Third View of the City of Mecca: Left Is the Northern Corner of the Mosque, a Bit to the Southeast of It Is the Bāb ès-salām, through Which Pilgrims Enter the Mosque


This rare photograph is from Bilder aus Mecca (Images from Mecca), an album by the Dutch orientalist Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857–1936) that is one of the earliest works by a non-Arab to document Mecca and the hajj in photographs. Hurgronje studied at Leiden University, where he earned a doctorate in Semitic languages and literature with a dissertation on Mecca and the pilgrim rituals and their historical background. He became a teacher at the Leiden training college for East Indian officials. In 1884–85 he was granted a leave of absence to go to Jeddah and Mecca to study Arabic and pursue research. He lived in Mecca for approximately six months, where he converted to Islam and adopted the name Abdul Ghaffar. In 1888, he published Bilderatlas zu Mekka (Photographic atlas of Mecca), a compilation of photographs that he had taken and collected in the city. Hurgronje published Bilder aus Mecca the following year as a supplement to the earlier work. Scholars have concluded that the photographs in this album were by al-Sayyid ʻAbd al-Ghaffār, an Indian physician living in Mecca who was a friend of Hurgronje.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

E.J. Brill, Leiden

Title in Original Language

Dritte Ansicht der Stadt Mekka: links die nördliche Ecke der Moschee; ein wenig südöstlich von derselben das Bā̄b ès-salām, durch welches die Pilger in die Moschee eintreten

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photographic print in an album : albumen



  1. Badr El-Hage, “The First Non-Arab Photographers of the Hijaz,” Saudi Arabia: Caught in Time 1861-1939 (Reading, United Kingdom: Garnet Publishing Ltd., 1997).

Last updated: January 8, 2018