In the late 1880s, the photographer Al Sayyid Abd al Ghaffar carried cumbersome equipment to the desert city of Mecca, capturing scenes of thousands of Muslim pilgrims camped in the surrounding hills and valleys during the Hajj. Today, more than 125 years later, more than two million Hajj pilgrims descended on Mecca, which has grown drastically to accommodate the annual gathering. Gathered here is a series of photographs from al Ghaffar taken sometime around 1887, compared with images from similar locations taken in 2015. [17 photos total]

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Left: A photograph of the Kaaba (center) in the city of Mecca, circa 1887. Right: A view from a similar location 128 years later shows the Grand mosque and the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on September 25, 2015. (Al Sayyid Abd al Ghaffar / Library of Congress—Mohammed Al-Shaikh / AFP / Getty) #
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(1 of 2) A photograph of the Kaaba (center) in the city of Mecca circa 1887. (Al Sayyid Abd al Ghaffar / Library of Congress) #
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(2 of 2) An aerial view shows the Grand mosque and the Kaaba in Saudi Arabia's city of Mecca on September 25, 2015. (Mohammed Al-Shaikh / AFP / Getty) #
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(1 of 2) A view of the city of Mecca circa 1887. (Al Sayyid Abd al Ghaffar / Library of Congress) #
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(2 of 2) An aerial view of Mecca, with the Grand Mosque at center on September 25, 2015. (Ahmad Masood / Reuters) #
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(1 of 2) The western part of the Mina Valley, outside Mecca, during the Hajj pilgrimage, circa 1887. (Al Sayyid Abd al Ghaffar / Library of Congress) #
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(2 of 2) Tents for pilgrims attending the annual Hajj pilgrimage fill the Mina Valley on September 25 2015. (Mosa'ab Elshamy / AP) #
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(1 of 2) Pilgrims in the eastern part of the Mina Valley, circa 1887. (Al Sayyid Abd al Ghaffar / Library of Congress) #
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(2 of 2) Muslim pilgrims walk past tents in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, on September 25, 2015. (Mosa'ab Elshamy / AP) #
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(1 of 2) Pilgrims at a rest station near Mount Arafat, east of Mecca, during the Hajj, circa 1887. (Al Sayyid Abd al Ghaffar / Library of Congress) #
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(2 of 2) Muslim pilgrims walk on roads as they head to cast stones at pillars symbolizing Satan during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mina on the first day of Eid al-Adha, on September 24, 2015. (Ahmad Masood / Reuters) #
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(1 of 2) Pilgrims pray while standing around the Kaaba in Mecca, circa 1887. (Al Sayyid Abd al Ghaffar / Library of Congress) #
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(2 of 2) Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba in Mecca on September 22, 2015. (Mosa'ab Elshamy / AP) #
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(1 of 2) A photograph showing buildings in Mecca, circa 1887, including the Hamīdijjah, a government building constructed during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II, and the Jiyād fortress in the background. (Al Sayyid Abd al Ghaffar / Library of Congress) #
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(2 of 2) The Abraj Al-Bait Towers with the four-faced clock stands over the Kaaba, as Muslims encircle it inside the Grand Mosque, during the Hajj, on September 25, 2015. (Mosa'ab Elshamy / AP) #
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(1 of 2) A view of the city of Mecca, circa 1887. (Al Sayyid Abd al Ghaffar / Library of Congress) #
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(2 of 2) An aerial view is seen of Mecca on October 5, 2014. (Muhammad Hamed / Reuters) #

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