Ever since I actively started travelling, it is rare for me to visit a place twice. Not because I don’t want to, but simply because there is no opportunity coming up to visit or sometimes visa issues can be it. Regarding my trip to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, I did it as part of a Muslim pilgrimage so it was an agency taking care of visas and all. Visiting as a tourist can be very hard so that pilgrimage was my occasion to hit two birds with one stone or as we say in Morocco: “hejja ou ziyara” (pilgrimage and tourism, all at once). Two years later, these things are what I miss most about Mecca.
1- Mecca is multicultural
It is fairly simple to meet people from different countries in Mecca, from Indonesia, North Africa, UK or Turkey and everywhere else. All Muslims from all ethnicities and backgrounds gather in one place. I love that mix of cultures.
2- Pilgrimage is an exceptional experience
As a pilgrim, I experienced a traditional Muslim ritual which is really amazing. The feeling of accomplishment is really ecstatic that I did a second pilgrimage the next day and honestly, I really miss that feeling. I never felt so much spiritual energy in my whole life!
3- The call of the prayer
Let’s admit it, the call of the prayer is the same anywhere in Muslim countries. But in Mecca, it is different. It is heard everywhere: in shopping malls, in hotels, in streets and every possible place. Then suddenly, everything stops. People go for a prayer and comeback to their activities.
4- The food
Well, I did not have any Saudi Arabian food in Mecca. But I must say that I was full with all the tasty dishes served at the hotel buffet or at the food courts of shopping malls. I love it that I was able to eat everything without worrying about Pork on dishes. The Halal bacon is just so tasty! And the holy water is just available everywhere.
5- Kaaba, where the world prays to!
This amazingly beautiful cubic black stone is without any doubt the holiest place for Muslims. It is just breathtaking staring at it, touching it or going around it. It is the place where the whole world prays towards and inside the Great Mosque in Mecca, everyone pray in circle as they are already in front of it from all corners. I was amazed by that as I got the habit of praying in one line rather than circles.
6- The Clock Tower
One of the tallest tower in the world is in Mecca. It’s the Macca Royal Clock Tower, formally known as Abraj Al Bait. Seen from the highway while approaching the city, it shines bright with green colours in the sky. It is quite big and standing in front of it, one can look super tiny! I like it a lot but I think it makes Mecca look like Disneyland a little bit. But anyway, I still love this city!