Mina is a small Saudi Arabian city lying in the middle of a valley in the Mecca province 8 kilometers away from the main Holy city itself. It is not populated permanently by residents as the sole purpose of its existence is that the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca includes a stay in this desert valley. So, it only sees human inhabitants once every year during the pilgrimage days. Normally, a deserted part of the world, it springs into life in the hajj season with more than 3 million people camping in 100,000 or more tents erected over there.
It is truly a spectacle to behold, the sheer size of the campsite spans kilometers and most of the tents measure 8×8 meters and are made of fiberglass. They are additionally lined with Teflon too so that the risk of fire is reduced dramatically. The people who have come here from hundreds of countries across the globe say that it is a real engineering marvel to say the least since 3 million people in such a tight arrangement and adhering to all their basic requirements is no easy feat. It includes provision of food and air conditioning for these hundreds of thousands of tents.
Originally, people would bring their own tents to the area and set up a temporary campsite. Afterward, when the area became economically stable, the Kingdom erected cotton tents to help people avoid the hassle of renting their own tents. But, these cotton tents were susceptible to fire, and they were eventually scrapped for these modern fiberglass ones. The tents themselves are quite big on their own, so they are further subdivided into several camps, each with its exterior wall. Each camp has its own ablution area and bathroom facilities as well. To avoid confusion, the tents are color coded for each country. To prevent the repeat of the deadly 1997 fire, a heat sensitive water sprinkler system was put into place, and now huge fires are a thing of the past.
It is a true engineering marvel that awes people from the rest of the world.