Mecca at Night during Haj, Saudi Arabia

Photograph by Thomas J. Abercrombie, National Geographic

A quarter million Muslims jam Haram Mosque in the holy city of Mecca to pay homage to Allah. Those in the center (blurred in this time exposure) circle the black-draped Kaaba, most sacred of Islamic shrines. Muslims believe the Prophet Abraham—like Muhammad a messenger of God—and his son Ishmael built the first structure here.

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