This is the city of Mekkah as observed from the top of a hill which I had the opportunity to drive up to with the help of my Malaysian 'anak angkat' who fortunately is working in the city. You may observe the cleared section at the top right hand corner of the picture.The 'sofitel' hotel still standing is also marked for demolition. The barber shops and the bazaar at its corner are no more.Part of the 'sae' section of the Al Haram is seen clearly.The imposing high rise at the left of the picture is the new Zam-Zam Tower standing higher than the other old buildings including the King's palace. It is reported that development for the next 5 years will take the city to its modernization height attracting SR100 billion for the central area of Mekkah. The section at the bottom left hand corner marked a growth area with new whitewashed buildings with the older quarters still to be seen.
AFTER several visits to Mekkah this is the first time that we had the opportunity to view the city from atop of a hill.Mekkah lies in a valley and this is clearly identified in the photos. There is tremendous work going on at Mekkah day and night. The Al-Haram Mosque and its surroundings gets the greatest attention. Many of the old buildings, hotels, shops, archade etc have been demolished making way for a modern Mekkah with extensive renovation at Al Haram itself. In the next FIVE YEARS Al Haram will be as imposing and even far grandeur than Masjid Nabawi in Medinah and opening more space for jemaah to perform their prayers. New buildings for accomodation and commercial will take modern features offering the best to the Muslim communities and the pilgrims.
The 30 storey Hilton Hotel and Towers is dwarfed by the new Zam Zam towers that have been erected nearby. You will notice this imposing building reaching for the sky. For the moment expect yourself to be located quite a distance from Al Haram unless you wish to stay at Ta'whid InterContinental, Hilton Mekkah or the new Zam Zam Towers.
Photos taken 22 June 2008