In the middle of the harsh Arabian Desert, water is a precious resource. Wells that reach deep into underground springs provide this all important liquid for travellers, but even these run dry during the dry season. But in the middle of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is a well that is said to have never dried out and continues to quench the thirst of the pilgrims each day.
The Zamzam well situated inside the Masjid-al-Haram a few meters from the Kaaba, considered by Muslims to be the holiest place. As legend has it, as Hagar, the second wife of Abraham was walking the desert with her infant son Ishmael who became thirsty. Desperately searching for water, hagar ran seven times between the hills of Safar and Marwah in the hot sun. God heard the cries of Ishmael who was scratching the ground and a fountain of water erupted. Its name comes from the phrase ‘zome, zome’ that was used by Hagar who tried to restrain the flow of water. Abraham later built the Kaaba, the building all Muslims turn to for daily prayers.
Historically, the well was only fenced off before 7th century A.D., after which a domed enclosure of marble was built. To deal with the millions of people who visit Mecca each year to perform the Hajj pilgrimage the well’s water is pumped to the eastern corner where the water is available for drinking. It is so revered that pilgrims carry some home to take blessings to their loved ones who could not make the journey.
During the season of Hajj and Umrah, Mecca turns from a desert valley to one of the most crowded places in the region. Muslims from all over the world flock here to make the pilgrimage they are expected to make at least once in their lifetime. White tents cover the dusty brown valley and prayers are heard through the day. Accommodation in a Makkah hotel must be prearranged during these seasons. To enjoy the ancient Arabic hospitality in luxury try the Raffles Makkah Palace. It offers style and comfort in ways not experienced in other Makkah hotels to give you an unforgettable visit.