By Alex Wheeler
September 6, 2016 16:31 BST
Aerial photographs show the holy city of Mecca ahead of Hajj, a five-day spiritual journey that gives Muslims the opportunity to cleanse the faithful of sin, bringing them closer to God.
Roughly 3.7 million people attend Hajj each year, as it is one of the five pillars of Islam. All Muslims must make the pilgrimage once in their lifetime, so long as they are well enough and can afford to do so. The rites of Hajj go back to the time of Prophet Abraham who built the Ka’bah begin on the eighth day of the last month of the year, named Dhul-Hijjah. This year, Hajj falls on 9-14 September.[more images and explanations here]