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Mecca or Makkah is a city in The Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula which is a part of the Tihamah plain in Saudi Arabia and is also the capital and administrative headquarters of the Makkah Region.The city is located 70 km (43 mi) inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of 277 m (909 ft) above sea level, and 340 kilometres (210 mi) south of Medina. Its resident population in 2012 was roughly 2 million, although visitors more than triple this number every year during the hajj (“pilgrimage”) period held in the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhu al-Hijjah.
As the birthplace of Muhammad and the site of Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran (specifically, a cave 3 km (2 mi) from Mecca), Mecca is regarded as the holiest city in the religion of Islam and a pilgrimage to it known as the Hajj is obligatory for all able Muslims. Mecca is home to the Kaaba,Islam’s holiest site, as well as being the direction of Muslim prayer. Mecca was long ruled by Muhammad’s descendants, the sharifs, acting either as independent rulers or as vassals to larger polities. It was conquered by Ibn Saud in 1925. In its modern period, Mecca has seen tremendous expansion in size and infrastructure, home to structures such as the Abraj Al Bait, also known as the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, the world’s fourth tallest building and the building with the third largest amount of floor area. During this expansion, Mecca has lost some historical structures and archaeological sites, such as the Ajyad Fortress.Today, more than 15 million Muslims visit Mecca annually, including several million during the few days of the Hajj. As a result, Mecca has become one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Muslim world, even though non-Muslims are prohibited from entering the city.
Medina al-Madinah al-Munawwarah, “the radiant city” al-Madinah (Hejazi pronunciation: [alma’di?na]), “the city”), also transliterated as Madinah, is a city in the Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula and administrative headquarters of the Al-Madinah Region of Saudi Arabia. At the city’s heart is al-Masjid an-Nabawi (“the Prophet’s Mosque”), which is the burial place of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and is the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca.
Medina was Muhammad’s destination of his Hijrah (migration) from Mecca, and became the capital of a rapidly increasing Muslim Empire, under Muhammad’s leadership. It served as the power base of Islam in its first century where the early Muslim community developed. Medina is home to the three oldest mosques, namely the Quba Mosque, al-Masjid an-Nabawi, and Masjid al-Qiblatayn (“the mosque of the two qiblas”). Muslims believe that the chronologically final surahs of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad in Medina, and are called Medinan surahs in contrast to the earlier Meccan surahs.