Construction work in progress for
the historic expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
Major Haram expansion work begins Friday,
to accommodate 1.2m more
Saudi Arabia Government plans yet another expansion of the
Grand Mosque in Makkah
which is expected t accommodate an
additional 1.2 million more hajis after completion
the Custodian of the Two Holy
Mosques, in a glittering ceremony August 19 launched the largest
ever expansion of the Grand Mosque of Makkah costing a whopping
SR80 billion. The expansion after completion will increase the
mosque's capacity to more than 2.5 million worshippers. He
dedicated the new expansion to the Islamic world, a media report
Abdul Mohsen Bin Humaid, director of
projects, said the new project would be completed in a year and a
The new project, covering 400,000
sq. meters in the northwest and northeast of the mosque, is the
project of the century, said Muhammad Al-Khozaim, vice president
of the Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques Affairs.
Al-Khozaim disclosed plans to expand
the mataf (the circumambulation areas around the Holy Kaaba) and
provide air-conditioning for all parts of the Grand Mosque, adding
that the two schemes would be carried out shortly along with the
new Haram expansion project, according to leading Saudi daily
A documentary screened during the
ceremony said the expansion’s main gate would be named after King
Abdullah and will have two minarets, bringing the mosque’s total
number of minarets to 11, the reports said.
total area of the existing Haram Mosque is 356,000 sq. meters
accommodating 770,000 worshippers while the new expansion covering
an area of 456,000 sq. meters will accommodate 1.2 million
faithful, the report said quoting its sources.
The new project will comprise three
parts: construction of a new building; expansion and development
of courtyards around the mosque, including walkways, tunnels and
toilets; and development of service facilities for
air-conditioning, electricity and drinking water.
A 1,200-meter tunnel will be
constructed from the end of the expansion passing through Jabal
Hindi while another tunnel with a length of 1,100 meters will be
built under Jabal Madafie. An emergency 700-meter tunnel crossing
the other two tunnels will be constructed from Jabal Al-Kaaba.
King Abdullah also inaugurated the
Makkah Tower Clock, considered the largest in the world; the
Makkah Time, the newly expanded masaa (the running course between
Safa and Marwa); the King Abdul Aziz endowment towers; the Jamrat
Bridge complex in Mina; and the Mashair Railway linking the holy
sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifa as well as the sunshades
around the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah by pressing buttons.
Before laying the foundation for the
new expansion, King Abdullah inspected models of the expansion
project as well as other development projects implemented in
Makkah and other holy sites.
Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf
announced during the launching ceremony that the new expansion
project would cost SR80 billion, which would include the money
required to pay compensation to owners of real estates
appropriated for the project.
But the investment does not go
Makkah Mayor Osama Al-Bar said the
new projects would boost business in Makkah and help the holy city attract new investments worth SR100
"Every SR1 billion spent by the
government would encourage the private sector to invest an
additional SR5 billion. This way the public investment would have
a multiple effect on the economy," the mayor said.
Nawaf Al-Jowharji, a member of
Makkah Provincial Council, described the King Abdul Aziz endowment
towers as one of the largest real estate projects in the Kingdom,
adding that it would help accommodate about 50,000 pilgrims and
Economist Aabid Al-Abdali of Umm Al-Qura
University said the spending of SR40 billion, which is given to
owners of real estate properties appropriated for the expansion
project, would trigger an unprecedented economic boom in the holy
He estimated Makkah's gross domestic
product at SR123 billion. "The volume of spending on Makkah
projects equals one third of the whole economy," he pointed out.
He said the multiple effect of government spending in new projects
would generate SR133 billion.
Maher Jamal, a member of the Makkah
Chamber of Commerce and Industry, spoke about the increasing flow
of investment to Makkah, especially from Saudis. He estimated
total investments in the ongoing development projects in Makkah at