Originally Posted by JMancuso
it dominates the entire setting. the hotels around the vatican blend in with their surroundings which in turn, compliments the vatican. not compete with it.
plus, i would imagine the amount of tourists rome gets annually is more or less the same as the pilgrims to the hajj.
I don't know about the respective tourist numbers, but not everybody going to Rome, is there to see the Catholic Vatican. Also, even if the visitor numbers were equal--there's a big difference between annual vs jamming that same number into a 3 day period.
I just didn't see any comparison with the ESB--which I understood to be specifically a commercial/office enterprise, and Rome was already a big, built-out city, millenia ago. It's possible they wouln't have the room for a new mega-structure. Mecca was a small city until very recently...366K from the 1974 census. Also, The Vatican/Rome is not a place that regularly has 1-2 million people descend upon it, to my knowledge.
I'm not going to quibble over somebody's opinion regarding degree of tackiness--that's a characteristic that varies with the eye of the beholder. I'm certainly not interested in starting up what amounts to be another crusade: The media's done a damn good job of that over recent years in creating a devisive atitude when it comes to Christianity and Islam. Furthermore, there's already been plenty of bashing, in that vein, on this thread. Ironic, considering that both faiths read the bible.
There are plenty of examples of either faith, going over the line in some people's perceptions, when it comes to blending religion with commercialism. When I was in Mexico, I visited the shrine at Gudalupe. I also visited Mayan Temples. They all had vendors selling chachkas. To me, a big-ass hotel and mall selling religious paraphenalia right next to a Muslim shrine, is on the same scale as a hotel advertising itself with a picture suggesting getting liquored-up while overlooking a Christian shrine. I also comprehend it's a nuanced world, so I can see how you might not see it exactly that way.
I agree it dominates--I'm just OK with it:
1) Given some of the other proposals, I fully expect it to be part of a much greater urban mass of hig-rises. It'll still dominate, but over an expanded skyline as opposed to being a skyline in itself currently.
2) The shrine it overlooks is a place of gathering for huge crowds. The faith encourages it's 1 billion+ adherents--to go there at least once in their lifetime. It's not like the Vatican in that sense. It's definitely not a place of solitude or quit contemplation, the way some other spiritual shrines might be. The only comparison that comes to mind is perhaps The Kumba Mela
, in India. Here's a pic of a recent one: