The Black Stone: Photos of Revered Islamic Relic Released for the First Time

© AP Photo / Dar YasinMuslim pilgrims circumambulate around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque, before leaving for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws millions of visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world
Muslim pilgrims circumambulate around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque, before leaving for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, early Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018. The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws millions of visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2021
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The photos arrive as the daily attendance at the Grand Mosque in Mecca during this year’s Hajj was limited amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with only those vaccinated reportedly being allowed to perform prayers at the Kaaba.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Saudi Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque has recently released pictures of the Islamic relic known as the Black Stone.

Set in the corner of the Kaaba, the ancient building located within the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Black Stone is usually accessible to Muslim worshippers during the annual pilgrimage known as the Hajj.

This year’s Hajj, however, witnessed daily attendance inside the Grand Mosque being limited to just 50,000 pilgrims amid the restrictions imposed during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, The Times of Israel notes.

With only those vaccinated being allowed to perform prayers at the Kaaba, the General Presidency has released the Black Stone’s photos "as part of a series showing a number of holy artefacts that play a role in the Hajj", the newspaper adds.

The General Presidency has reportedly announced that 1,050 high-resolution photographs of the Black Stone were taken, with some of the images being up to 49,000 megapixels in size.

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