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There are many misconceptions about the Muslim faith. They range from the way Muslims deal with women to the way that Muslims worship. This can make traveling to Mecca a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five tips for anyone who wants to visit this holy city and needs some guidance on what they can expect.
1. Mecca is not a place for non-Muslims
Although Mecca is the holiest site in Islam, it is not open to everyone. You need a visa and a guide from the country you are traveling from. There is no visa on arrival at the airport. You can, however, get your visa before you leave your home country from many travel agencies and consulates. Make sure to do this ahead of time; religious officials are known for refusing entry to people who didn’t plan ahead.
2. Mecca moves around a year to year
Mecca is located in Saudi Arabia, so it changes location every year as it follows the path of the sun. The city moves due to wind and sand, but the direction doesn’t change. Once a year, pilgrims are allowed to make their way to Mecca. Since this path is not set in stone, it can be very easy for you to get lost or your guide can fall behind. You are encouraged not to go during this time due to the high density of religious pilgrims and a large number of visitors.
3. Mecca is not a clean place
Mecca comes from Arabic “Makkah,” which means house of God. Due to the many rituals that occur there, it can be considered unclean by some people. However, according to Islam, the holy site is concerned with God’s teachings rather than cleanliness.
4. Mecca is a place of business
The Kaaba is the focus of many prayers and rituals in the Muslim faith. It holds great significance to pilgrims such as those who go to Mecca in the Hajj. Every year a large number of travelers come to Mecca for business; the holy city can be a mecca for many industries including tourism, hotels, restaurants, and more.
5. Mecca has a strict dress code
There are no women allowed in religious areas within the city itself which is why it’s important to keep your clothing covered at all times while you are there. Unfortunately, there are no rules on looking like or being an exception to the dress code while you’re outside of them as well.
Mecca is a holy site that is very important in the Muslim faith. Visiting this site is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s important to note that there are many misconceptions associated with Mecca, so before you go it’s good to see what these are and have a better understanding of what Mecca is like.