urbanism – landscape – ideas – theory – whimsy

Mina Tent City, Mecca

Google Maps satellite photo of Mina Tent City, Saudi Arabia - Mecca is to the left (west)

What does a temporary tent city for 3 million people look like? A recent visit to Expo 2010 in Shanghai clued me in to what is probably the largest ephemeral urban design in the world, the Mina Tent City in Saudi Arabia, erected each year to house Hajj pilgrims visiting Mecca during the last month of the lunar Islamic calendar. The tent city is stunningly portrayed in a pavilion in the Urban Best Practices Area of Expo 2010, with huge wall size aerial photos and birdseye views that do far more justice to the scale of the tent city than what I can show online. The tent city is erected in a valley next to the village of Mina, east of Mecca itself. It is an extremely regimented design with infrastructure such as toilets and water supply designated for a reasonable number of tents in each cell. The tents are standardized and have been designed to be well ventilated and prevent fires that used to be common in the more chaotic pilgrim tent cities of the past. The planning, design, atmosphere and overall purpose are perhaps the diametrical opposite of Black Rock City (the temporary city created for the Burning Man Festival each year) that I posted about in 2007, although the size, population, and crazy logistics of transportation at Mina Tent City and for the Hajj in general is orders of magnitude greater than anything the Black Rock City needs to handle.

Google Maps satellite photo of Mina Tent City, Saudi Arabia - detail level 2

Google Maps satellite photo of Mina Tent City, Saudi Arabia - detail level 3

Google Maps satellite photo of Mina Tent City, Saudi Arabia - detail level 4

Google Maps satellite photo of Mina Tent City, Saudi Arabia - detail level 5

Here are some birdseye views of what Mina Tent City looks like:

Image: Daily Mail

Image: Zawaj.com

Image: Reuters/Daily Mail

Image: Panoramio (Dr.M.Nazir Awan)

Image: Wikimedia Commons

11 Comments so far
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mashaAllah
Nice job

Good One

[...] I really do not know why I have not come across it sooner. It’s got some fabulous posts, for example on the razing of old Tianjin, or the disappearance of Shanghai’s Wujiang Lu food street (whose last days I also saw), or on the Mina tent city in Mecca. [...]

[...] the hajj season, when almost 3 million people come to stay in these tents! You have to see this aerial shot of the place to get an idea of the project’s vastness.Stoning of the devilBehind the white tents [...]

[...] ¿Qué aspecto tiene una ciudad de 3.000.000 de habitantes de tiendas de campaña? http://www.bricoleurbanism.org/whimsicality/mina-tent-city-mecca/  por erbauer hace 17 segundos [...]

Nice job, do you have other photos of The Hajj?

Thank you.

[...] Min Tent City, Mecca – This temporary tent city for 3 million people is quite possibly the largest ephemeral urban design in the world, erected each year to house Hajj pilgrims visiting Mecca during the last month of the lunar Islamic calendar. This spectacular feat of urbanism was featured in images in the Urban Best Practices Area of Expo 2010. [...]

Mashallah ,the best one ever seen around the world.

[...] Fuente: Bricoleurbanism. [...]

Allah’s creation. Cannot beat it. Of course the best in the world ever.
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Very informative nd full of details. Jaz zakallah. Nazir Ahmad



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