The well of Zamzam from ‘Ali Bey El-Abbassi, Travels of Ali Bey, in Morocco, Tripoli, Cyprus, Egypt, Arabia, Syria, and Turkey on Collections Sphere from Khalili Collections
This engraving depicting the well of Zamzam and the building above it, is from the travelogue of ‘Ali Bey El-Abbassi, a Spanish traveller known as Domingo Badia y Leblich, who had travelled to Mecca in disguise.
He explains that in order to draw water, one had to ascend by the brim, with a circular railing prevented people from falling in. There were no steps by which to enter or exit the well area, so the drawer need to climb the stone wall and exit through a window. He suggests that this is to stop pilgrims from drawing water themselves and thereby preventing the keepers of the well from taking their dues.
Three pullies made from bronze and cords of hemp were tied to leather buckets to carry the water. He describes the water as heavy, brackish and warm. Despite the number of pilgrims, it did not appear to be diminished in its source. The building above, he describes in further detail, noting rooms for storing pitchers and a staircase to access the roof, which was dedicated to the followers of the Shafi‘I school of Sunni theology.