immaculate handwork of their calligraphy.
The factory is open on Saturdays, Mondays, and Wednesdays from 9 am to noon. However, you can check with a local guide if you require prior permission to enter.
5. Feel grateful at Jannat-al-Mu’alla
This historical cemetery is located just a few minutes away from the Holy Kaabah. Most of our beloved Prophet’s relatives have been buried here. You can spend a few minutes at the cemetery and feel grateful for their immense contribution towards Islam and its growth.
6. Remember our Prophet (Peace be upon him) at Maktaba Makkah-al-Mukarramah
Maktaba Makkah Al-Mukkarramah, also known as Makkah Al-Mukkarramah library, is located near the Masjid Al-Haram where our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is believed to have been born. It is also referred to as Bayt al-Mawlid.
7. Bask in the glory of Jabal Al-Nour
Popularly known as the ‘Mountain of Light’, this mountain has profound importance in Islamic history. This is the mountain where our Prophet (Peace be upon him) received his first revelation.
In order to reach the top of the hill, stairs have been installed; however, due to its extreme steepness, it can be quite challenging for people to climb the hill and takes nearly two hours to reach the top. The hill gets crowded during the cooler hours of the day, so get there early if you plan to peek inside the cave.
8. Experience mindfulness in Cave Hira
Located 4km away from the Holy Kaabah, Cave Hira is an iconic site situated inside Jabal An-Nour. It is one of the most popular attractions for pilgrims who travel to Makkah to perform the Hajj and Umrah throughout the year.
Depending on the pilgrim’s physical strength and ability, the climb can take up to 45 minutes to reach the cave. They can explore the cave and ponder upon the life of our Prophet (Peace be upon him) and how he meditated inside the cave. Also, visitors can enjoy the stunning view of the city.
9. Feel a deep connection at Mount Arafat
Mount Arafat is a significant site for Hajj pilgrims. Popularly known as ‘Jabal Arafat’, it is the place where the beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) stood and delivered his last sermon to his companions and the Muslims accompanying him on Hajj.
While you visit here, there is nothing much to see. You can spend a few minutes and continue exploring other nearby holy places.
10. Go back in history at Jabal Thawr
Located 12km from Makkah, this mountain range houses the famed cave where our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companion Abu Bakr (RA) hid inside for 3 days from their enemies. In order to prevent their enemies from gaining access to the cave, Allah (SWT) had a spider spin a web at its entrance to prevent their enemies from discovering them.
Travelers with good physical strength can make the steep climb and reward themselves with bird’s eye view of the beautiful city.
11. Explore the famed Masjid-e-Ayesha
Also known as Masjid At-Tan’eem, this holy place is located 7.5km south from Makkah. It is considered a ‘Miqaat’ point where Muslim pilgrims enter into Ihram for Umrah or Hajj. Among all the ‘Miqats’ of the Masjid Al-Haram, this is the closest.
Visitors can spend a few minutes at the masjid, pray 2 rakahs of Tahiyatul Masjid, explore around and learn the aspects of wearing Ihram at this meeting point.
12. Admire the City of Mina
Every Umrah pilgrim needs to pass by this place. Located at a distance of 8KM from Makkah in the Jamarat valley, this city is also called as the ‘City of tents’ and is home to Hajj pilgrims during the month of Dhul-Hijah. There is nothing prominent to see here. You can simply pass by this place supplicating to Allah to bring you back here for Hajj.
13. Be amazed at the Jamaraat Bridge
A colossal pedestrian bridge that plays an important role for the Hajj pilgrims. During Hajj, pilgrims use this bridge to throw stones at the three Jamarah pillars as part of the ritual. This bridge was constructed by the Saudi government to ease the movement of pilgrims during this ritual. You can make a quick pass through on your car or bus. You feel a sense of longing to perform Hajj when you see the City of Mina or the Jamaarat bridge.
Visiting these holy places will give you a sense of contentment, gratefulness, and admiration for the blessings bestowed upon you by Allah Almighty. Make your Umrah trip fulfilling and memorable by adding these must-see places to your itinerary.
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