ISLAMABAD: More than 5,000 workers, engineers and technicians are working round-the-clock to complete unprecedented expansion project of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah Munawarrah.
In Saudi Arabia, sources close to the project said all basic infrastructure work has been completed and concrete columns are being erected.
About 95 percent of the demolition work has been completed. About 10 hotels to the eastern side of the expansion were leveled to the ground in addition to a number of houses and other utilities to make way for the expansion, Saudi Gazette reported.
Abdul Wahid Bin Ali Al-Hattab, director of public relations of the Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said the first phase of the expansion will accommodate about 800,000 worshippers while the two others in the eastern and western plazas will accommodate a similar number of worshippers.
“With the completion of the the expansion work, the mosque will comfortably accommodate about 1.6 million worshippers,” he said.
Hattab said the mosque’s present internal capacity is 146,000 worshippers while the roof’s capacity is 90,000 and the combined capacity of the plazas is 600,000.
“At peak times, the numbers of worshippers go up to a million,” he added.
Mohammed Al-Bijawi, director of the Madinah branch of the Ministry of Haj, said the demolition activities did not affect the number of visitors as precautionary measures were taken and alternative accommodations provided.
He said the delay in the demolition of 26 hotels had helped accommodate the rising number of visitors who have been arriving in Madinah since the Umrah season started on November 23.
Al-Bijawi said integrated services will be provided to visitors during the Umrah season which will continue until the end of Ramadan.
A new central area will be built to include the hotels which have been demolished or are scheduled for demolition in the next phase.