Mataf expansion won’t affect flow of Zamzam water
The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques
announced that the demolition work taking place as part of the
ongoing expansion of the "mataf" (area for circumambulation around
the Kaaba) has reached about 70 percent of the total works so far. »
Makkah: The mataf (circumambulation area
around the Holy Kaaba) will have the capacity to hold 105,000
worshippers in an hour with the completion of the first phase of
the expansion project during the fasting month of Ramadan, which
will begin on July 9.
The entire roof of the Grand Mosque and mataf will have
air-conditioned sunshades, said Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais,
head of the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.
He made the remarks during a
ceremony to launch an exhibition on mataf expansion at the
headquarters of the presidency.
Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, governor of
the Makkah region, opened the exhibition.
The exhibition showcases more than
50 artworks illustrating, for the first time, the current position
of mataf, phases of its expansion, and future design plans, in
addition to two huge models about the phases of expansion.
Al-Sudais said people can get to know all details about the
project by visiting the exhibition.
He said the ongoing expansion
project will be completed within three years, and that was in line
with the instructions of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King
“Up to first floor of the new mataf will be completed in the first
phase in Ramadan, and it will have five floors with the completion
of the three-phase project within three years. The presidency is
also keen to achieve the expansion with a total of seven floors
with air-conditioned sunshade for the holy mosque and the mataf as
well,” he said, adding that the works have been intensified to
complete the project on time as per schedule.
Al-Sudais said the expansion plan
also consists of an automated system for the garbage disposal and
centralized cleaning besides a monitoring system for hygiene of
The expansion is being carried out
on the basis of a plan prepared by the Custodian of the Two Holy
Mosques Institute for Haj and Umrah Research.
The plan focuses on making maximum
use of available space while maintaining the architectural
features of the Grand Mosque.
According to the plan, the mataf will be separated from prayer
areas of the mosque and will be linked to different levels of the
mosque, with entrances to and exits from the mataf on all levels,
and direct access from the mataf to the masaa (the running area
between the mounts of Safa and Marwa).
There is also a plan to connect all
courtyards of the mosque with the mataf area via escalators to
facilitate smooth flow of pilgrims.
The current mataf is a circle with a
diameter of 95 meters and a capacity for 28,000 people per hour,
though at peak seasons it rises to 40,000 people per hour.
Al-Sudais said that the presidency is currently seeking
alternative arrangements for the elderly and the disabled to
perform tawaf and saai.
He noted that the government is keen
to use top quality and high standard goods and systems that would
ensure safety and sustainability of the project with fulfilling
all the operational and environmental requirements irrespective of
the cost for them.
The presidency chief also welcomed
suggestions and proposals by posting them on its website. King
Abdullah last year launched the largest ever expansion of the
Grand Mosque in history, which will increase the mosque’s capacity
to more than 2.5 million worshippers at a cost SR80 billion.