Introducing the mosques of Makkah

When you hear the words “mosques in Makkah”, your mind turns to Al Masjid Al Haram, the Grand Mosque or Holy Mosque. However, Makkah is packed with many other mosques of great religious and historical significance. Here is an essential guide to some important mosques and miqat stations in Makkah.

Aisha Mosque (Al Taneem Mosque)

On the road north to Madinah, Al Taneem Mosque is one of the most important mosques in Makkah. It is also called Aisha Mosque because it was built in the place where Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her), wife of Mohammed (PBUH), went into ihram. It serves as a miqat station, with facilities for pilgrims to change into ihram clothing before entering Makkah city center.

Nimra Mosque



Nimra Mosque on the Plains of Arafat


Although only two prayers per year are offered at this mosque, it is one of the most famous and important in Makkah. It was here, on the plains of Arafat, that Mohammed (PBUH) delivered his Farewell Sermon in 632. On the ninth day of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah, Hajj pilgrims spend the day on the plains of Arafat in rituals and prayer.

Around 21 km southeast of the Grand Mosque, the Nimra Mosque is accessible during Hajj via the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro line. Thanks to expansion works, the mosque can accommodate around 350,000 worshippers.

Al Khayf Mosque

One of the oldest mosques in Makkah, Al Khayf Mosque stands at the foot of a mountain in Mina about 10 km east of the Grand Mosque. It is near the smallest jamara, one of three walls used for the ritual stoning of the devil. Following the example of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), Hajj pilgrims pray here during their stay in Mina.

Expanded with four new minarets, air conditioning and toilets, the mosque can accommodate 45,000 worshippers and is accessible during Hajj via Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro line.


Al Khayf Mosque

Al Khayf Mosque, one of Mecca’s oldest, has recently been expanded


Aqaba Mosque

Also known as Bayah Mosque, this mosque is located to the right of Jamaraat Bridge, near the Jamara of Aqaba used for stoning the devil. It was built by the Caliph Abu Jaafar al-Mansur in 761 on the spot were Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) met with tribal leaders from Yathrib (now Madinah). After swearing the oath of allegiance to Islam, they became the Ansar, or “Helpers”.

Mosque of the Jinn

One of the most ancient mosques in Makkah, the Mosque of the Jinn is close to the Grand Mosque. It marks the spot where a group of Jinn is said to have gathered to hear The Prophet (PBUH) recite from the Koran. As a result, they embraced Islam. It is a popular mosque to visit in Makkah, but has no women’s section.

Al Ji’ranah Mosque

Northeast of Makkah, Al Ji’ranah Mosque is where The Prophet (PBUH) entered into ihram after the Battle of Hunayn in the year 630. Following this example, the mosque is now a well-equipped miqat station.

Other places to visit in Makkah

Looking for more ideas? See some places to visit in Makkah, including museums and holy sites.

Discover the Top Things to Do in Makkah

Makkah, the most sacred place in Islam, is the focal point for Islamic religious pilgrimages. Every year, the Saudi Arabian city beckons millions of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims from far and wide to several of its important religious sites that offer interesting glimpse into its formidable connection with the historical past of Islam.

Apart from its rich history and spiritual significance in the Islamic wold, Makkah also offers plenty of remarkable things to do and see for its visitors to partake in.



Kiswa creation for the Holy Kaaba at Al Kiswa Factory


Discover Abraj Al Bait, Makkah’s sensational shopping and hotel complex

An essential guide to visiting the stunning Abraj Al Bait complex in Makkah, including its luxury hotels and shopping mall packed with exclusive stores.

The Abraj Al Bait complex is the most striking modern development in Makkah city center. Featuring the world’s largest clock faces, its tallest tower rises over 600 meters high and is visible from miles around.

The landmark complex houses the five-storey Abraj Al Bait Mall with around 4,000 shops, a museum of Islamic art and prayer rooms for up to 10,000 worshippers. Two viewing platforms offer sweeping views over Makkah.

A revolutionary building project

Opened in 2011, Abraj Al Bait is part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project. It is built on the ruins of the historic Ajyad Fortress and consists of seven Islamic-style towers.

