Mecca past and present
Depiction of Mecca and Medina from Dala’il al-khayrat (c. 1600 – 1700, Deccan, India)
Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli (d. 1465) was a Moroccan religious scholar who had a vast following. His book of prayers, Dala’il al-khayrat (Guide to Happiness), one of the most popular throughout the Islamic world, has been constantly reproduced. The book consists of prayers to the Prophet Muhammad and the structure of the book encourages the reader to bestow blessings on the Prophet on certain days of the week. Wherever the manuscript was reproduced, the paintings took on the local style. The onion-shaped domes of the mosque at Medina are characteristically Indian. All other representations of Medina and Mecca maintain the same elements and style as seen in Hajj certificates.
A bird’s-eye view of Mecca (1803, Vienna)
This panorama of Mecca was drawn by the Austrian Orientalist Andreus Magnus Hunglinger and engraved by Carl Ponheimer. It is closely based on an illustration in Mouradgea d’Ohsson’s Tableau Général de l’Empire Ottoman, published in 1787. A long caravan of pilgrims cross the desert from mount ‘Arafat and pour into the sanctuary. There is a key to sixty locations in and around the sanctuary. Neither d’Ohsson nor the engravers he worked with actually went to Mecca; they would have based the description and drawing on existing illustrations and the accounts of Turkish pilgrims.
A panoramic view of Mecca (c. 1845, probably Mecca)
This painting was commissioned by the Sharif of Mecca, Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Mu’min (r. 1827–1851). A remarkable panorama, it provides a detailed plan of the city from a bird’s eye view. The Persian description lists places around the sanctuary such as "the fortress of Umar" and "the market of Safa and Marwa". The artist Muhammad ‘Abd Allah is described in the inscription below as "cartographer of Delhi", he probably resided in Mecca. His grandfather, Mazar ‘Ali Khan, was court painter to the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II (r. 1837– 58). Richard Burton, who in 1853 visited the holy city in disguise, remarked that "some Indians support themselves by depicting the holy shrines; their works are a truly Oriental mixture of ground plan and elevation, drawn with pen and ink, and brightened with the most vivid colours".
View of the holy sanctuary at Mecca (c. 1880)
This view is from the east of the holy mosque with the city of Mecca in the background. Muhammad Sadiq Bey (1832-1902), the Egyptian army engineer, surveyor and a pioneer of photography, probably took this photograph from one of the minarets of the holy mosque. In the courtyard of the mosque, from left to right, can be seen the Maqam Maliki, the Ka‘ba, Maqam Hanafi (behind the Ka‘ba), the structure erected over the Zamzam well, and the Maqam Shafi‘i.
Hajj in the Mecca Sanctuary by Shadia Alem, 2010
In the mid-20th century, it became clear that the Sacred Mosque could not accommodate the increasing numbers of pilgrims. King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Sa‘ud (1880-1953) decided that it had to be extended as a matter of urgency. Work eventually began in 1956. The Sanctuary as we see it today is the result of four phases which have included rerouting the main road that crossed between the hills of Safa and Marwa, the demolition of historic areas and the construction of new buildings and minarets.