Makkah is a city in Saudi Arabia, and the holiest meeting place in Islam, closely followed by Madinah. The city is modern, cosmopolitan and while being closed to non-Muslims, is nonetheless ethnically diverse.
Muslim tradition attributes the beginning of Makkah to Prophet Ismail's descendants. In the 7th century, the Islamic Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. proclaimed Islam in the city which was by then an important trading center. After 966, Makkah was led by local sharifs until 1924 when the Ottoman Empire collapsed and it came under the rule of the Saudis, with the exception of the 1916-1925 period, when it was part of the Hashimite Kingdom of Hijaz. In its modern period, Makkah has seen tremendous expansion in size and infrastructure.
The modern day city is the capital of Saudi Arabia's Makkah Province, in the historic Hijaz region. With a population of 1.7 million (2008), the city is located 73 km (45 miles) inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of 277 metres (909 feet) above sea level. Source: Wikipedia.