Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has washed the Kaaba and then prayed inside it as part of the annual tradition before the month of Ramadan.
Islam’s most holy place is washed twice yearly, once before Ramadan and once after the month of Dhul Hijjah when millions of Muslims descend on Mecca to perform the Haj.
The interior walls are cleaned with rose and musk perfumes using only a white cloth for purity. Zamzam water and rose perfume is the splashed on the floor and wiped down with palm leaves.
Before the ceremony begins the dignitary may circle the Kaaba seven times. He then receives the key to the building presented in a green velvet bag. Inside he prays on a marble slab placed on the spot where it is believed the Prophet Mohamed prayed.
The Kaaba is the place towards which Muslims around the world face when they pray. It’s about 50 feet high and inside is The Black Stone of Mecca. According to tradition the stone was given to Adam after he was expelled from Eden as a way of having his sins forgiven. It may be a fragment of a meteor shower and is thought to have been worshiped by Arabs in the pre Islamic era which Muslim’s call the ‘jahiliya’ – a time of ignorance.