Hajj through history

In this Dec. 26, 2007 photo, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims pack the courtyard of the majestic Grand Mosque in Makkah. (AFP file photo)
Updated 15 August 2019

Hajj through history

Spiritual journey

Pilgrims arrive by ferry in 1957.  (National Geographic Magazine)


Memories of Hajj decades ago

A pilgrim comes out of his tent. (Al Ittihad archives)


Precious memories

Ajyad Street in Makkah during the 1960s. This photo was attached to an autographed Malcom X postcard sent to Gloria Owens, sister of Maceo X Owens, in 1964.


Religious enthusiasm

Pilgrims throw stones at Jamarat in Mina. 


Down memory lane

The city of Makkah in 1975, showing the Grand Mosque from the outside. (Al Ittihad archives)


Center of Islam

The Kaaba’s then gold-and-silver door went through several changes over the years. It took three years to build this particular door, which had a metal base, with two wooden shutters fixed on its surface. It was decorated with silver and copper and plated with gold. 


Pilgrimage in 1975

Memories of Hajj nearly 40 years ago reveal that Makkah has changed beyond recognition even if the message of Prophet Muhammad is the same. (Photo/Al-Ittihad archives)


More room for tawaf

Makkah’s Grand Mosque in all its glory before the expansion of the tawaf area. Now the pilgrims can circumbulate in large numbers with ease.


Hardship a thing of the past

Not all the pilgrims were able to afford a car ride to perform Hajj rites. Camels were also used to carry the old and the sick along with their belongings.


Planning solves congestion problem

The holy city of Makkah has undergone several phases of development in order to accomodate the ever-growing number of pilgrims. Prior to that, the city used to witness congestion and jams during the pilgrimage.


Transformation of the tent city

The photo taken during Hajj 1975 shows Mina with ordinary tents. Now the city is equipped with state-of-the-art air-conditioned and fireproof tents, boosting the comfort level of pilgrims.


A glimpse from the past

An old photo of Hajj in 1975. (Social media photo)


Seeking God’s blessing

During circumambulation, pilgrims kiss the black stone or touch the Kaaba or the black silk and cotton fabric, called the Kiswa, which covers it. (Shutterstock)



Golden memories 

An old photo showing the process of making the Kaaba’s cover Kiswa in the 1970s.  (Social media photo)


Holy guests 

A file photo from Hajj 1978.


Photo exhibition recalls 90 years of Saudi-Lebanon ties

Updated 19 August 2019

Photo exhibition recalls 90 years of Saudi-Lebanon ties

  • Thousands of photos on display
  • Ties ‘rooted’ in history, says Kingdom’s ambassador

BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari and Lebanon’s Minister of Information Minister of Information Jamal Jarrah on Monday inaugurated a photography exhibition celebrating 90 years of bilateral relations.

The King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives and the Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation provided the embassy in Lebanon with historical documents and photos for the exhibition, which was launched on World Photography Day. Some of the material dates back more than 90 years.

Bukhari said the exhibition’s content proved that the countries’ relations were rooted in history and recalled the words of King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman, who said: “Lebanon is part of us. I protect its independence myself and will not allow anything to harm it.”

Jarrah, who was representing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, said: “We need this Arab embrace in light of the attacks targeting the Arab region and we still need the Kingdom’s support for Lebanon’s stability, because Lebanon is truly the center from which Arabism originated.”

The exhibition starts with a document appointing Mohammed Eid Al-Rawaf as the Kingdom’s consul in Syria and Lebanon. It was signed by King Abdul Aziz bin Abdulrahman Al-Faisal Al-Saud in 1930 and states that the consul’s residence is in Damascus and that his mission is to “promote Saudi merchants, care for their affairs and assist them with their legal and commercial interests.”

Black and white pictures summarize milestones in the development of bilateral relations, while others depict key visits and meetings between leaders and dignitaries.

“The exhibition demanded great efforts because the pieces were not found at one single location,” former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told Arab News. “Circulating this activity in the Kingdom’s embassies in numerous countries is a great step and has pushed the Lebanese Ministry of Information to benefit from this archive. The Lebanese people remember the important positions the Kingdom has taken over the year to support their independence and sovereignty and in hard times.”

Lebanon, particularly Beirut, is a hit with Saudi travelers although the Kingdom had been advising citizens since 2011 to avoid the country, citing Hezbollah’s influence and instability from the war in neighboring Syria. 

But the easing of restrictions since February has led to a surge in Saudis heading to Lebanon.

Riyadh earlier this year released $1 billion in funding and pledged to boost Lebanon’s struggling economy. Another sign of warming ties was an anniversary event marking the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father that featured Saudi Royal Court adviser Nizar Al-Aloula as a keynote speaker.

“The exhibition highlights the unique model of Lebanese-Arab relations that should be taught in diplomatic institutes, starting with the Lebanese Foreign Ministry,” former minister Marwan Hamadeh told Arab News. “Over the course of 90 years, we have had brotherly ties and political support for independence, freedom, growth, economy and culture and then the Taif Accord (which ended the Lebanese Civil War). Even after that, when Lebanon engaged in military adventures, the Kingdom was there to help with reconstruction and we are proud of these relations.”

Highlights include a recording of King Faisal telling President Charles Helou about the need to strengthen “brotherhood in the face of the aggression targeting our countries without respecting the sanctity of holy sites and international, human and moral norms to extend its influence not only in the region but across the world.”

There are also photos from a recent meeting that brought together King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Lebanese officials. 

An old broadcast recording can be heard saying that the “tragedy of the Lebanese civil war can only be ended by affirming the Lebanese legitimacy and preserving its independence and territorial integrity.”

The exhibition is on at Beit Beirut, which is located on what used to be the frontline that divided the city during the civil war.