Mataf bridge removed

EASE OF PRAYER: The mataf around the Kaaba is now completely free of the temporary bridge, providing more space for worshippers to perform tawaf (circumambulate around the House of God) and say their prayers. (SPA)
Updated 14 May 2016
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Mataf bridge removed

MAKKAH: The temporary mataf has been completely dismantled and removed, providing much more space for worshippers to perform the congregational prayers near the Kaaba on Friday.

“A total of 10,489 pieces of the mataf and connecting bridges were removed within 35 days,” Wael Al-Halabi, a member of the technical committee for projects of the Two Holy Mosques, was quoted as saying by local media.
More than 580 individuals from the group participated in the removal of the bridge in addition to 80 engineers from the technical committee, he said.
He appreciated the efforts of the committee’s employees in removing the temporary mataf quickly, and also thanked the Ministry of Finance, Special Command Force of the Grand Mosque,
Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, Makkah Civil Defense and the Binladen Group.
Al-Halabi said work was stopped during Fridays so as not to disturb worshippers and provide more space. He said that work hours exceeded 200,000 with no registered injuries, “thanks to God and those committed to implementing safety requirements and professional health.”
He said the Special Command Force of the Grand Mosque exerted remarkable efforts in controlling overcrowding in the mataf. The General Presidency provided awareness services to worshipers and the Civil Defense kept a watch on the weather that might affect the workflow. It also kept an emergency plan ready for rain or strong winds.
Al-Halabi said the removal of the temporary bridge was done according to a scheduled plan by the Binladin Group over eight stages.
“It was also amended according to the workflow in order to provide the utmost comfort and more space for the visitors to the Grand Mosque.”


Events celebrating Saudi Souq Okaz festival kick off on Wednesday

Events are planned across the country to accompany the Souq Okaz festival. (AFP)
Updated 9 min 53 sec ago
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Events celebrating Saudi Souq Okaz festival kick off on Wednesday

  • Makkah will host a show creatively presenting the historical convoys of trade souqs
  • Riyadh and the Eastern Province will be hosting heritage and cultural events such as a show that presents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz and encourages people to visit the souq’s events

JEDDAH: Events accompanying Souq Okaz that promote the market and invite people to visit its cultural and heritage activities will kick off on Wednesday, under the patronage of King Salman. The Souq is organized by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and will run June 27 to July 13.

Makkah will host the event of “The Historical Convoys of Thi Al-Mejna and Thi Al-Mijaz Souqs,” a show creatively presenting the historical convoys of trade souqs. These convoys show the method traders adopted to beat travel exhaustion and entertain themselves as they would sing about Souq Okaz and invite people to visit it.

Madinah will host the event “Let’s go to Souq Okaz,” which will encourage people to attend the cultural and heritage events. This event includes activities such as folk shows and interactive, innovative and heritage competitions.

Jeddah will host several cultural seminars focusing on the history of the souq as well as poetry readings and a theatrical show that represents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz.

Riyadh and the Eastern Province will be hosting heritage and cultural events such as a show that presents the story of buying and selling in Souq Okaz and encourages people to visit the souq’s events.

Taif will host “Souq Okaz for Performance Arts,” an event that includes heritage and cultural performance activities that reflect the souq’s identity in Al-Hada, Shifa and Ar-Rudaf Park. 

The events accompanying the souq this year will be launched on Friday in Al-Baha and many archaeological sites in the provinces of Al-Mikhwat, Al-Qura and Al-Mandaq.

The events include the camel convoy, horse shows, traditional folk and dancing shows, artifacts, Saudi traditional dishes and the introduction of some popular traditional and historical souqs in the regions.