Builders flock to Mecca to tap into Muslim pilgrimage boom

By Reuters Staff
June 9, 2011

(Grand Mosque in Mecca surrounded by new construction, November 19, 2010/Fahad Shadeed)

Mecca goes upmarket but commercialism unnerves some Saudis

November 12, 2010

meccaSitting in the marble lobby of a luxury hotel in Mecca, Moroccan bank director Mohammad Hamdosh gets a breather from the cacophony of pilgrims bustling around the Grand Mosque in Islam’s holiest city. Millions have flocked to the city in Saudi Arabia for the annual haj pilgrimage, a duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. But some can afford more than others, and a controversial construction boom is catering to their needs.