Exhibition of the Two Holy Mosques' Architecture

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The exhibition (معرض عمارة الحرمين الشريفين), is nestled amid the hills of Mecca’s Umm Al-Joud area, not far from the Kiswa factory. The exhibition is divided into seven sections and includes artefacts dating back to the era of Abdullah ibn Zubair, circa 685 CE/65 Hj. The museum consists of seven halls that include models of the Two Holy Mosques; antiquities; inscriptions; models of the Kaaba cladding (Kiswa); the old door of the Kaaba; rare photos for the Two Holy Mosques; and a copy of Uthman's collection of the Quran (Mushaf Uthman).

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The main entrance to the complex. Established in 1999 by the late Prince Abdul Majeed, governor of Mecca, the museum project cost more than SR 15 million. Some photographs, given as a gift by the late Crown Prince Sultan, are worth SR 10 million. It highlights the cultural and historical aspects of the Two Holy Mosques.

Notable Exhibits

circa 1580 CE
(958 Hj.)

Brass-head of the Minbar
Brass head of the pulpit made during the reign of Sultan Suleiman al-Qanoony, circa 10th century Hejrah. The Ottoman minbars usually were executed in two distinctive fashions, one of which was a wooden one with and elongated conical cap like this one.

circa 1636 CE

Door of the Kaaba
The door of Kaaba that was used until 1937/38 (inspect) CE. There's an inscription on the door that suggests that it was first fitted to the Kaba in 1636. Over the centuries the Kabah has been fitted with elaborately decorated doors like this one. The door also bears an inscription of the Shahadah (inspect) in Arabic in it's upper part. It's an iconic symbol of Arabia's Islamic History.

circa 1635 CE
(1023 Hj.)

Replica of an Undated Sundial
A replica of the sundial used to calculate the prayer timings and the age of the day. It was a mid-day timer used to determine prayer times before the printing of Hijri Calendar. It may have functioned somewhat like the sundial designed by ibn Shattir for the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.

circa 1982 CE
(1399 CE)

Grill-case of the Maqam Ibrahim
Cassing of Maqam Ibrahim (station of Abraham) used up until the time of King Fahad's (bin Abdulaziz) expansion of Masjid al-Haram. The Maqām Ibrāhīm (مَـقَـام إِبْـرَاهِـيْـم) is a stone associated with Abraham, Ishmael and their rebuilding of the Ka'bah. According to Islamic tradition, the imprint on the stone came from Abraham's feet, it appeared when Abraham stood on the stone while building the Kaaba.

circa 1254 CE
(631 Hj.)

Inscription from the Era of al-Muntasir Billah
Inscription on marble slab, marking the date for the construction of the Mataf during the reign of Abbaid caliph abi Ja'far al-Mansur al-Muntasir Billah in the year 611 Hj. The Mataf area has been rebuilt, redeveloped and expanded over the centuries. Several

circa 1825 CE
(1240 Hj.)

Staircase of Kaaba
A teak-wood stair case, used to enter Kaba, is placed near the main entrance to the museum complex. The floor of Kabah and the entrance is about 2.2 meters (7.2 feet) higher than the Mataf area, consequently a staircase is needed to enter the sacred shrine. Over the centuries several of these were built by Muslim rulers or other prominent Muslims to be used in Masjid al-Haram. This staircase dates back to the reigh of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II.

circa 1402 CE
(804 Hj.)

Inscription of Sultan Nasir Faraj
An inscription on marble marking the date of the construction of the door and parts of the Holy Mosque that were damaged by fire during the reign of the Mamluk Sultan An-Nasir Faraj bin Bargog in 804H (1402).

circa 1882 CE
(1300 Hj.)

Mouthpiece of Zamzam from the Saudi Era
Mouth-piece of Bir e Zam Zam (ZamZam Well) with outer ring and covering. The pully at the top dates back to the end of the fourteenth century Hijrah (circa. 1970 CE). The bucket made of brass dates back to the early decade of fourteenth century Hijrah (circa. 1900 CE).


