(QHA) -

150 of Crimean Muslims have left Crimea for Mekka, Saudi Arabia, Sept 24 night, to prepare for the annual Hajj pilgrimage – one of the largest gatherings of people in the world.

The trip was organized by Hajj-mission of Russia, Religious Administration of Muslims of Crimea and the Crimean State Committee for interethnic affairs and deported citizens.

The quotas for Crimean Muslims were given by Council of Muftis of Russia and cost $2,500.

Every year, Muslim faithful from about 160 countries converge on the Islamic city of Mecca and other locations in western Saudi Arabia to complete the holy journey.

The week of Hajj occurs during the last month of the Islamic calendar and it requires pilgrims to perform a number of services or rituals before arriving in Mecca. This year’s pilgrimage is expected to begin on 3 October.

When the faithful reach the Grand Mosque, they walk counter-clockwise seven times around the cube-shaped Kaaba – the holiest site in Islam.

Hajj, the fifth of the pillars of Islam, coincides with the Eid al-Adha festival, known as the Feast of the Sacrifice and is meant to commemorate the trials of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his family.

QHA