A lot of good new construction has taken away dirt problems and air-conditioned shopping centers have replaced lot of open shops that still exist and are as busy as before but
food quality has gone down
Zamzam has been diluted,
K'aba has become overshadowed with tall business buildings mostly 5-star hotels
and most prominent clock tower has been built next to Haram so Kaaba is no more 'the object of worship' but the business is (it seems)
I did see a new good-looking musalla (Ja-e-namaz) with the picture of kaaba small closer to the feet and the clock tower's top at the place of sajda.
One would think that most religious Muslims are all filthy rich that can afford 5-star hotels all the Western big Giants, like Intercontinental, Sheraton, Hilton etc. and the poor Muslims now must walk distances from the masjid staying in 'ordinary hotels named in Arabic.
Dont get me wrong, it all looks so nice and clean and posh that all other religions would envy. At least this way Hajj has become Fardz only for filthy rich Muslims and on poor Muslims it is not mandatory any more. Good for them. However now that everything is on sale it seems this 5th rukn of Islam is undergoing lot of alterations under the Saudi regime. Zamzam is now sold strictly under the orders of Kingdom whereas I clearly remember getting a can of Zamzam at the airport when returning home from Hajj in 1994 'free' and also a copy of newly printed Quran, all given by the King free of charge as a gift and it was real zamzam not 55% Zamzam mixed with 45% ordinary water
I remember the comment of "Commercialization of "Hajj&Umra" by the new Muslimah who had returned after Hajj and talked to us in our Masjid here. The lady who was a British journalist prisoner of Taliban who accepted Islam, I forget her name.
Next I see (Future) they will start charging one riyal per Salat in the masjid-Nabawi and may be two Ryals per Salat in Makkah -after all these prayers (Salat) are not ordinary ones each one is equivalent to 50K or 100K salats and Saudis are "Custodians of these places of worship", so they deserve to be materially benefitted
for all the money they have spent on these places. Only Allah knows where all this going to end.
Please visit my Urdu blog at http://saugoree-bsc.blogspot.com/