For several years now, the city of Mecca has been the scene of spectacular urban redevelopment. This holy city is something of an open-air construction site, where crowds of locals and pilgrims rub shoulders with cranes, excavators, bulldozers and other construction equipment. Through this process of destruction and construction, a new urban centre is gradually emerging around the heart of the Muslim world. The Al-Haram Mosque or Great Mosque of Mecca, houses the Kaaba towards which prayers are directed and at which millions of Muslims converge every year during the hajj, the pilgrimage that is obligatory for all at least once in their lifetime. The mosque itself is undergoing a profound transformation: part of the old building is being gradually demolished to make room for an immense structure. The scared site is overshadowed by the seven skyscrapers of a gigantic hotel complex, completed in 2012, including the Royal Clock Tower which rises to 601 metres.