Tuesday 23 October 2012
A Bosnian pilgrim who left last December on pilgrimage to Makkah by foot arrived in the holy city after passing through seven countries including war-torn Syria.
“I arrived Saturday in Makkah. I am not tired, these are the best days of my life,” Senad Hadzic, 47, told AFP when reached by phone.
He said he had covered some 5,700 km in 314 days of walking through Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria and Jordan to Makkah, with a backpack weighing 20 kg.
He charted his progress on his Facebook page, where he posted a picture apparently of an entry/exit card for foreigners issued by the Syrian Interior Ministry.
“I passed through Syria in April. I walked some 500 km in 11 days. I went through Aleppo and Damascus and passed dozens of checkpoints held by pro-government and rebel forces alike, but I was never detained,” Hadzic said.
“I walked in the name of Allah, for Islam, for Bosnia-Hercegovina, for my parents and my sister,” he added.
On his Facebook page, he said God had shown him the way in dreams, including to go through Syria instead of Iraq.
During the pilgrimage, Hadzic faced temperatures ranging from minus 35 Celsius in Bulgaria to plus 44 Celsius in Jordan.
He said he had to wait in Istanbul for several weeks to get permission to cross the Bosphorus Bridge on foot and two months at the border between Jordan and Saudi Arabia to obtain an entry visa.