The annual five-day Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia known as hajj is officially over.
Khalid al-Faisal, governor of Mecca, announced Sunday the formal end of the pilgrimage at a news conference in the holy city.
Hajj draws people from around the world to Saudi Arabia each year. The crowds, squeezed shoulder to shoulder in prayer five times a day, fill the city of Mecca and surrounding areas to perform a number of physically demanding and intricate rites.
The pilgrimage is required once in a lifetime of all Muslims with the means to go. Its goal is remission of past sins and drawing Muslims closer to God. (AP)