Mecca: A Light in The Desert

Nobody except muslims are allowed to enter Mecca, it’s like a modern-day forbidden city. Bummer huh? For avid travellers, especially to non-muslims, Mecca is always been the target of their wildest and wettest dream. Sure, a few people have successfully smuggled themselves or did some stunts to enter the city and you can follow their path, but I warn you to be ready for the consequences. The Saudi government is best known for their attitude of not giving a shit. The best example is their continuity of the destructive attitude towards many Islamic historical sites despite the protest from muslims all over the world.

Islam was born in Mecca more than 1400 years ago and for muslims, it’s the center of the universe. Kaaba, the sacred cube inside Masjid al-Ḥarām complex that has been the center of Islamic ritual for thousands of years, is never vacant, always filled with men and women, kids, teens, adults, from all races all over the world, circling around it, reciting prayers, day and night.

Mecca is always fascinating to look at. From the systematic destruction of many Islamic holy sites by the Saudi kingdom, until its recent expansion that favors supermalls, shopping centres, and megahotels to accomodate the flooding pilgrims or the so-called religious tourists, rather than positioning itself as an important cultural city which has a long and important part in ancient civilization. Although many religious sites have been destroyed, some are still exist (most of them are non-building sites), allowing the pilgrims to retrace the path of the prophet Muhammad more than a millennium ago, and hope for the best that in the future they’re not affected by the city’s expansion plan.

With all the development of the tall buildings and mega structures, Mecca is the perfect example of an ideal marriage of capitalism with religion, results in a very prosperous religious business, turning Mecca from a small dot in the middle of a desert into a luxurious city with millions of towering lights.


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