Journey to Mecca

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)

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Muslims pray at the Grand mosque

Muslims pray at the Grand mosque during the annual Haj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 3,2017. (Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Pilgrims walk on the road

Prospective pilgrims walk on the road, which has water spray cooling system, to stone Jamarat pillars that symbolize the devil as a part of the annual Islamic hajj pilgrimage during the first day of Eid Al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on Sept.3, 2017. (Photo: Firat Yurdakul/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A Saudi security officer controls people

A Saudi security officer controls people as Muslim pilgrims gather to cast stones at three huge stone pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP)

Pilgrims walk from their camps in Mina

Muslim pilgrims walk from their camps in Mina to cast stones at three huge stone pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP)

Saudi security officers monitor live feed screens

Saudi security officers monitor live feed screens showing Muslim pilgrims in the holy city of Mecca, along with highways and high density areas, during hajj annual pilgrimage, in the holy city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP)

Pilgrims cast stones

Muslim pilgrims cast stones at three huge stone pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP)

Pilgrims cast stones

Muslim pilgrims cast stones at three huge stone pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP)

Pilgrims pray at the Grand mosque

Muslims pray at the Grand mosque ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 29, 2017. (Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Pilgrims gather on Mount Mercy

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat during the annual hajj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia Aug. 31, 2017. (Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba

This long exposure photograph shows Muslim pilgrims circumambulating the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca, on Aug. 29, 2017, on the eve of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage. (Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

Pilgrims pray in front of the Kaaba

Muslim pilgrims pray in front of the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP)

Pilgrims touch the Kaaba

Muslims touch the Kaaba at the Grand mosque ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 26, 2017. (Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque

Muslim pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque, ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP)

Pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque

A young girl looks on as Muslim pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque in the holy Saudi city of Mecca, on Aug. 29, 2017, on the eve of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage. (Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

Pilgrims gather on Mount Mercy

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat during the annual haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia , Aug. 31, 2017. (Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

A Saudi policeman spays pilgrims

A Saudi policeman spays Muslim pilgrims with water to cool them off near the Grand Mosque in the holy Saudi city of Mecca, on Aug. 29, 2017, on the eve of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage. (Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

Pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque

Muslim pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque in the holy Saudi city of Mecca, on Aug. 29, 2017, on the eve of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage. (Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

Pilgrims gather on Mount Mercy

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat during the annual haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 31, 2017. (Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Large cooling fans spray water on pilgrims

Large cooling fans spray water on Muslim pilgrims around the Grand Mosque ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP)

Pilgrims gather on Mount Mercy

Muslim pilgrims gather on Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat during the annual haj jpilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 31, 2017. (Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque

Muslim pilgrims pray at the Grand Mosque in the holy Saudi city of Mecca, on Aug. 29, 2017, on the eve of the start of the annual hajj pilgrimage. (Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

A Muslim reads the Koran

A Muslim reads the Koran during Friday prayers at the Grand mosque ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 25, 2017. (Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Ppilgrims pray on Jabal Al Rahma holy mountain

Muslim pilgrims pray on top of the Jabal Al Rahma holy mountain, or the mountain of forgiveness, upon their arrival to Arafat for the annual hajj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Photo: Khalil Hamra/AP)

Pilgrims circle the Kaaba

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba at the Grand mosque ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 26, 2017. (Photo: Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

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