“They came, they come and they will keep coming, compelled by the hope of accessing the highest possible earthly experience,” said physician and artist Ahmed Mater on the Holy City of Makkah. As the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the cradle of Islam, Makkah sits stoically in the western reaches of Saudi Arabia between two valleys and has held a significant place in history.
Now, travellers and Muslims across the diaspora will be able to keep a beautiful piece of the city in their home, as Assouline has released a new coffee table read dedicated to the Holy City. Entitled Makkah: The Holy City of Islam, the striking, gigantic book forms part of the brand’s Ultimate Travel Collection and features personal stories, information and beautiful and evocative imagery of the city and its residents and visitors.
Every year, over two million pilgrims visit the city for the hajj, or umrah, a visiting the city’s grand Masjid al-Haram (holy mosque) dating back to the 7th century and the Ka’bah, the cloth-covered cubic structure and Islam’s most sacred shrine. Even when not in Makkah, Muslims across the world face towards the Ka’bah when they pray, continuing its significance worldwide.
With so many travellers and more people visiting Makkah than ever, Saudi is rapidly expanding the city’s hospitality and tourism scene, with a handful of new hotels and dining offerings. The city of Makkah is only accessible to Muslim visitors and is a true immersion into Islamic and Saudi culture, and a visit to its holy grounds is considered a once-in-a-lifetime feat for Muslims across the world. The Ka’Bah is just one of the monuments explored in Assouline’s latest beautiful read. The Holy Mosque in all its glory, crowned by the ‘emerald beacon’, the Makkah clock is also photographed in all its splendour – a landmark of the Makkah skyline.
The book also immerses readers in the traditions and religious significance that are so carefully woven into every aspect and architectural detail of the city. The story behind the Ka’Bah – believed to have been built by Adam and then rebuilt by Abraham and his son Ishmael – and a journey through the city’s unique history and significance.
Assouline’s Makkah: The Holy City of Islam is authored by Meraj N. Mirza, a member of the Makkah Province Board and a visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Center for Geographic Analysis, and available from assouline.com for about AED4,860.