Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has been on the throne for seven years now. Saudi media is pretty busy writing up encomiums for the changes and developments he has pushed. One, particularly noteworthy, has been the expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Arab News reports that the most recent expansions are greater than all expansions before. Ever-increasing numbers of pilgrims seek to take part in the annual Haj, already the greatest annual religious gathering in the world.

Credit for biggest expansion of Haram goes to the king
Jeddah: Badr Al-Qahtani

The biggest expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah was carried out during the reign of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

In 2011, the Haram’s capacity was raised to accommodate 1.6 million worshippers, one-and-half times more than all the expansions put together in the mosque’s history. This latest expansion cost SR 80 billion and is part of Makkah’s many development projects, including work on the mosque’s central zone and surrounding areas.

Speaking on the seventh anniversary of King Abdullah’s accession to throne, Dr. Muhammad Bin Nasser, vice president of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs, said developing the mosque’s area is an ongoing project.

“Every year the Grand Mosque witnesses more development in the services provided to visitors. This year, the King Abdullah Expansion Project is being carried out.

It includes the latest and most sophisticated electrical and mechanical systems. The expansion is linked to the first Saudi expansion and to the masaa (running area between Safaa and Marwaa) via several bridges. A new system of elevators and escalators is being installed,” he said.

May:18:2012 - 08:29 | Comments & Trackbacks (13) | Permalink
13 Responses to “Grand Mosque Expansion”
  1. 1
    Jerry M Said:
    May:18:2012 - 10:19 

    This is the first unedited photo I’ve seen of that clock tower. It is truly out of scale with the rest of the city. It reminds me of the old Con Edison building in NYC 9

    I don’t see how anything of historic value can be left in that city.

  2. 2
    News – 2012.05.18 | SUSRIS Pinged With:
    May:18:2012 - 17:46 

    [...] Grand Mosque Expansion [...]

  3. 3
    News – 2012.05.18 | SBRIS Pinged With:
    May:18:2012 - 17:49 

    [...] Grand Mosque Expansion [...]

  4. 4
    News – 2012.05.18 | ArabiaLink Pinged With:
    May:18:2012 - 17:52 

    [...] Grand Mosque Expansion [...]

  5. 5
    suzan Said:
    May:19:2012 - 04:57 

    Maybe that was part of the design brief in building the clock, to be out of scale with the rest of the city. The clock represents an overwhelming presence of “time”.

  6. 6
    suzan Said:
    May:19:2012 - 05:01 

    Tomorrow every fault is to be amended; but tomorrow never comes.

    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

  7. 7
    Sparky Said:
    May:19:2012 - 09:04 

    I paid homage to the clock…at least that is what I felt last time I made Umra. I have no idea what’s going around the Kabaa BUT it is being blitzed and that has made it inaccessable to many…Seriously I meant to say glitzed…or shall I say is it being blinged

    Listen to “No Church in the Wild” Album – Watch the throne… -

    God help us All human beings

  8. 8
    Mohammed Al-Arabi Said:
    May:20:2012 - 02:10 

    It is rather ugly and a bit unsettling that its geared mostly to cater for the rich.

  9. 9
    Dakota Said:
    May:20:2012 - 12:29 

    Religion dwarfed by sheer wealth, but maybe that is always the way with spirituality.

    NYT panned this building a few years back, calling it “an architectural absurdity” and “a kitsch rendition of London’s Big Ben”, and noted “To make room for it, the Saudi government bulldozed an 18th-century Ottoman fortress and the hill it stood on.” (Don’t miss the slide show — the link is in the margin.)

  10. 10
    Sparky Said:
    May:20:2012 - 13:53 

    Of course he doesn’t look up…however i can assure you there are many who are compelled to…Dakota that was a good article you linked. We decided to stay in Jeddah and were lucky we could hitch a ride as it seemed taxis were willing to go everywhere except Jeddah that particular day.

    I was quickly enlightened… All glitz above and when I needed to take a whizz it was hell. Literally people I experienced hell. Two floors down and women were trying to knock down a metal door/divider perhaps it was closed off and was being cleaned. I cannot even speak of the experience. People were arguing and near clawing at each other until someone said ‘we are all Muslim’ and then I thought to myself whether we are or arent we should act civilized.

    I don’t know what’s up? What’s up is that ppl should treat ppl with dignity while they still have a chance.

  11. 11
    Laylah Said:
    May:21:2012 - 15:16 

    Is King Abdullah also responsible for the Clock Tower?
    It literally overshadows the mosque..As if it’s saying commercialism and glitz are the new Mecca, forget the mosque, come shopping!
    The walk from the mosque to the tower complex shopping mall is just few hundred meters, making it easy so to change from the peaceful,spiritual environment to the noisy mindless spending frenzy! It ruined the whole experience for me.

  12. 12
    John Burgess Said:
    May:21:2012 - 16:22 

    @Laylah: I don’t think he’s personally responsible, but certainly the government had to give permits to build it.

    I have to admit, too, that contemporary Arab aesthetics often bewilder me. I assure you, there are many who find the scale of this tower appealing in its own regard. That shopping is now conveniently next to praying isn’t seen as a bad thing by all, either.

  13. 13
    Saudi Arabia: Grand Mosque Expansion Pinged With:
    May:21:2012 - 21:02 

    [...] comments   Posted on May 18, 2012 by John [...]

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