Tacky in Turkey: ‘Replica Mecca’ in Istanbul raises eyebrows

Fake Kaaba

A district mayor in Istanbul from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has raised some eyebrows by constructing the replicas of Islam’s holiest places and objects, yet the building idea seems to have spread elsewhere.

The Üsküdar municipality in the Asian side of Istanbul inaugurated the “Village of the Age of Happiness” on April 19. The Age of Happiness is an Islamic term that refers to the time of Prophet Mohammad, whose birthday according to the Western calendar is currently been celebrated with public events…

…Meanwhile, a protester (below) who attempted to make “Hajj pilgrimage” at the replica Mecca was detained on April 20.


“I am a performance artist. The police usurped my right to travel and discriminated against me for what I wear,” protester Cihat Duman told in a series of tweets after he was detained while wearing the Hajj clothing in Üsküdar.

The controversy, however, did not stop another municipality on Istanbul’s Asian side to inaugurate a similar venue on April 21.

The Tuzla Municipality’s “Hijra Walking Track” features newer, and apparently lower budget, replicas of the Kaaba, the Sevr cave and some novelties such as the lookalikes of two hills in the real-word Mecca, as well as a traffic sign that reads the distance to Madina right next to a cardboard camel…

Related: Replica Mecca, Quran-shaped cake slammed by Turkey’s top religious body: Turkey’s top religious body has registered its disdain at two recent efforts to celebrate Islam, describing a Quran-shaped cake as “wrong” and slamming the replicas of Islam’s holiest places and objects as “great sin.”