On reading about this, I had to educate myself on Mecca. For those of you who need it too, here is it: Mecca is a city in Saudi Arabia with a population of approximately two million. Once a year during the hajj or pilgrimage period the population nearly triples. The city is considered the most holy in the religion of Islam, and is the birthplace of Muhammad.
Look, that massive clock tower gives some indication as to the size this new hotel is going to be, but I still find it unexpected.
Scheduled to be completed in 2017, the Abraj Kudai hotel will be the new place to stay for millions of pilgrims, so say goodbye to those white tents.
What will the hotel boast? I feel it deserves a list:
10 000 bedrooms
five floors “for the sole use of the Saudi royal family”
A bus station,
A shopping mall
Numerous food courts
A conference centre
A lavishly appointed ballroom
It’s set to cost a whopping £2.3bn (in Rands that’s almost too many zeros to deal with) and is modelled on a “traditional desert fortress” with “12 towers teetering on top of a 10-storey podium”.
Which helipad is going to be yours?
Gone are the days where heritage and religion were the priority (or maybe the building of all these structures is a new way of putting religion at the forefront?). The Grand Mosque is now shadowed by the 600m high Abraj al-Bait clocktower, which also plays host to numerous hotels.
These are the last days of Mecca. The pilgrimage is supposed to be a spartan, simple rite of passage, but it has turned into an experience closer to Las Vegas, which most pilgrims simply can’t afford.
[Source: The Guardian]
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