New Haram annex opens for pilgrims

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Updated 17 July 2013
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New Haram annex opens for pilgrims

Three floors of the newly constructed annex of the Grand Mosque have been opened to accommodate 400,000 more worshippers this Ramadan.
The opening comes upon directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who initiated the new expansion project to increase the mosque’s capacity to more than two million.
Apart from the basement, first and mezzanine floors, the mosque’s northern, southern and western plazas have also been opened for worshippers.
Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said his ministry implemented the project upon the king’s directives to expand facilities for the millions of pilgrims who come from around the world for Umrah during the holy month.
The king has also ordered the opening of mataf expansion, including the special facility for people of special needs, for pilgrims.
Muhammad bin Nasser Al-Khozaim, deputy chief of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs, confirmed that all floors of the new King Abdullah Haram Expansion Project had been opened for worshippers.
“The entire annex has been provided with a central air-conditioning system and has been decorated with beautiful chandeliers,” he said.
There are telephones for visitors to make inquiries about matters related to Umrah or other religious issues.
Al-Khozaim said the new annex with its plazas would serve more than 1.5 million worshippers during the peak Haj and Umrah seasons.
Zamzam water taps have been installed in open plazas to supply cold water to visitors.
The new annex’s escalators have begun operating to facilitate movement of pilgrims and worshippers to upper floors.
Saudi nationals and expatriates have commended the king’s gesture.
“This is a great humanitarian gesture from King Abdullah, as he knows that more prayer facilities are required at the Grand Mosque during Ramadan to accommodate the millions of worshippers,” Hassan Al-Ahdal, secretary-general of the International Media Organization, told Arab News.
“The opening of the new annex and surrounding plazas will certainly help worshippers perform their prayers with greater comfort.”


Where We Are Going Today: Workout studio aims to empower Saudi women

Updated 27 April 2018
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Where We Are Going Today: Workout studio aims to empower Saudi women

  • Studio55 is about empowering women to be more in all aspects of life. It’s more than just an exercise
  • It combines spinning with yoga, pilates, TRX, zumba, core fitness and strength training all in one session

Studio55 is a boutique chain for women in Saudi Arabia with a workout studio that features a complete cross-training approach to fitness and well-being. 

It has two branches, one in Alkhobar, established in June 2015, and one in Jeddah, set up in October 2017. 

Al-Batool Baroom, Studio55’s commercial director, said that the studio’s particular approach combined spinning with yoga, pilates, TRX, zumba, core fitness and strength training all in one session.

“It is offered to all our members under one roof through our four workout zones: Ride55, Fitness55, Focus55 and Fusion55.” 

The studio also keeps track of members’ workouts through a software program called Performance IQ. 

It sends the member their workout performance statistics by email at the end of the class and stores the data on their studio profile. 

The information includes their average heart-rate, calories burnt, average RPM (in spinning classes), time and distance.

“Studio55 is about empowering women to be more in all aspects of life. It’s more than just an exercise. We work on awareness, education and community events alongside our workouts and fitness engagement,” Baroom said.

“Every now and then we invite inspiring role-models to come and give an open talk at the studio, as well as prominent instructors to give classes. Some of our guests have included Princess Reema, Raha Moharrak, Dina Al-Tayeb, Manal Rostom, Nelly Attar and Hala Alhamrani.” 

Fatima Batook, founder of Studio55, encouraged women to visit the studio to help to change their lives for the better.

“Women should come to us to be more, to get inspired by our trainers and live their lives to their full potential, achieving not only health and fitness goals but personal life goals,” she said.