The hajj pilgrimage, which starts at Islam’s holiest sites in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, is one of the world’s largest annual gatherings.
Here are some figures illustrating its scale:
- More than two million pilgrims are taking part this year, according to official figures, compared to 1.86 million last year and just 24,000 in 1941.
- Some 221,000 Indonesians are currently in Mecca, the highest ever number from a foreign country, an Indonesian official told the Saudi Gazette newspaper.
- More than 100,000 security personnel have been mobilised to keep pilgrims safe, the Saudi interior ministry says.
- Some 17,000 civil defence employees backed by 3,000 vehicles are also helping with security.
- Thousands of security cameras have been set up along the pilgrimage route, according to a civil defence spokesman.
- Tens of thousands of air-conditioned tents have been set up in Mina, between Mount Arafat and Mecca, to house pilgrims.
- The Saudi Red Crescent has mobilised 2,468 employees and 500 volunteers, who will work with 326 ambulances and eight helicopters.
- More than 700 Saudi cooks have been recruited to feed the faithful, Arab News reported.
- Saudi Arabia hopes to welcome 30 million pilgrims annually in the kingdom by 2030, the Saudi Gazette said, up from the current 8 million. Muslims also flock to the country for the umra pilgrimage, which can be performed at any time of the year.
- Last year, 712,000 animals were slaughtered during the hajj, according to the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.