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Islam’s holiest city of Mecca, or ‘Makkah’, is the birthplace of the founder of Islam, the prophet Muhammed, and site of the first revelation of the Quran. Since Mohammad’s birth in 570 AD right up to the modern day, Islam has been inextricably linked with the city.
Incorporated into Saudi Arabia following the Battle of Mecca (1924), Mecca has seen enormous expansion both in size and in infrastructure, with much of the historic city having been demolished as a result of modernisation. Mecca has become one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse cities in the Muslim world, although non-Muslims still remain prohibited from entering the city.
Five times daily, Muslims worldwide face to Mecca in prayer and more than 15 million Muslims visit Mecca annually, including several million on a pilgramage known as the 'Hajj', an obligatory trip for all able Muslims at least once in their life.
In the English language, the word ‘Mecca’ is commonly used when referring to a centre of activity flocked to by a group of people with a common interest. But what is the significance of the city of Mecca? How central has the Islamic faith been in the development of the city? What is the meaning of the ‘Hajj’ or pilgrimages? And what is the relationship between Mecca and other holy cities such as Medina and Jerusalem? Join Patrick and a panel of experts this Sunday 17th February as 'Talking History' discusses Mecca's rise as the holy city of Islam.