06.07.2022, Saudi-Arabien, Mekka: Muslimische Pilger umrunden die Kaaba, das heiligste Heiligtum des Islam, in der Großen Moschee in der heiligen saudischen Stadt Mekka während der jährlichen Hadsch-Pilgerfahrt. Foto: Amr Nabil/AP/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims have gathered near Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the start of the Muslim pilgrimage Hajj. With around one million pilgrims admitted, the number of participants is again well above that of the previous year, when only around 60,000 believers were allowed to come due to corona.

Some of the Corona rules have now been relaxed. Before the pandemic, around 2.5 million Muslims attended in 2019. Hajj is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world.

This year, the mouthguard rules were partially relaxed, and for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Muslims are allowed to travel from abroad. However, the faithful must still be under 65 years old and fully vaccinated against Corona.

For devout Muslims, pilgrimage is one of the five basic duties. Every devout Muslim who is healthy and can afford it should make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in their lifetime. For the long journey from Asia, Africa or other parts of the world, many of them save for years.

The pilgrimage, which is also organized through travel agencies and tour operators, can quickly cost a pilgrim several thousand dollars.