Mecca in 1884, photo by Christiaan Snouck (Universität Tübingen)
In 1884 the Dutch Arabist and Islam expert Christiaan Snouck (1857-1936) was the first westerner who managed to make photographs in Mecca. Mecca was (and is) forbidden for non-Muslims. Between 1503 and 1884, only fifteen (disguised) Westerners managed to gain access to the pilgrimage. Snouck converted to Islam, so that he could attend the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Present day Mecca: muslim pilgrims walking around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque (alfatihoun.edaama.org)
Immense buildings are erected in Mecca: the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower (Fayez Nureldine, 2012)
next episode: Lake Natron