King urges faster pace on Prophet's Mosque project
Monarch wants expansion project in Madinah delivered in two years
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has decreed that work on the proposed expansion of the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah should begin immediately so that the first phase can be completed within two years, according to Arab News.
The King visited the site on Monday to lay the foundation stone for the project, which will see the mosque building expanded to cover a 614,800m2 area. The combined space of the mosque and its plazas will be over one million square metres, providing capacity for one million worshippers within the mosque and 800,000 outside, according to the country's finance minister, Ibrahim Al-Assaf.
The expansion will mean that 23 hotels are being removed from a central zone near the mosque.
These will be replaced by 21 new hotels, and more space will be created for housing and shopping areas.