In Pictures: Megaprojects transform Mecca - Al Jazeera English

In Pictures: Megaprojects transform Mecca

The holy city is in the process of unprecedented development, but many pilgrims cite concerns.

Hamed AlKubati, Hashem Ahelbarra |

Mecca, the birthplace of Islam, is in the midst of a massive transformation. The government of Saudi Arabia has launched a multibillion dollar renovation project to provide more space for the millions of pilgrims who visit the holy city every year. 

Saudi officials say Mecca will have state of the art infrastructure and one of the best transport systems in the world.

Some pilgrims, however, are unhappy with the changes. "I am here to walk around the Kaaba and enjoy the spiritual side of the pilgrimage but unfortunately the whole area has been invaded by tall buildings," Kusayla Zayani, a pilgrim, said.

"I understand the need to build places for pilgrims but cannot just bulldoze monuments it seems Saudi Arabia isn't attached to preserving historical sites."

Ossama Al Bar, the Mayor of Mecca, said those concerns are unfounded. "We are committed to preserve the cultural and spiritual identity of Mecca this is a top priority for us."

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