The Holy City Of Makkah, Saudi Arabia

HISTORIC HIGHLIGHTS

The city Makkah is known for the Islamic capital of Muslim. It is were the Kaba (the square cubical block, worshipped by the Muslims) was built. Although the history of Kaba is dated pretty old. Arabia, by all accounts, is the cradle of the human race. All the oldest human remains so far found come from the area of its location.

According to the historians the Kaba was constructed from 5 to 12 times in different ages. The Islamic inscription describes that the Kaba was first constructed by the first prophet “adam” and so on reconstructed by few prophets and by wise men.

Although the recorded civilization in books dates to the last prophet( around 600 A.D), when he reconstructed the Kaba.
At this time the Kaba used to come at a very important trade route and this was the time when the birth of Islamic religion took place. People from far lands came to visit the place. This made the trade very fruitful and in a very small period of time the town Makkah grew…  and is still growing.
 

PLANNING FEATURES

The city existed in a barren land of mountainous deserted region. There where very few supply of water too.
The town existed due to two reasons:

  • The trade route which was coming from south to the north. It was very busy trade route
  • The rising of the  strong religion which said that the kaba is the direction to the worshippers because of which trade grew faster.

URBAN DESIGN

  • The design of the settlement was according to the location of the Kaba.
  • The Kaba was built around the cup-shaped valley surrounded by the mountains.
  • Since there was no caste system according to the religion the settlement was build according to the daily routine and needs.
  • It some how came up with concentric division of areas influenced by the Kaba’s presence.
    • The center was the Kaba.
    • An open ground around the Kaba, for the workshop.
    • The next belt was of market for the worshippers and the visitors.
    • After the market belt, this belt was for the visitors and mainly consisted of temporary structures.
    • The last belt consisted of the local’s houses.

Because of its climatic conditions. The houses where constructed in a dense form in order to reduce the heat radiations. This also made the streets narrow and shaded during the most of the time of the day.

The basic principle for adapting buildings to extremes of temperature is that the ratio of internal volume to external surface must be made as high as possible.

When the volume increases in relation to surface, heat exchange with outside decreases. This was the reason for making the city clustered.

The clustering of buildings limits the exposure of peripheral walls to the sun’s rays.

ARCHITECTURE & TECHNOLOGY

Mainly the construction took place of mud has the property to remain cool during the day time and warm during cold nights.

The woodwork of the historic buildings of Makkah consists of the wooden windows and the entrance doors. The wooden windows include the extended window (roshan), and the flat window (shubak).
 
Roof parapets of many of the buildings exhibited a variety of
Geometric and floral decorative motifs, manipulated in a manner that allowed the passage of breezes for roof ventilation while maintaining the privacy for occupant.

Since the houses shared the common walls. The only light and ventilation source was made by the courtyard which is common practice in deserted areas.

PRESENT STATUS

After the birth of Islam the Makkah never stooped growing and is still growing. The city of Makkah is recorded as the highest visited public place in a year. The city is booming with hotels and with great planning strategies for the future generations.

Since the city is very dense and compact also situated on the terrain region. The architecture and planning is intense focusing on many aspects of planning. The planning of the city is done for the foot travelers mainly.

Presently the city is called “the holy city”. Marking the record of highest number of visitors coming from  around the world. The city is growing fast and the development happening is tremendous.

REASONS FOR DECLINE

Since this was the holy land for the Muslims, even after the fall of Islamic empire the city lives.

The Makkah city is never ending city whose boundaries where set in very ancient times, which marks the city as tens times more larger than the present state.

ANALYSIS FOR THE FUTURE

The city is now planned for more number of incoming visitors, since it is visited by thousands of worshippers on the same time of the year.
The city is booming with hotels and up coming with great planning strategies to facilitate public needs. All these planning strategies leads to the holy mosque of Kaba.

The KABA

  • The focus area of this settlement is the KABA which is almost cubical (13*10 meters) in shape and about a height of 39’6”.
  • The history behind this building is deep and related to the routes of the religion’s believers. The building has a very high spiritual values.