Ziauddin Sardar shared his thought about ‘the destruction of Mecca’ – the time when skyscrapers, shopping malls, hotels, and extravagantly built high-rises begin to ‘invade’ the Sacred Mosque’s surroundings, making it look infinitesimally tiny compared to the hawkish, self-serving, and megalomaniac structures around the vicinity, and the pilgrimage itself, or hajj, to gradually lose its authentic, spiritual meaning.
Read his piece in The New York Times, and think deeper.
The dominant architectural site in the city is not the Sacred Mosque, where the Kaaba, the symbolic focus of Muslims everywhere, is. It is the obnoxious Makkah Royal Clock Tower hotel, which, at 1,972 feet, is among the world’s tallest buildings. It is part of a mammoth development of skyscrapers that includes luxury shopping malls and hotels catering to the superrich. The skyline is no longer dominated by the rugged outline of encircling peaks. Ancient mountains have been flattened. The city is now surrounded by the brutalism of rectangular steel and concrete structures — an amalgam of Disneyland and Las Vegas.