Millions of Muslims are starting to gather in Mecca, Saudi Arabia for the Hajj set to start on Sept. 9. The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and faithful Muslims are required to complete the journey at least once in their lifetime, if they are physically and financially able to do so.
CCTV’s Adel EL-Mahrouky reports.
City of Mecca expanded to greet Hajj pilgrimageThe holy city if Mecca has already been expanded from 300,000 to 1.5 million square meters. Its capacity has jumped from 600,000 worshipers to 2 million. And each year, more pilgrims keep coming. CCTV’s Adel EL-Mahrouky reports.
Millions of Muslims begin gathering in the holy city of Mecca. For a religion with 1.5 billion followers, there are always more people who want to perform the Hajj than Mecca can handle.
The city hosts 20 million visitors annually – 3 million of them during the annual pilgrimage.
What is Hajj?
“The Islamic religion is one of the most widespread religions in the world. The number of Muslims increases every year,” Mayor of Mecca Dr. Osama bin Fadhel Al-Bar said. “We’re hoping Mecca will be able to receive 4.7 million visitors during the Hajj in three years’ time.”
The kingdom’s ambitious plan includes expanding the holy mosques, widening roads, and building trains and other transport infrastructure.
The first phase of this mega-development is set to cost $120 billion.
For the state, the Hajj is a “cost center,” but for the private sector it’s a “profit center.” An average 2 million pilgrims contribute $17 billion to the housing sector, 200 million to transportation and about 1.2 billion to the food and beverage sector. It’s a season that has a huge impact on the city’s economy.
The holy mosque has already been expanded from 300,000 to 1.5 million square meters. Its capacity has jumped from 600,000 worshipers to 2 million. And each year, more pilgrims keep coming.