Saudi Arabia’s religious tourism, encompassing the holiest places in Islam, contributes to 20% of the country’s GDP and is a critical global tourist destination.
The industry offers numerous job opportunities across various sectors like transportation, hospitality, and tourism. Moreover, the Saudi government aims to boost the religious tourism sector to 30 million visitors by 2030.
Saudi Arabia’s Most Famous Religious Tourist Attractions
The Grand Mosque (Muslim Qiblah)
The Grand Mosque is one of the world’s greatest religious and historical structures. It is Islam’s first and most magnificent mosque, and it is located in the heart of Mecca, west of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Holy Kaaba, which was the first building constructed on the face of the Earth, is located in the centre of it and is the most significant and sacred place on Earth for Muslims.
In addition to being the location of Muslims’ Hajj and Umrah rituals, this mosque is regarded as a major hub for prayer, meditation, and divine communication.
The Grand Mosque contains several significant locations besides the Holy Kaaba, including Al-Safa, Al-Marwah, and the tomb of the prophet Ibrahim.
About thirteen minarets, five main doors, ten subsidiary doors, a four-story prayer square, and a prayer hall that is between 400 and 800 metres long are all features of the mosque.
The Prophet’s Mosque
The Prophet’s Mosque, the second-holiest place in Islam after the Grand Mosque in Mecca, is one of the biggest mosques in the world and a major religious tourist destination in Saudi Arabia.
According to the most recent data, the Prophet’s Mosque has hosted 5.5 million visitors and worshippers.
The Holy Kaaba draws pilgrims from all over the world to perform the Hajj and Umrah rituals, and it is regarded as the first structure built for humans. Standing at a height of fifteen square metres, it is situated in the centre of the Grand Mosque.
The Black Stone, which God Almighty sent to earth from heaven to finish building the Holy Kaaba, is located southeast of the Kaaba.
The first mosque constructed in Medina following the advent of Islam, it is considered one of the city’s most significant religious sites.
A half-hour’s moderate walking distance, or 3.5 kilometres, separates the mosque from the Prophet’s Mosque.
The mosque building and its service facilities take up 13,500 square metres, with the prayer hall alone taking up 5,000 square metres. This allows for the accommodation of 20,000 worshippers.
Mount Uhud and Martyrs’ Graveyard
One of the most important geographical and historical landmarks in Medina, it is regarded as one of the most well-known mountains in the Arabian Peninsula.
Its composition of volcanic rock is the most notable of its many unique characteristics.
Its distinctive landscape, which includes valleys, coral reefs, and historically significant structures like castles and centuries-old petroglyphs, makes it a popular destination for tourists.
The seventy companions of Prophet Muhammad who were martyred in the Battle of Uhud are buried in the mountainous plain.
With considerable religious holiness among Muslims, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. One of Muslims’ most significant Hajj rituals is scaling to it or just standing close to it during the ninth month of Dhu al-Hijjah. Between Mecca and Taif, at a distance of 22 kilometres, is the well-known Mount Arafat.
Fatima Al-Zahra’s Mosque or Al-Rahma Floating Mosque
It is one of the most well-known tourist destinations in Saudi Arabia, drawing visitors from all over the world who practise various religions.
You can enjoy its unique appearance because it is located in the heart of the sea, close to the Jeddah Corniche.
The mosque stands out for its exterior and interior architectural features, which include night lighting fixtures.
It is noteworthy that, since the mid-1980s, this is the oldest mosque constructed on the seashore.