The government of Saudi Arabia has announced an initiative which will expand the Grand Mosque (Al-Masjid Al-Haram) in Makkah to accommodate an increasing numbers of pilgrims and worshippers. The Arab News reports that the expansion project will add 400,000 square meters, nearly doubling the existing space, and increasing its total capacity to 2.5 million worshippers at a time.
The mosque expansion will take place to the northwest and northeast of the existing mosque structure, and will cost approximately 80 billion SAR ($21 billion USD).
Anyone who has been watching the taraweeh prayers in Makkah over the past few weeks can easily see that an expansion of the existing mosque is needed. Worshippers regularly take over the surrounding streets, which is both unsafe and uncomfortable. The only other option would be for the Saudi government to severely restrict the number of pilgrims and visitors, which they are reluctant to do.
Photo: A model of the expansion of the Grand Mosque, Al-Masjid Al-Haram, in Makkah (SPA).