Pilgrims visiting Saudi Arabia this year can benefit from the third expansion of the Holy Mosque.
The expansion is the largest in the mosque’s history, following two previous expansions launched by King Fahad and King Abdullah in 1989 and 2008, respectively, costing US$100 billion.
Saudi Arabia announced that it has received more than 95 million pilgrims over 50 years, and plans to host 30 million pilgrims per year.
The new expansion increased the mosque’s area by two-thirds, totalling 1.5 million square metres. Its area at the opening of Makkah is 1,490-square metres.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, launched the mosque’s third expansion in 2015 that involved five major projects, which are the expansion of the mosque’s main building, an arena project, a pedestrian tunnel project, upgrading the central service station, and developing the first ring road surrounding the mosque.
The expansion also upgraded the mosque’s security buildings and hospital, and added 78 automatic gates around the mosque.
These expansions reflect the attention given by the government of Saudi Arabia to the mosque.
Government authorities concerned with the Hajj announced the completion of this year’s preparations, which will ensure the success of the Hajj season. Over 33 government and consultative authorities are participating in this year’s security planning, which will involve over 17,000 civil defence personnel, 1,500 volunteers and 5,000 cameras.