Check Out Amazing Photos Of The 3-Million-Person Pilgrimage To Mecca

hajj

Photo: AP

More than two-and-a-half million Muslims are travelling to Saudi Arabia this week for Hajj. This is the biggest gathering of people anywhere, and it will be bigger than ever this year.Even in the world’s richest oil company, that much tourism has an economic impact. In 2010 tourism is expected to generate $17.6 billion — nearly 4 per cent of the Kingdom’s GDP.

Contractors are also cashing in on the pilgrimage, including a projected $40 billion investment in hotels and accommodations and a $5.3 billion rail deal with China.

Inside the Grand Mosque

Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims inside the Grand Mosque, during the annual Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws 2.5 million visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Circling the Kaaba

Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims moving around the Kaaba, the black cube seen at centre, inside the Grand Mosque, during the annual Hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws 2.5 million visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Pilgrims in Arafat, near Mecca

Muslim pilgrims pray outside Namira mosque in Arafat near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws 2,5 million visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Vendors mix with the pilgrims

Muslim pilgrim pray outside Namira mosque in Arafat near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws 2.5 million visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Prayers at the Mountain of Mercy

Muslim pilgrims pray on a rocky hill called the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws 2,5 million visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Pilgrims head to Muzdalifa

Muslim pilgrims head to Muzdalifa from Arafat outside Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws 2.5 million visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Two pilgrims get a ride with a biker

Muslim women pilgrims get a ride to Muzdalifa from Arafat outside Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws 2.5 million visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

travelling around Mecca

Muslim pilgrims head to the Grand Mosque by pick-up truck for noon prayers in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws 3 million visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Saudi Arabis has another valuable resource...

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