The art of drawing on walls is rooted in the Egyptian civilization since the ancient times. From drawings on the walls of temples and tombs, to frescos depicting Virgin Mary, the Christ, and the saints in the caves of the monasteries, to depiction of daily life like bread-making and cow-milking in Qurna village in Luxor, to birds, fish and crocodiles on Nubian homes, and even drawings of everyday life objects on tombstones of Hew cemetery in Qena.

Among this huge diversity of mural art that is scattered around Egypt geographically and historically is the Haj (pilgrimage) mural drawings.

The Haj mural scenes, usually depict the journey, the rituals, and the holy places related to the pilgrimage. They are accompanied by calligraphy which is either versus from the holy Quran, prayers, congratulations for the haj person, or a mixture of these.

By tracing the murals, we can see the development of ways to travel that people used to get to the holy lands. At the beginning the drawings depicted camels, then trains and ships, and finally aeroplanes.

They are drawn on the main façade of the house, around the door. Sometimes, they cover more than one façade, other times they are drawn even inside.

We can observe different styles and preferences in drawing the holy sites such as the Ka’ba and the prophet’s mosque, and the size and shape of the people. Sometimes, abstract figures are drawn, others, more detailed depiction of the person and his clothes are shown.

The purpose of drawing the haj murals on a house is to inform passers-by and others that one of the residents of this house has made a pilgrimage to the House of God (the honourable Ka’ba) for Muslims, or Jerusalem for the Copts. And it is also a means of showing pride of the new status of a Haj, and for sharing joy with friends and family.

Although Haj drawings have started in rural areas, it has transferred to the walls of the city buildings, probably by the through the immigration from villages to cities.