Masjid Nabawi's Door from King Abdulaziz's Era
A door belonging to Prophet's Mosque at Medina (large door at the right), dating back to the reign of King Abdul Aziz al-Saud. The door panels of an Ottoman era pulpit (smaller green door to the left with inlaid golden patterns) in Prophet's Mosque, made at the orders of Sultan Murad III. The grill on the wall in the middle belongs to the Masjid an-Nabawi's first Saudi construction.


Copy of Mushaf Uthmani
A copy of Mushaf e Uthmani (Quran bearing the blood of third caliph Uthman) produced during Era of Uthman ibn Affan. The original is preserved in the Topkapi palace, Istanbul, Turkey. According to tradition the original manuscript of this copy bears the marks of the blook of the third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan, when he was struck on head by rebels (this tradition has no verifiable sources, it is merely a speculation).

circa 1881 CE
(1299 Hj.)

Decorative/Calligraphic Tiles from Masjid al-Haram
Six marble tiles (inspect) on which are engraved the word "Allah" the name of the Prophet Muhammad and the names of the Four Caliphs may Allah be pleased with them dating back to 1299 Hijrah. The top center rectangular tile bears the inscription of Allah, middle rectangular tile bears the inscription Muhammad, 'alih as-salam (Muhammad, peace be upon him). From right to left, abu Bakr, Uthman, 'Ali, Umar the four rightly guided caliphs. Four poetry tiles (inspect) recording the contribution of Sultan Abdul Majeed I.

circa 1859 CE
(1277 Hj.)

Brass-panel from Riyadh ul-Jannah
Front piece of brass fixture panel bearing one of the verses from Qur'an, it was affixed at the space between the Minbar and Mehrab at the Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina. The circular inscription at the top bears Allah, second rectangular inscription reads; la ilaha illallah al-malik al-Haqq al-Mubeen (translation: There is no power except Allah, the King, the Right, the Manifest). It is one of the calligraphic inscriptions around the Mehrab Nabawi.

circa 1892 CE
(1309 Hj.)

Lock and Key of Kaabah
Lock and key of the Holy Kaaba 1309H (1892) made during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

circa 1606 CE
(984 Hj.)

Arched Facade
Marble arch facade to one of the doors to the Masjid al-Haram dating back to the tenth century Hejrah.

circa 1895 CE
c. 1273 Hj.

Meezaab Rehmah
Meezaab e Rehmah, the gutter of Ka'bah, made of wood and platted with gold from outside and with lead from the inside. It bears the name of Sultan Mahmud Khan son of Sultan Abdul Hamid Khan.

circa 1575 CE
(983 Hj.)

Inscription of Sultan Jaqmaq
Inscriptions on stone recording the contributions of the Mamluk Sultan Abu Said Jaqmaq 852 Hijri (1448 CE) and a marble slab engraved with the name of the Ottoman Sultan Murad III 983H (1575).

circa 687 CE
(65 Hj.)

Burnt Pillar of the Kaaba
A severly deteriorated section of one of the Bait ul-Allah's three interior pillars, dating back to the time of Abdullah ibn Zubair circa 65 Hj.

circa 687 CE
c. 65 Hj.

Wooden Column of Kaaba from the Time of Ibn Zubair
One of the Ka’bah’s immense wooden columns employed by Abdullah b. al-Zubayr, post the destruction of Mosque in the civil war with Umayyads, is still preserved in a Museum of the architecture of the two Holy Mosques in Makkah. There are three wooden pillars inside Kaaba today, dating back to 1990s. ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Zubayr ibn al-ʿAwwām (May 624 — October/November 692) was the leader of a caliphate based in Mecca that rivaled the Umayyads between 683 until his death. Throughout his opposition of Umayyad Caliphate, Ibn al-Zubayr used the Haram sanctuary as his base of operations and it was twice besieged, in 683 and 692. He rebuilt it following severe damage during the first siege, but his changes were later reversed.

circa 687 CE
c. 65 Hj.

Ottoman Era Plan of the Mosque
A colorful map of al-Masjid al-Haram from the early Ottoman period. From: Mirza, Mi’raj, Atlas Khara’it Makkah al-Mukarramah.

circa 1575 CE
(983 Hj.)

Inscription on as-Shumaisi Molding
The Bismalah and the two Suras of An-Nas and Al-Falaq engraved on Ash-Shumaisi molding to the twelfth century of the Hijrah.

circa 1950 CE
(1370 Hj.)

