Unofficial Histories Behind the Mass Expansion of Mecca
Lars Müller, 2016
Edited by Catherine David
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Through a series of photographs, Ahmed Mater charts the origins of Islam's holiest city, to its present condition of tumultuous change.
Over five years, he has obsessively documented the conditions of this prismatic city. Mecca, until recently, embodied a unique urban tapestry, layered histories stitched together by an abundance of organically rooted communities and cultures. It is a place that accommodated not only sacred structures and sites but also huge fluctuations in population during Ramadan (up to 3 million visitors a year travel to Mecca for Eid and Hajj).
More recently, these sites and communities have been eradicated and are being replaced by five-star-studded high rise developments, transforming it from an active metropolis to the world’s most exclusive, yet most visited religious tourist destination, reflective of unprecedented experimentation with architecture and its possible impact on social stratification.