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The Hajj’s massive scale, seen from the air

By Johnny Simon

The Hajj, the yearly pilgrimage of observant Muslims to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia that began yesterday (Aug. 19), will continue through Aug. 24. One of the largest migration events in the world—more than 2 million are expected to make the journey—its sheer size is appreciated best from above.

Aerial photos show the seemingly unending parade of pilgrims and the infrastructure necessary to accommodate them, from seas of tents and buses to the massive Grand Mosque itself.

EPA/Sedat Suna
Every year, thousands of Muslim worshippers gather for the Hajj pilgrimage.
EPA/Sedat Suna
Acres of cars used by pilgrims in Mina, Aug. 20.
EPA/Sedat Suna
Thousands of hand-knotted carpets in fields owned by carpet companies near Mecca.
AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
Pilgrims are seen moving around the Kaaba, the black cube seen at center, inside the Grand Mosque, in 2011.
AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed
Pilgrims make their way to throw stones at a pillar, symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in Mina, 2014.
AP Photo/Amr Nabil
Crowds walk toward a building complex containing the pillars for the ritual called “Jamarat,” 2013.
EPA/Sedat Suna
Buses in Mina, Aug. 20.
AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty
Tents at the hajj, seen from a helicopter, in Mecca, 2016.
Reuters/Ammar Awad
Muslim pilgrims arrive to cast stones at pillars symbolizing Satan, seen in 2011.
Reuters/Ammar Awad
A view of the tents at Mena, where pilgrims cast stones at walls symbolizing Satan, 2011.
Reuters/Susan Baaghil
Pilgrims on Mount Mercy outside Mecca, 2008.
Reuters/Susan Baaghil
Buses in a parking lot outside Mecca, 2008.
Reuters/Muhammad Hamed
Tents on the second day of Eid al-Adha in Mina, 2014.
Reuters/Hassan Ali
Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Arafat near Mecca, 2010.
Reuters/Mohammed Salem
The Grand Mosque, 2010.
EPA/Mast Irham
Worshippers march toward the Jamarat Bridge, 2017.
EPA/Sedat Suna
Another view of the mass of cars in Mina, Aug. 20.
Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Praying at the Grand mosque in Mecca, 2013.