Also known as the “Tent City”, Mina is a neighbourhood that sits 5 kilometres to the east of the holy city of Mecca. It plays a central role in the annual Hajj pilgrimage, with its 100,000 air-conditioned tents providing accommodation for the millions of pilgrims that descend on the city.
Within Mina’s 20 square kilometre footprint is the Jamarat Bridge, the location for the symbolic Stoning of the Devil ritual that is performed on the last day of the Hajj pilgrimage. The sunrise to sunset ceremony commemorates the devotion of Prophet Abraham, who famously stoned the Devil that stood between him and the commands set for him by Allah.
It’s important to note that it’s strictly forbidden for non-Muslims to enter the city of Mecca, which includes the neighbourhood of Mina. For those that do obtain a special visa, Jeddah is a gateway to Mina and the city of Mecca. Most visitors fly in, then make the trip via car or bus.
Mina has been considered sacred since the middle ages, with its regal position between Mount Arafat and Mecca's Grand Mosque only adding to its allure. In fact, the region is so hallowed that within its boundaries men and women are not allowed to sleep together.