The Honorable King Abdul-Aziz began the 4th phase of the Masjid-E-Haram expansion in Saudi Arabia in 2011. The great project has been steadily materialized into the vision of the Makkah in the future.
The development strategy was expected to be completed by 2020. Several foreign companies have contributed to the Mosque’s renovation, making it genuinely a worldwide venture. Al-Rajhi Alliance, BinLaden Group, Atkins Construction Company, Spanish Isolux Corsan construction company, and the Al-Shoula Group are among the project’s most influential contributors. The expansion and reconstruction project is expected to the cost around $26.6 billion, with a staggering $35.5 billion set aside to obtain the land required to expand the Masjid. It was estimated that the Mosque will cost a total of $100 billion after this phase of Saudi renovation was completed.
High-Speed Railway Project In Haramayn Shareefain:
This project, also known as the Makkah-Madina high-speed railway, is a 453-kilometer-long high-speed inter-city railway transport system connects both the sanctified cities of Makkah and Madina. The whole project was scheduled for the completion in March 2018 and was officially inaugurated on 25th, September 2018, and opened to the general public on 11th, October 2018. The purpose of this railway project is to provide comfort and protection to Pilgrims traveling between cities on their way to Ziyarat at speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour. Traveling between the two holiest cities presently takes about 6 and a half hours, but in the future, the duration will be reduced to barely two hours.
This railway track is used to alleviate the traffic congestion that occurs in both cities during the Hajj season. It will feature 3 stations in between such as King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh, Jeddah Downtown, and King Abdul-Aziz International Airport as well. It is expected to accommodate 3 million people each year.
King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, Saudi Arabia:
The King Abdul Aziz International Airport is being renovated to the investment of billions of dollars. Because of the growing number of Hajj pilgrims and thriving religious tourism, King Abdul-Aziz International Airport needs to increase its capacity from 12 million to 80 million passengers per year by 2035. This mega-project is divided into 3 main phases, one of which was finished in 2018. The first phase maximizes the airport’s capacity to accommodate 20 million passengers per year.
According to the Architect Arkin, the airport will have 46 gates, an automatic People Mover, an in-house premium hotel, a rescue & fire-fighting facility, an Emergency Response center, a link with the Haramayn High-Speed Railway track, a majestic mosque, and a flight data gathering center, when it will be designed completely. The Airport will be connected to the High-speed railway line through a special 3.75-kilometer branch.
Haram In The Not-So-Distant Future:
According to the new proposed designs for the Grand Mosque, it will accommodate 1.6 million attendees. The building’s extension will feature a ring road, tunnels, as well as a cascading facade that can accommodate thousands of pilgrims simultaneously. The Extension project adds 21,000 new restrooms and toilets, 24 elevators for disabled people, 680 escalators, and six completely new prayer floors. In addition, a $2.6 billion metro line for inter-city transit will be built.
The Masjid-E-Haram’s tremendous importance, as well as its historical value of the current design and structure, is challenging to plan for. To be seen from above, the design suggests building Islamic archways that will cascade toward Kabah, producing ‘petals’ for making the flower around the Holy Kabah. The petals can then be made again in order to complete the circle around the sacred Kabah because till now only the northern side of the Holy Kabah has been built in this way. The floors have a slight upward and outward curvature to them. Even the pilgrim standing in the last lines can enjoy an uninterrupted view of the Sacred Kabah while praying or as one goes away from the Kabah. This plan also features a new air conditioning system and the renovation of the gallery or corridor between the Safa and Marwa Hills.
This design will have some limitations such as it will be built outside the existing structure of the Haram Shareef. It is because pilgrims’ clear views from the ‘petal constructions’ cannot be assured without demolishing the ancient and sentimental Turkish arcade from the Ottoman age. Hence, this will cause a great disturbance in the Hajj & Umrah Performance and the other aspects. As a large number of pilgrims or tourists visit Makkah and Madina every year, Saudi Government will need to make a plan to renovate or upgrade Masjid-E-Haram that will not be a hindrance in their ways. The futuristic view of Haram Shareef will be exceptional and mind-blowing that everyone will desire to see or visit it once.
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