MAKE AN OFF-SEASON PILGRIMAGE
Every year, over five days in the lunar month of Dhu’l-Hijja, nearly a million and a half Muslims congregate in Makkah for the hajj pilgrimage. During that week, the city feels almost impossibly packed with celebrants. Makkah remains steadily busy all year round, but the main sites visited during the hajj—apart from the Kaaba—are surprisingly empty for the rest of the year. This is quite a contrast to the crush of visitors during the hajj, and makes an appealing time to visit—whether you’re curious about what to expect when you embark on your own hajj, or (if you’ve done the pilgrimage before) you simply want to see what the landmarks look like in the absence of fellow worshippers. We’d advise hiring a car and driver to make your circuit through the primary sites: the plain of Arafat, where the Prophet Muhammad delivered his farewell sermon at Jabal al-Rahmah, the Mount of Mercy; Muzdalifah, the valley where pilgrims spend a night in the open air; and Mina, where 100,000 tents are erected during the hajj, and where pilgrims participate in the ritual of the stoning of Satan at Jamarat.
The Conrad concierge can arrange a driver and guide for a four-to-five-hour tour of the holy sites.