Men embroider the Kiswa, a silk cloth covering the Holy Kaaba, ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage, at a factory in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 26, 2017. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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Dozens of Saudi craftsmen, mostly in their 40s and 50s, are hard at work in a factory in Mecca preparing an embroidered black and gold cloth to cover the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam.A new one is made each year, to be placed on the Kaaba in Mecca's Grand Mosque during the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage, which begins Wednesday.General manager Mohammad bin Abdullah Bajuda said King Salman had ordered all the machines, which were introduced some 30 years ago to help automate the process, to be replaced with newer ones by next year. A cube-shaped stone structure, the Kaaba is a focal point of the hajj, during which some 2 million pilgrims walk around it in a mass ritual.
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