The only item inside are the three pillars that support the ceiling and a number of hung silver and gold lamps. The Kaaba is draped with a large black brocade cloth, known as the kiswah, for the majority of the year. During the hajj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, pilgrims surround the Kaaba. A mosque is located at the Kaaba's eastern corner.
Outside the Kaaba are two rows of markers set into the ground. These markers divide the area of the city into four parts: Mecca to the west, Medina to the north, Jedda to the east, and Halifa to the south. Each year, Muslims around the world celebrate the Hajj by traveling to Mecca to worship and to donate money to help the poor.
The Kaaba is important because it is where Allah (God) chooses to reside among humans. All mosques are supposed to be built around the Kaaba, but some people travel so far that they cannot build a mosque immediately. In these cases, they build near existing mosques or churches.
During the hajj, every Muslim who can afford it travels to Mecca and walks in a counterclockwise direction seven times around the Kaaba. This is called tawaf al-ka'bah. It is recommended that you do this too but not required.
After walking seven rounds, everyone stops at the southern point of the street grid and says a prayer of gratitude for being given life.
The Kaaba, often called Ka'bah, is a modest shrine at the center of Mecca's Great Mosque that Muslims worldwide regard as the most sacred site on Earth. It is only exposed during the annual Hajj pilgrimage when everyone in a circumambulation route around the Kaaba.
According to Islamic belief, the Earth is shaped like a huge sphere and has a central cavity called "the Center of the Earth". This theory comes from a hadith (a story about the life of Muhammad) in which God is said to have created the earth with its axis upright so that there could be no doubt as to which direction to pray toward (i.e. heaven). Some scientists believe that this analogy has great similarities to a human brain, where the cortex constitutes the surface of the brain and the cerebellum is located in the center. Others claim that the idea of the center of the earth can be found in many ancient cultures across Europe and Asia.
However, this theory is not supported by scientific evidence. The center of the earth is actually quite small and lies deep inside our planet. Geologists know this because they can see signs of erosion around the world that indicate that the rock was once part of the earth's surface but has been worn down by time.
The inside of the Kaaba is now lined with marble, while the upper walls are covered with a green linen. Plaques on the walls commemorate the restoration or reconstruction of the House of Allah by the monarch of the day. They include images of King Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, King Fahd bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, and other members of the royal family.
In addition to being the holiest place in Islam, the mosque is also the burial site of several important Islamic figures including Muhammad's daughter-in-law Fatimah (who died in ad 634) and his grandson Imam Ali (who was killed in ad 662). Other important people buried there include some of the first Muslims after the death of Muhammad, such as Abu Bakr (r. ad 632-634) and Omar (r. ad 644-658).
The last person to be buried there was Haji Khalifa, who died in 1949. Prior to that time, the mosque was used for religious practices because no one had been buried in it since Imam Ali's death over 600 years earlier.
The current king of Saudi Arabia, Salman, announced in November 2011 that he would like to see the interior of the mosque restored.