The mosque is huge and to accommodate all the pilgrims doing the tawaaf [circumbulation], there are two upper levels as well as the main inner courtyard.
After doing the 7 circuits round the kaaba, pilgrims have to follow the ritual of running between the hills of Safa and Murwa, in imitation of Hager searching for and bringing water for her son Ismail to drinK. This is called the 'sai' . Pilgrims then drink Zamzam water from the many containers provided. This also can be done on the three levels. bottles of water are frequently taken back home by the prolgrims.
Near the kaaba itself are other important places where the footprint of Abraham [Ibrahim] is displayed.
Historically Ibrahim was ordered to leave his wife Hajirah (may Allah be please with her) and child Ishmael in a valley without any vegetation or water at the site of his sacred house before the building of the Kabah promising to provide for them. As Ishmael cried in thirst Hadhrath-e-Hajirah ran from a small rise to another (safa and marwah) in the hope that a mirage of water was real. Allah then broke forth a spring at the feet of the crying baby now know as the well of Zamzam. ZamZam well is located few meters east of Kaaba under the Tawaf area, the well is 35 meters deep and topped by an elegant dome. Many prophetic traditions (Hadeeths) referred to the superiority of Zamzam water, such as:
“The best water on the earth is Zamzam".
“It is blessed, for drinking and for curing".
"It is a cure for what it is drunk for".
It is told that Abdullah Bin Abbas, when drinking from Zamzam, used to say,
"O Allah, I ask you a useful knowledge, a Luxurious living, and a cure for all diseases
The entire area around the Mosque and the the two hills of Safa and Marwah now contain a few hundred outlets where you can obtain the water of Zam Zam.
Originally there was a well, however the King Fahd moved this during the restoration and modernisation of the Mosque. You will now find hundreds of cooler tanks dotted on all floors all over the mosque, as well as taps, and drinking fountains around the mosque which all pump out billions of litres of Zam Zam every year.
Zam Zam water is also provided in the mosque of Medina now too. ( The prophets mosque).
Zam Zam, according to tradition of the Prophet (PBUH), is the best water on both heaven and earth. So its extremely significant to Muslims.
If you research enough you will also find some more amazing facts about the Zam Zam water on the net.
The picture shows one of the main halls from one of the main wings of the mosque. The coloums used to support the structure, are where the cooler tanks are kept., full of Zam Zam water.
Now within the compound of the Harem (Mosque), are the Hills of Safa and Marwa. These are the two small hills that Hagar, the wife of Prophet Abraham ran in between, whilst she was alone in the desert with her baby son Ishmail. Ishmail cried for water as Hagar ran between the two sites looking around for water; or for someone that could help her. She ran seven times before water suddenly appeared near Ishmail's feet, where he lay kicking. This area is marked with Green lights.
The water was from an underground spring, now commonly known as Zam Zam.
It is by far, scientifically proven in Europe and USA, the most pure water to be found anywhere.
There is also an abundance of this water as millions and billions of litres of Zam Zam are drunk by millions of Muslims every year that visit and live in Makkah and now also in Medina.
The Saei area, the two hills and the area in between is now covered and has 3 levels. Just like the mosque it self it is airconditioned and there are special facilities and walk ways for disabled people or those within wheel chairs.
To perform this ritual takes about 30-40 minutes normally.