Saudi Arabia: Mecca – Kaaba & Umrat
Umrah is the pilgrimage to Mecca, involving among other rituals a seven anticlockwise circles all around the Kaaba. Unlike hadj, umrah can be performed at any time of the year. The first umrah was performed by Mohammad after the conquest of Mecca in 629 CE. The black square building in the center is the Kaaba, the most sacred item in Islam. The Shri tire is made of stone with the marble interior. The black cloth covering the Kaaba has gold-embroiled verses from Koran. The glass-enclosed pillar outside Kaaba hosts an imprint of the Ibrahim’s (Abraham) foot. The golden entrance door into the Kaaba is made from 300kg of pure gold. The four corners of the Kaaba roughly point to the four cardinal points of compass. Only during the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, was umrah suspended.