The Great Mosque of Mecca ; Masjid al-Ḥarām, lit. “the sacred mosque” , also called the Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds Islam’s holiest place, the Kaaba, in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Muslims face in the Qibla (direction of the Kaaba) while performing Salat (obligatory daily prayers).
One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, one of the largest annual gatherings of people in the world, at least once in his or her lifetime if able to do so, including Tawaf (circumambulation) of the Kaaba.
The first major renovation under the Saudi kings was done between 1955 and 1973. In this renovation, four more minarets were added, the ceiling was refurnished, and the floor was replaced with artificial stone and marble. The Mas’a gallery (Al-Safa and Al-Marwah) is included in the Masjid via roofing and enclosements. During this renovation many of the historical features built by the Ottomans, particularly the support columns, were demolished.