Islam's holiest place, the Kaabaâ€”whose name is derived from the Arabic word for "cube"â€”is a cuboid stone building located in the Great Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. When performing their daily prayers, Muslims around the world turn to face the Kaaba, whose four corners correspond roughly to the points of the compass. Although the Kaaba is surrounded by a restricted area that can only be entered by Muslims, the structure itself predates Islam. What did the Kaaba represent to pre-Islamic Meccans?
Back in the day
San Marino is one of the world's smallest republics and claims to be Europe's oldest existing state. According to tradition, its founder, Marino, a Christian stonecutter from Dalmatia, took refuge on Mt. Titano in the Apennines to escape religious persecution and built a church there. By the mid-5th century, a community was formed, and, in 1631, its independence was recognized by the papacy. The government of San Marino has made which US president an honorary citizen?
Born on a day like today
Aside from the knowledge he gleaned from sneaking into university classes as a young man, Porsche had no formal higher education in engineering. Upon entering the automotive industry, however, he showed enormous natural aptitude in the field, designing the original Volkswagen Beetle and contributing to advanced German tank designs. In 1905, Porsche was recognized as Austria's most outstanding automotive engineer. How is "Porsche" properly pronounced?