Religion Past and Present

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I. Pre-Islamic Period – II. Islamic Period

I. Pre-Islamic Period

Mecca, Arabic Makka, is a city in the western part of the central Arabia lying about 72 km from the Red Sea and situated in an arid and barren depression. The locality is first mentioned in the 2nd century ce by Ptolemy (Geographia VI 7.32) under the Greek name Makóraba, which is probably to be derived from Old South Arabic mkrb, “temple,” “sanctuary.” Among the sanctuaries in and around Mecca, the most important was the Kaʿba in the city, a cube-sh…

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Müller, Walter W. and Nagel, Tilman, “Mecca”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 17 September 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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