Makkah, with a population of around 2 million people, is considered the holiest city in Islam, being the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and the site of his first revelation of the Quran. It is also the center of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, an event that draws millions of people from all corners of the world to perform a succession of rituals that are one of the five obligations of all Muslims.
According to Islamic tradition, the history of Makkah dates back to Abraham (Ibrahim), who built the Kaaba with the help of his elder son Ishmael around 2000 BCE when the inhabitants of the area, then known as Bakkah, had distanced themselves from the original monotheism of Abraham. Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570, and Islam has been inextricably linked with the city ever since.
Makkah has passed through several hands since the birth of Islam, but was finally pried away from the Ottoman Empire during WWI when T.E. Lawrence conspired with the then-Sharif of Makkah to revolt against the Ottomans. The Sharif then declared Makkah the capital of the new state, The Kingdom of Hejaz. Eight years later, the city fell to the forces of Abdulaziz bin Saud, the future king of Saudi Arabia.