Azerbaijan, Baku /corr. Trend S.Agayeva / This year, the Caucasus Muslim Department (CMD) increased its quota for private tourism companies involved in organizing pilgrimages to the Hajj up to 1,000 places, a source in the CMD stated. Last year, the quote equaled 700 places. Currently, the CMD delegation is on a working visit to Saudi Arabia to coordinate technical issues linked with the upcoming Hajj season, the same source stated.
The Department is continuing receiving documents from those who wish to make the pilgrimage. Currently, nearly 350 applications have been received. Saudi Arabia allocated 6,000 places for Azerbaijan for this year, up from the 4300 places for last year. But this year, the CMD appealed to the Government of Saudi Arabia for increasing the quota taking into consideration the increase in number of those who wish to make the pilgrimage.
In addition, this year there are several changes in the rules of pilgrimage. For instance, there are only 450-500 places for pilgrims choosing air travel.
Two groups of pilgrims (with aircrafts and buses) will leave for Saudi Arabia from mid-December. The pilgrims who choose air tours will be delivered to Saudi Arabia by four flights. The planes will fly via Baku - Jeddah and from there, will go to Mecca by bus.
The pilgrims who choose land tours will leave for Saudi Arabia by Mercedes buses via Iran - Turkey - Syria - Jordan - Saudi Arabia.