The main entrance, King Abdul-Aziz Gate, is just south of the Grand Mosque. The towers are arranged with the lower ones in front, so as not to block the enchanting view of the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba.

Abraj Al Bait is one of the largest constructional developments in the world, covering an area of more than 1.4 million square meters. At just over 600 meters, it is the third tallest building in the world.

Introducing Abraj Al Bait hotels

The tallest tower is home to a luxury hotel, the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, a Fairmont Hotel. Rising 76 stories over Makkah, it has spectacular views over the city. Other 5-star hotels in Makkah’s Abraj Al Bait complex include the Raffles Makkah Palace hotel, the Swissôtel Makkah hotel, the Swissôtel Al Maqam Makkah hotel and the Pullman Zamzam Makkah hotel. The hotels overlook the Grand Mosque, the Kaaba and the city center.

Guests staying in an Abraj Al Bait hotel are able to walk in and out easily, as there are enough podiums and elevators to allow 75,000 people to come and go for prayer without difficulty.

World-class shopping at Abraj Al Bait Mall

Abraj Al Bait contains one of the best shopping malls in Makkah. Spread over five levels, it contains around 4,000 shops and stores. You can find anything you need, from essential items to souvenirs and clothing from luxury brands. There is also a popular food court.

Other features you’ll love to discover

The Abraj Al Bait complex offers:

  • Male and female prayer rooms for up to 10,000 worshippers
  • Two viewing platforms offer sweeping views over Makkah
  • A museum of Islamic art
  • An observation center used for sighting the moon
  • Residential apartments
  • A parking garage with space for over 1,000 vehicles

Need help finding your way around?

If you are staying at one of the luxury Abraj Al Bait hotels, simply ask the concierge for directions or information about facilities and opening times.

Kaaba with Abraj Al Bait clock tower in the background

Abraj Al Bait hotels have gorgeous views of the Kaaba


Abraj Al Bait Mall interior

Discover world-class shopping in Abraj Al Bait Mall.

Quick guide to the best places to visit in Makkah

Ever wondered about the best places to visit and things to do in Makkah? There is no religious obligation to visit any of these sites, but you’ll love discovering them – many places in Makkah are closely associated with the history of Islam.

Al Noor mountain, home to the Cave of Hira

Northeast of Makkah is the Cave of Hira, where The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received his first revelation. After (carefully!) climbing over 1,000 steps up Al Noor mountain you reach the entrance to the cave, which overlooks Makkah. The cave is only large enough for five people, but during Hajj season it is extremely busy with several thousand visitors per day. See more information about visiting Hira and Al Noor mountain.

Cave of Thawr, ancient hiding place

A short drive south of Makkah is the Cave of Thawr, a hollow rock in Thawr Mountain. Here is where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companion Abu Bakr (Allah is pleased with him) took refuge from the Quraysh tribe during the migration to Medina. See more information about visiting the Cave of Thawr.

The spectacular Abraj Al Bait

Not all places to visit in Makkah are historical. Opened in 2011, the striking Abraj Al Bait skyscraper complex by the Grand Mosque is the tallest building in Saudi Arabia. It is home to 5-star hotels and the five-storey Abraj Al Bait Mall, as well as viewing platforms and huge prayer rooms. See more information about Abraj Al Bait.

Some of Makkah’s most interesting mosques

There are several important mosques in Makkah and the surrounding region. These include miqat stations such as Al Ji’ranah Mosque, marking the place where Muhammad (PBUH) entered into ihram after the Battle of Hunayn.

Close to the Grand Mosque, the ancient Mosque of the Jinn is located where a group of Jinn once gathered to hear the Prophet (PBUH) recite passages from the Koran. They later accepted Islam and swore the oath of allegiance.

See more information about visiting mosques in Makkah.

Makkah museums: a glimpse into history

West of Makkah lies the Al-Haramain Museum, known as the Museum of the Two Holy Mosques or Exhibition of the Two Holy Mosques Architecture. This depicts the history of the Holy Mosques through pictures, models, antiques and inscriptions. You can also see an exhibition on the Kiswa and the rim of the Zamzam well. Call in advance to arrange a visit.

Close by, you can visit the Kaaba Kiswa Factory where the Kiswa is handcrafted each year.

