First published in 1957, Destination Mecca was both an ambitious Middle East travel memoir and a work of ethnographic and cultural research, taking the reader from Morocco to Saudi Arabia.
Destination Mecca is the Sufi writer Idries Shah’s sweeping classic travelogue through North Africa and the Middle East in the mid-20th century. As an Afghan from a Muslim background, and the son of a roving international diplomat, the author married familiarity with the region with the fresh eye of a traveller, making his account unique among books about the area.
Shah documents a wide range of fascinating journeys: from his quest for King Solomon’s Gold Mines on Sudan’s Red Sea coast, to encounters with Moroccan contraband smugglers, to his time as a personal guest of the elderly King of Saudi Arabia, Ibn Saud. The author’s family connections granted him access that was unavailable to other writers at the time.
Destination Mecca is both an invaluable snapshot of the Arab World, and a rare look at some of the seldom-seen cultural undercurrents running through it.