Saudi king demands Grand Mosque work done by July
King demands July completion for Haram expansion demolition work
KSA’s King Abdullah has instructed authorities to make sure demolition work needed to expand the Grand Mosque in central Makkah is carried out before Ramadan so that disruption to worshippers is kept to a minimum.
The new Haram expansion project will cover an area of 356,000m2, one and a half times bigger than the current area – but requires demolition work before the new Haram can be constructed.
Around 20% of the demolition work is complete – and the King has ordered that the work be finished in time for Ramadan, which begins mid-July.
The Grand Mosque expansion project is being carried out main contractors Saudi Binladin Group at a total cost of $21.3bn. That figure, according to Finance minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf, includes the money required to pay compensation to owners of real estate appropriated for the project.
The Grand Mosque is the main attraction for over 6 million pilgrims who enter Mecca each year and is the focal point for a transformation is modernising one of the oldest cities in the region with high-rise skyscrapers and residential blocks.
The mosque is built around the Kaaba shrine, which existed centuries before Islam emerged over 1,400 years ago. Muslims around the world turn towards it for daily prayers.
The new annex will be linked with the existing mosque and masaa with a series of bridges and will also be equipped with air conditioning systems and escalators, it added.
The plans also include the expansion of the mataf (the circumambulation areas around the Holy Kaaba) and air-conditioning for all parts of the Grand Mosque.