Historic Pictures of Mecca

Historic pictures of old Mecca and Medina from 1800. Oldest recorded photographs are from 1717.


1. The Egyptian officer and engineer, Muhammad Sadiq Bey (1822-1902). French education, member of Egyptian delegation. He has between 1860 and 1896 written several books on journeys to the Hijaz, which contain illustrations shown in different techniques (woodcut, lithography).

He knew photographers 2 and 3 personally, but did not work together with them. The story of his photography is fairly straightforward.

2. ‘Abd al-Ghaffar b. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Baghdadi (no life dates available), usually known as ‘the Meccan doctor’). Lived in Mecca, went abroad sometimes (Egypt: dentistry). His failed attempts to portrait photography are documented for late 1884. He closely cooperated with photographer No. 3 on several levels. Except a few letters and family documents no written sources on his life and work. A man of many technical talents.

3. Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936), the Dutch Orientalist and colonial adviser. Muslim name in Jeddah and Mecca (1884-1885): ‘Abd al- Ghaffar (a coincidence). Brought a good camera, knew new techniques, cooperated with No. 2 in a common studio, mostly on portrait photography. His monograph on Mecca (1888-1889) and his archives are historical sources. Close cooperation with No. 2, personal acquaintance of No. 1.