Holy Mosque improvements near completion

July 24, 2009

About 95 percent of the Mas’a tier expansions at the Holy Mosque in Makkah have been completed, with the focus now shifting to completing the Mas’a dome before the start of the holy month of Ramadan, the Arabic-language newspaper Okaz reported. The expansion will increase the structure’s capacity to over 300,000 people per hour in an area of 72,000 square meters. The total width of the Mas’a will reach 40 meters over three tiers connected with the ground floor, the first floor and the roof by escalators and elevators. The expansion also includes passageways linked to the eastern courtyard for the bearing of the dead through the Mas’a for funeral prayers, as well as facilities for persons with special needs with modified passageways and four new escalators.

The project also included the demolition of a minaret of the Grand Mosque and the construction of a new minaret 95 meters high. Other improvements at the northern courtyard of the Holy Mosque are also close to completion, including sanitary facilities to the northwest and 100 stalls for traders selling Miswak close to Jabl Al-Ka’ba. The courtyards are expected to be ready for worshippers in 30 days.

Saad Al-Qureshi, Chairman of the Hajj and Umrah Committee at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the expansion of the Mas’a would provide greater comfort and peace of mind for Umrah performers and pilgrims and streamline flow at peak hours during Ramadan and Hajj.

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