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Size: 5" x 3"
Copyrighted: 1891
Lithographer: Joseph P. Knapp

Mecca, Arabia - Temple of Mecca; Mountains of Horeb; Mecca Caravan
Illustrations: An Arabian Beauty; City and Temple of Mecca; The Mountains of Horeb; Caravan Leader; The Mecca Caravan

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Right section:
Mecca, (Makka,) the great holy city of Islam, lies in the heart of a group of hills, a sort of outpost to the great mountain wall that divides the coast lands from the central plateau--a sterile valley about 45 miles east from Jidda on the Red Sea. The hills surrounding Mecca are intersected by a large number of minor valleys connecting with the principal passes of the mountain ranges beyond, thus giving ample means for commercial relations with the outside world. Long before Mohammed, Mecca was established in the two-fold character of a commercial centre and a point for religious homage--religious observances for pilgrims being held jointly with a series of annual fairs in the sacred locality. The special ceremonies of the great feast were always arranged to occur at the time of readiness for the market of the hides, fruits and other merchandise. The victory of Mahommetanism greatly enlarged the importance of the city, making it the centre of pious resort for the entire Mohammedan world; but the curious ceremonies of Islamism savor in many details of the ancient heathen rituals. The ancient walls were only at three points where three gates led into the town. The length of the main axis of the city from the farthest suburbs of the Medina road to those of the extreme north, now frequented by Bedouins, is called 300 paces. About in the middle of this line is the vast enclosure containing the sacred Kaaba and other holy places. This is the only architectural feature of any significance in the city. The Kaaba was the chief sanctuary of Mecca in very ancient times. Its walls are covered with rich curtains of black silk embroidered with texts from the Koran in gold. The grand object of reverence is a great black stone in one corner of the building, placed at a convenient height for the kisses of the pilgrims.
Population, (est.) 50,000.