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University of Arizona (1992)

Unresolved Problem of the Hajj in the City of Makkah in Saudi Arabia

Samman, Alaa

Titre : Unresolved Problem of the Hajj in the City of Makkah in Saudi Arabia

Auteur : Samman, Alaa

Université de soutenance : University of Arizona

Grade : Master of Architecture 1992

During the last twenty years an explosion of the numbers of pilgrims has occurred and an infrastructure, founded on modern technology, has developed and is threatening to partially suffocate the Ritual. The tent cities inevitably experience corresponding developments ; at enormous expense they are adapting to a new mass tourism. As permanent buildings replace the tents, they threaten to lose their typical light character. For 14 centuries any alternative to the tents was unthinkable, because like riding and walking, they belonged to the Holy Places and the liturgy. Makkah now has to accommodate nearly three million pilgrims who spend less than one month every year within its borders. The problems that arise are unparalleled. They can be categorized as problems in the Rite and those in the infrastructure. The latter aremainly problems of accommodation, transportation, provisions, sewage and waste disposal. The technical problems in the Rites are mainly congestion in the stream of pilgrims caused by massive over- crowding and hindrances caused by motor vehicles and their infrastructures. The extremely short duration of the use of all facilities, however, makes the conditions quite unique. The lack of communication between technology, theology and administration has led to a situation in which the essential parts of the Hajj are fragmented. Facing this crisis, any attempt to achieve a soundly established infrastructure must involve all three parties together. Such a combined group would then attempt to improve the infrastructure without hindering the rituals.


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