Curtain of the Kaaba Door
The old external curtain of Kabah's door to the left of the door.

circa 1950 CE
(1370 Hj.)

Some Artefacts
From left to right: A brass urn (inspect, extreme left) used to fetch water from the well of Zam Zam (Bir e ZamZam). Another brass urn (left) that was to be in the well to be used for Wudu and pouring Zam Zam water. A goat skin (center) used for carrying water from an undated period.

circa 1881 CE
(1299 Hj.)

Minaret Casings
Two of the crescent belonging to the Haramain al-Sharifain, one (left) belongs to Masjid al-Haram and one in the background belongs to one of the Minarets of the Masjid al-Nabawi.

circa 1943 CE
(1363 Hj.)

Door of the Kaabah from the King Abdulaziz Era
A door of Qiblah, dating back to the reign of King Abdul Aziz al-Saud.

circa 1943 CE
(1363 Hj.)

Zamzam Items
Some of the items associated and used in the old Zam Zam, including a Moroccan cask, couple of fictile jars to to cool the Zam Zam water, Old metal coins taken from ZamZam Well during cleaning from different periods.

circa 1606 CE
(984 Hj.)

Inscription from the Era of Sultan Selim
Inscrption recording the construction of the Masjid al-Haram dating back to the tenth century Hejrah, starting during the reign of Sultan Seliim and ending during the reign of his son Sultan Murad.

circa 1520 CE
c. (901 Hj.)

Inscription of Sultan Qaitbey
A slab of al-Shumaisi stone, bearing the name of memluk Sultan Qaitabey, dated back to the early sixteenth century. The inscription is inside a disc which in turn is surrounded by interlaced floral patterns. The Sultan al-Ashraf Qa’it Bey was one of the most active Mamluks in affecting and influencing the urban fabric, not only of the holy city of Mecca, but also the city of the Prophet Muhammad, Medina, which, too, was a pilgrimage site.

circa 1695 CE
(1073 Hj.)

Muqqarans from Bab Safa
One of smaller arched "Muqqarans" of Bab e Safa, made out of al-Shumaisi stone, dating back to 1600 CE removed during the early twentieth century, and placed here in 2000 CE. It is surprisingly similar to the Cotton Merchant's Gate of al-Aqsa Compund.


Inscription of Sultan Muhammad IV
Marble slab recording the deeds of the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad IV bin Ibrahim I dating back to the eleventh century Hijrah.


Black Stone Casings
Two of the old cassings (inspect) of Hajr e Aswad on display, removed during the several renovations of Holy Mosque in Mecca. Cassing belonging to first Saudi renovation (left) and Sultan Murad's era (right). Few of the old rings (inspect) and weights (inspect) to hold the Kiswa around Bait ul-Allah can also be seen in the background to the left.


Items from the Two Mosques
A collection of items from the Masjid al-Haram's older contributions, including an inscription on the white marble pillar (inspect) dating the building of one of the minarets of al-Masjid al-Haram to 772 AH/ 1370 CE during the rule of the Mamluki Sultan Sha’ban b. Husayn. Four marble tiles (inspect) with engraved verses of poetry recording the contribution of Sultan Abdul Majeed I to the Holy Mosque dating back to the mid thirteenth century Hijri (1258 Hj. / 1890 CE).

circa 1277 Hj.

Masjid Nabawi Clock
The clock (left) that was used in the Prophet's Mosque and may have been one of the clocks sent by Sultan Abdul Majid I to Masjid an-Nabawi.


Engraven Board from Kaaba Wall
Six piece engrave iron board bearing the verses from Quran, that used to be affixed with one of the walls of Ka'abah.


Incense Table of Kaaba
One of the incense (البخور) tables kept inside the Ka'abah. It is used to not only store the fragrances and incense but also as a padestal where the incense is burnt.

circa 2000 CE
c. 1378 Hj.

Pieces of Kaaba Cover
Pieces of Kiswa from different times, a piece of Kiswa (covering of the holy Ka'ba) named "Qindeel" (far left: inspect), it bears the engraved first verse of al-Fatiha (first chapter of Quran) "Al-Hamd ul-Lillah e Rabb-il 'Aalameen" (Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe).

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