From the news desk

Haj projects on schedule

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The Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques has said that all expansion projects for this year’s Haj are on schedule.

The projects are part of the vision of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and the country’s government to ensure that Makkah and Madinah are world class cities, which would allow pilgrims to perform their rituals safely.

The construction taking place on the ground floors of the two holy mosques, including escalators, would be ready for the Haj starting later this month, the presidency said recently, according to a report in a local newspaper.

The first floor in Makkah would be able to accommodate 278,000 worshipers. The mataf, or the circumambulation area around the Kaaba, would take 114,000 people, the report said.

The first floor air conditioning covers 5,000 square meters; while the area for wheelchairs on Ajyad bridge would be canopied. Six hundred fans would be operational in the courtyards of the Grand Mosque.

In the Prophet’s Mosque, there would be 250 umbrellas fitted, with more than 20,000 toilets. Both mosques would have 6,000 areas for ablution in the courtyards, the report said.

In Makkah, the floor on the roof of the Grand Mosque would be completed before the end of the month to allow pilgrims to perform the tawaf, the circumambulation around the Kaaba. The space created is over 76,000 square meters, with a capacity to handle 107,000 people.

Construction crews are now adding the finishing touches to floors, ceilings and walls. There are also extra air conditioning units and lights being installed on pathways for wheelchairs on the upper part of the mataf bridge.

King Salman launched five projects during Ramadan as part of the third Saudi expansion of the Grand Mosque, which includes expanding buildings, courtyards, tunnels and various roads.

The Grand Mosque covers a space of 1.47 million square meters, and has a capacity to handle more than 1.85 million worshipers. The project has 78 electronic gates operated by remote control. It also has a sound system that includes 4,524 loudspeakers, a fire alarm system, 6,635 surveillance cameras, cleaning systems and 2,528 water faucets. Arab News

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