In the recent past, the icon for the Holy City of Mecca was Masjid Al-Haram (the Grand Mosque), surrounding the Kaaba and the largest mosque in the world. Meanwhile, demolished buildings and destroyed archaeological sites already ceased to exist in the cityscape. This was the image imprinted in my mind and engraved in my anticipation when reaching the Holy Site on my first visit to Mecca one November morning in 2010.
But the image was forever destroyed upon arrival. What was meant to be an archaeological, spiritual and historic site, looked like a cosmopolitan development project in the making.