Saudi Arabia has launched five giant projects that are to be implemented as part of the third expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.
The expansion projects, launched by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, include the King Abdullah Expansion Structure, courtyards, tunnels, buildings for service facilities and the first ring road.
The King Abdullah Expansion Project is estimated to cost over SR100 billion ($26.6 billion) and is tipped to be ‘the Project of the Century’.
The area of the existing mosque, which currently stands at 356,000 sq m accommodating 770,000 worshippers, will be boosted by 456,000 sq m to accommodate an additional 1.2 million. After expansion, the courtyards will be able to host more than 250,000 worshippers.
The expansion project comprises three parts: construction of new buildings; expansion and development of courtyards, including walkways, tunnels and toilets; and development of service facilities for air-conditioning, electricity and drinking water.
The Ministry of Finance is supervising the expansion project, which is being implemented by the Saudi Binladin Group.
“What we are witnessing is a huge developmental revolution in Makkah, which takes into account the state’s five-year development plans and raises the level of services to pilgrims and visitors,” Arab News quoted Maher bin Saleh Jamal, chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as saying.