Mecca (Arab. Makka), the birthplace of Mohammed, and the religious centre of the Moslem world, is a city about 45 miles due E. from Jidda on the Red Sea, and is the capital of Hijaz, a province of Arabia. The houses are fairly built, and the streets tolerably yyide; but the cramped position of the city in a deep valley, the utter want of drainage, and the overcrowding at the holy season, give occasion to fearful epidemics, whilst in the rainy weather floods are a constant source of danger. The Great Mosque (Beit Allah) occupies a level site about the middle of the city, and encloses within a rectangular cloistered court the famous Kaaba (q.v.). The great pilgrimage of the year takes place in June and July, when as many as 100,000 hajis often assemble. Burckhardt, Burton, and Von Maltzahn are among the few unbehevers who have visited the holy places.