Saudi Arabia is investing in Artificial Intelligence, setting up robots with touchscreens to help pilgrims navigate the Hajj process, learn about weekly schedules at mosques, as well as provide religious edicts.
On the heels of a pandemic that saw Hajj access curtailed, demand for the pilgrimage has never been higher, bringing with it the pressure to safely and efficiently accommodate millions.
This year's pilgrimage marks the largest since the virus struck, although the attendance by 1 million worshippers remains less than half of the pre-pandemic influx.
Muslims begin the first day of rites at Islam's holiest site as the Hajj pilgrimage reaches attendance numbers nearing pre-pandemic years.
One million fully vaccinated Muslims are set to take part in this year's Hajj pilgrimage, the largest number since the start of the pandemic.
Saudi Arabia will welcome one million people, including 850,000 from abroad, for the Hajj pilgrimage after two years of curtailed numbers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A group from Indonesia landed in the city of Medina and was set to travel south to the holy city of Mecca in the coming weeks to prepare for the Hajj next month.
Riyadh has expanded the Islamic pilgrimage number in the country to one million compared to last year's 60,000 domestic participants.
Turkiye's Directorate of Religious Affairs says that although the metaverse visit of the Kaaba can be performed, it will "never be considered a real worship."
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Just 60,000 people, all citizens or residents of Saudi Arabia, have been selected to take part in this year's Hajj, with foreign pilgrims again barred due to the restrictions over coronavirus pandemic.
Saudi Arabia's Hajj ministry says it is working on the "highest levels of health precautions" as pilgrims begin performing the "tawaf", the circumambulation of the Kaaba in Mecca's Grand Mosque.
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