ThePlace: Grand Mosque in Makkah

Updated 16 June 2018

ThePlace: Grand Mosque in Makkah

  • It is home to the Holy Kaaba, which is the “Qibla,” toward which all Muslims face when praying
  • In the year 692, the mosque underwent its first extensive renovation

Worshippers flocked to Eid Al-Fitr prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah early on Friday morning. More than two million people gathered to attend the last night of the Qur’an recitation during the holy month of Ramadan. The Grand Mosque, also called Al-Haram Mosque, or the Sacred Mosque, is the largest in the world and is located in the heart of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It is home to the Holy Kaaba, which is the “Qibla,” toward which all Muslims face when praying. An estimated 900,000 worshippers visit the mosque each day, with that number rising to 4 million during the Hajj season. The late King Abdullah initiated a major extension project in 2007 to raise the mosque’s capacity to two million. Long before that, in the year 692, the mosque underwent its first extensive renovation. Previously, the Grand Mosque was made up of an open space with the Kaaba at its center, but Abd AlMalik ibn Marwan, the fifth Umayyad caliph, asked for the mosque’s columns to be switched from wood to marble. Additionally, he ordered the addition of a minaret. The second major reconstruction of the mosque happened in 1570, during the Ottoman era, when calligraphy-inscribed domes were added, along with additional columns — still stand-out features of the mosque today. The Grand Mosque is also home to the Well of Zamzam, which Muslims have used since Prophet Ibrahim’s era, and still supplies many Muslims and pilgrims with water. The site also includes other important areas such as the Black Stone, the Station of Ibrahim, and the hills of Safa and Marwa.


ThePlace: Souk Al-Majlis of Qassim

Updated 07 December 2019

ThePlace: Souk Al-Majlis of Qassim

The Saudi marketplace Souk Al-Majlis, or the Divan Heritage Souk, is part of the old town of Al-Maznab and lies 7 kilometers from the urban center of the city in Al-Derah district.

Al-Maznab township itself is located  in southeastern Qassim province and covers an area of about 2 square kilometers.

It contains more than 380 houses of various sizes, while the old Divan Heritage Souk and the Masque of Bahla Palace form the starting point for the district and its main center.

The souk is popular with visitors and locals and hosts summer events, auctions and folklore presentations among other similar activities.