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Mecca - Medina (Saudi Arabia) December 2008 & August 2009

24093 Views 92 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  luci203
Pelerinajul la Mekka e unul din cei 5 stalpi de baza ai Islamului, ultimul de fapt, si e obligatoriu pentru musulmanii care isi permit din punct de vedere financiar si fizic calatoria.

In trecut, musulmanii din Dobrogea calatoreau cu carutele pana la Constantinopole, apoi luau corabia pana in Egipt, dupa care se inscriau in caravanele care mergeau pe Taramul Sfant. Caravanele in acele vremuri erau un fel de tren, numai ca in loc de compartiment, fiecare avea camila sa, iar in loc de popasuri, existau caravanseraiuri, care erau atat locuri de cazare si masa, cat si de comert, socializare, tratament.

Apoi au aparut vasele cu carbuni, care plecau de la Sulina daca nu ma insel, facand drumul pelerinilor mai usor. facut doar 4 ore si ceva cu avionul, o ora pana la Istanbul, si mai mult de trei ore Istanbul-Medina.

Am facut doua calatorii, una in decembrie 2008 si alta in august 2009. In total mai mult de 5 saptamani. Mi-am atins si ultimul stalp al Islamului, as putea spune ca sunt implinit. Mai ramane sa imi fac o familie si sa imi construiesc o cariera.

Revin cu primele poze, dupa ce le incarc pe photobucket.
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A quite exact map can be seen here.
I visited Medina, Mekka, some towns around them and set off through Jeddah, which is a harbour city, and also the main airline terminal for the pilgrims, because it is situated 80 km west from Mekka.

The distance between Medina and Mekka is about 350 kms.

Fiind grup organizat, am plecat cu...ghici ce companie de transport ?Turkish Airlines, ăf cors :D

No you shouldn't :) I'm not intending to make an album here, I'll try to discuss about my spiritual journey. And of course, about those places :) So please help me bring interesting information...Thanks.

Panoramic picture in the Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
It was kinda busy then, a lot of Muslims went to Saudi Arabia via Istanbul.

We, from Romania, were more than 240 people.

Because of the fact that the pilgrimage to Mekka has to be well-planned, certain countries can only send an aforementioned number of pilgrims. So, in Turkey, Indonesia and Pakistan, people apply to the Religious Ministry and participate in a sort of lottery, but without money, without gains. The gain is the right to go to Mekka.

Out of 10 people in Turkey wanting to go to Mekka, only one can go.

Promise to just look at the pics and keep my mouth shut. :D
Arrival in Medina, panoramic view with the Great Mosque in Medina.
In the left, an old cemetery (some of the Prophet's relatives are buried there, and the cemetery is still in use), in the center thee Mosque, and in far right, some hotels. I'll come back with detailed pictures with each of them.

In the picture you can see a storm, we never knew whether it was going to be a sandstorm or a normal storm. Normal storms there are just like ours, but only having smaller waterdrops :D And in about 10 minutes after the rain, there is absolutely no clue that a few minutes before it was raining.

Strangely enough,some people there were carrying umbrellas not to defend themselves from the water or sand, but from the sun. It was strange to see people using umbrellas when the sun was high up. I burst into laughter when I saw that nobody used their umbrellas when the rain began, and later found out why :) It was useless, the wet clothes would dry in a few minutes. The same applies for wet hair. Take a shower and go outside, and in a few minutes it will be dry.

The Mosque in Medina is one of the biggest in the Muslim world, having more than 40 hectares. I don't know whether it is the constructed area or the surface summarizes the courtyard and the building itself. It was founded in 622, when the Prophet was forced to move from his town, Mekka, to the more relaxed, trustworthy people of the so-called Yathrib[ the name of Medina at that time].

During later periods, the Mosque was further and further extended.

Me heading to the evening prayer

Places to leave your slippers, which you carry with you during the mosque.

A dome inside the mosque in Medina:

P.S. It's an electric dome :D When more light is needed, it simply rolls away, leaving the sunlight get in. You can also watch it here, sorry for the quality of it but I was really nervous becuase of the slight noise it made:

Mosque interiors
In Islam, it is forbidden to paint human faces and animals, so the art of decoration had to redirect itself towards geometry, and create arabesques.

The pilgrims are advised to keep in mind their entrance gate number, in order not to get lost. We always used gate nr. 36 D, because it wasn't that crowded and also close to our hotel.

Closed umbrellas in the courtyard:

And open ones :

On the rooftop of the mosque, where you are closer to the rolling electric domes :D

Ford Ambulance
Sorry for my "moaca", but I have no other :lol:
I couldn't find clearer pictures with those domes, actually.


Those gates during the day:

Medina skyline ? :lol:

I was also impressed :) Thank you for your appreciation :)

Although I think that those exaggerated decorations, especially those which immitate the gold, are a little too "kitschy".

Taking into account that we have some traveling facilities in the E.U. and most of us have seen many developed countries, I wonder what's the effect on people coming from Bangladesh, Chad, Nigeria, Tadjikistan :) They must be :eek:mg:

By the way, do you use to watch the Turkish serial 1001 Nights ? :) I did, shame on me, but don't regret it :D
WOW that square ,the mosque the decorations look astonishing .It is really like in 1001 Nights .I simply can't take my eys from your photos .Very beautiful and very interesting topic indeed.
As you'll see here, about 60% of the cars are white :)

Poor women sell avocados. Remember the umbrellas protecting against the sun, and the white cars ? :D

Block of flats:

I've seen quite a few of these:

Me, again.
The pilgrimage itself takes a few days, during which men wear only two pieces of white, unsewed, simple cloth.
It immitates the material with which the Muslims burry their deceased, so during the pilgrimage, Muslims must think at death, and what should he have done to be a better man, and what can he change when he returns home.

All people during the pilgrimage are equal, because nobody wears sewn clothes, and everybody is carrying the minimum stuff he needs: water, some food, some money. The family is left behind, the wealth is left behind, and everybody there tries to be a better man, to seek mercy from Allah. I was given gifts there from persons I didn't met earlier. I ate with them, talked with them, laughed and cried with them.

I ran into an Uzbek carpet-seller in Medina. Beneath our hotel he was running his shop, he noticed my Asian traits and addressed me in Uzbek, which I did recognize because of my mother tongue, Tatar. He thought I was also Uzbek :)

We drank a cup of tee, and he kept on telling me how did he came to Saudi Arabia from Afganistan during the '80 petrol boom, how did he manage to run a business in Saudia Arabia, because non-Saudis in that country are forbidded to possess real estate, how did he went back and bring his wife, and how did he manage to send his sons to the university.

I was freezing in the cold mall.

When the pilgrimage ends, men can wear normal clothes. But who's that Robin Hood, who'd try to wear blue jeans in the desert ? :lol:
It's really comfortable, except for those occasions when you sit near a group of Arabs, and while trying to stand up, you accidentally step on the jelabiye [dress], and while you flip your arms to maintain your balance, everybody is bursting into laughter :)

Exterior of the mosque

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