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Thursday, November 28, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Mecca Completes Renovation Of Kaaba, Holiest Islam Shrine

AP

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Renovation work has finished on Islam's holiest shrine, the Kaaba, in the city of Mecca that 1 billion Muslims worldwide turn toward during their five daily prayers.

The Kaaba was visible again Monday after scaffolding blocked it from view during six months of renovation. Tradition says the Kaaba was built by the Prophet Abraham; it is revered in Islam as the house of God.

The decaying roof and three supporting wooden columns were reconstructed with sandalwood, the Saudi Gazette reported.

The Kaaba is a black cubelike stone structure with a massive door that contains 594 pounds of gold. It is part of a vast compound that also houses the Grand Mosque. Pilgrims circle the Kaaba seven times, a ritual that continued during renovation.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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