The Makkah Museum in Al Zahir Palace displays exhibits on Islamic calligraphy and art, as well as antiques and archaeology.

Where to find Makkah trip advice

If you are staying at one of Accor’s 5-star hotels in Makkah, simply ask the concierge for advice on places to visit in Makkah and how to get there.

View from Al Noor mountain

Al Noor mountain near Makkah, home to the Cave of Hira


Abraj Al Bait towers at night

The glorious towers of Abraj Al Bait by night

Understand the Kiswa and why it’s so special

Discover some amazing facts about the Kiswa, the black silk cloth embroidered with Quranic verses that covers the Kaaba in Makkah. Why is it so special?

Brief history of the Kiswa

Since the time of The Prophet Ismael (PBUH), one of the most important aspects of venerating the Holy Kaaba has been the Kiswa. Most stories indicate that the first person to cover the Kaaba was the King of Yemen, Tubba Abu Karab of Himyar.

Tubba’s successors considered the Kaaba’s cover to be a religious duty. When the Kiswa became worn out or damaged, it was replaced and the old one was cut into small pieces and buried.

Where is the Kiswa made?

At first, the kings of Egypt and Yemen took turns producing the Kaaba cover. Then Egypt took over completely, until political disputes caused Egypt to stop sending covers. Kaaba covers are now produced in Makkah.

Learn how to visit the Kiswa Factory in Makkah.

Amazing facts about the Kiswa

  • It is made of 670 kg of black silk.
  • An estimated 220 kg of gold and silver thread is needed to embroider its Quranic verses.
  • It covers 658 sqm.
  • It currently takes 137 workers around 8 months to create the Kiswa. More sophisticated machinery is speeding up the embroidery process.
  • Cost estimates vary, but it is valued at around 22 million SAR, around 6 million USD.
  • The Kaaba cover is replaced annually on the Day of Arafah, the ninth day of the Hajj month of Dhu al-Hijjah.
Makkah Kaaba Door with verses from the Koran in gold

The Kiswa is richly embroidered with Quranic verses

Discover the story and symbolism of the Black Stone

Have you ever wondered what the Black Stone is and where it comes from? An Islamic relic in the wall of the Kaaba, pilgrims often touch and kiss it as part of the tawaf ritual. Here is a short insight into this precious stone:

Set in an oval silver frame in the southeastern corner of the Kaaba, the Black Stone is where a pilgrim’s tawaf begins and ends. As they circle the Kaaba, pilgrims kiss, touch or point towards it, following the example of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

Origins of the Black Stone

The Black Stone, set into the wall about 1.5 metres off the ground, is no longer whole but broken into several fragments of black rock. They are shiny, worn down by hundreds of years of being touched and kissed by pilgrims.

The stone derives is importance and value in Islam to its origins as a stone from heaven. There are different stories about how it appeared and was placed in the wall of the Kaaba.

The Black Stone throughout history

Why is the Black Stone not whole? It has had a tumultuous history, with many attempts at theft or removal. It was damaged during the Siege of Mecca in 683 AD, during which the Kaaba was badly burned by the Umayyad army.

Kissing the Black Stone

When circling the Kaaba as part of the tawaf, you can try to touch the stone with your hand and kiss it. If you can’t reach it, you can point at it or kiss something else which has touched the stone.

As the cornerstone of the Kaaba, the Black Stone is the most venerated stone on the face of the earth. Muslims wish to kiss it because the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) did so. However, keep in mind that the Black Stone is simply a stone. It is symbolic like a country’s flag is symbolic: something to respect and take pride in. Kissing it is not an obligation but a demonstration of love, just as you would kiss one of your children.

As the Second Khalifa of the Muslims, Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) is quoted as saying:

I know that you are a stone, you do not cause benefit or harm; and if it were not that I had seen Allah’s Messenger – peace and blessings of Allah be upon him – kiss you, I would never have kissed you.

Learn more

To learn more about the tawaf and other rituals, see our step-by-step guide to Hajj or guide to Umrah.

The Black Stone in Makkah

The Black Stone is protected by a silver frame

Kaaba in Mecca

Set in the southeast corner of the Kaaba, the Black Stone is venerated by Muslims

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