Saudi Arabia: Mecca is Getting a Facelift

You may have noticed that I missed a daily posting as well as responding promptly to comments.  My spouse and I decided to have a weekend in Mecca.  This was my first time in Mecca since last Ramadan and I was quite surprised by the changes that have taken place – particularly in regards to the Haram (Grand Mosque).  Blocks and blocks of downtown Mecca to include bringing down two major hotels (Sofitel & Sheraton) have been brought down in order to expand the Grand Mosque and allow it to easily accommodate more people.  It is difficult to describe the massive undertaking that is going on.  If any of you have been to Dubai you are familiar with seeing the large cranes dotting the skyline like a new national bird.  It is not a sight one would readily associate with Mecca and particularly to see these large cranes surrounding the Grand Mosque itself.  We took our trip near 0200 hours as most other times one can not get close to the Haram in a vehicle.   Even at that late hour the Grand Mosque was busy and alive with thousands of  individuals performing umrah.  When speaking to residents of Mecca, most shared the view that the new facelift taking place in Mecca is one of King Abdullah’s greatest achievements.


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