The annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, called Hajj, concludes on Wednesday.
Dramatic aerial photos show more than 2 million Muslims taking part in the pilgrimage from the air.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
More than 2 million Muslims gathered in Saudi Arabia this year for Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, which all able-bodied Muslims are required to perform at least once in their lives.
Photographers documenting the massive pilgrimage have taken dramatic pictures from the air, showing the pilgrims taking part in the sacred rites of Hajj, such as walking around the Kaaba and stoning pillars symbolizing the devil.
Continue to see more of these photos from Hajj and to learn more about annual gathering.
More than 1.8 million Muslims from upwards of 160 countries gathered in Mecca for Hajj this year, in addition to 200,000 Saudi Arabian citizens and residents.
Some 20,000 US citizens and residents are taking part in Hajj this year, according to the US consulate in Jeddah. Saudi state media says that the oldest pilgrim is an 103-year-old woman from Thailand.
Source: AP, AP
Some came by car, as this photo from Mecca on Monday shows. In the hot and arid Middle East, white is a popular color of car as they reflect the sun better.
Source: Business Insider/The Telegraph
The focal point of Mecca is the Grand Mosque, where Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba, a cubic building at the center of the mosque, at the beginning and end of the pilgrimage.
Source: Al Jazeera
Pilgrims are required to wear the same simple dress during Hajj. For men, this means white garments without stitching. Woman wear conservative dress and headscarves, but nothing to cover the face, such as a burqa.
Source: AP, BBC
During one part of Hajj, pilgrims take part in a rite in which they throw pebbles at three pillars to symbolize stoning the devil. Pilgrims are seen arriving in Mina on Sunday to take part in the rite, called “Jamarat.”
Sources: AP, Reuters
Participating in Hajj is a physically demanding activity that requires much walking. That exertion is exacerbated by the high temperatures in Mecca during the summer, which is the hottest inhabited place on Earth.
Sources: AP, Business Insider
While wealthier pilgrims stay in hotels, most spend their nights in tent cities like the one pictured below in Mina on Monday.
Those who can afford to stay in tents equipped with air conditioning.
Source: VICE News
For this year’s Hajj, Saudi Arabian officials refused visas from the Congo, where there is an ongoing Ebola outbreak.
The Saudi king invited as his personal guests for Hajj this year the 200 survivors and relatives of the Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque shootings.
Also a new addition this year was a high-speed train connecting pilgrims between Mecca and Medina.
Wednesday marks the final day of the annual pilgrimage, during which …read more
Source:: Business Insider