Prophet’s Mosque to accommodate two million worshippers after expansion

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Updated 26 September 2012
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Prophet’s Mosque to accommodate two million worshippers after expansion

JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has ordered that works for the expansion project of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah should start immediately in order for it to be completed in less than two years.
The king stressed the significance of the completion of the project at its earliest considering the greatness of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said.
The mosque building will sprawl over an area of 614,800 square meters or 1060 X 580 meters while the combined space of the mosque and plazas will be 1,020, 500 square meters or 1300 X 785 meters, which can accommodate 1 million worshippers inside the mosque and 800,000 worshippers in the plaza, Al-Assaf said, shedding more light on the new expansion at the Madinah mosque for which the king laid the foundation stone on Monday.
When completed, the mosque will have two major minarets in addition to smaller minarets at four sides. The Central Zone surrounding the mosque will triple in size compared to present area with greater room for residences, shopping areas, utility and security and will be surrounded a new ring road.
While the first phase of the expansion will facilitate more than 800,000 worshippers, the second and third phases will give room for more than a million worshippers, media reports said.
Altogether the new expansion will create an additional space for 1.2 million worshippers by 2040.
The project will remove 23 hotels from the Central Zone (the area around the mosque), which is feared to create a shortage of 4,760 rooms to accommodate those who visit the mosque. On the other hand, 21 new hotel projects would be completed this year to make up for the shortfall, according to local media reports, according to a local newspaper report.
“The Central Zone will undergo near total reconstruction including the expansion of existing utilities to cope with the increasing number of pilgrims and visitors to the mosque in the coming years. Currently the present space in the mosque and surrounding squares is put at 550,000 to 780,000,” the report added.
The plazas in the eastern and the western sides of the mosque will be developed. The buildings surrounding the plazas will be built matching the urban development and in line with the rich Islamic cultural history of Madinah.
The project, which aims to accommodate 1.2 million worshippers by the year 2040, will also develop the surrounding buildings known as Al-Ruwaq, which will serve as a gateway between the city and the mosque. The common and community plazas will be developed to fulfill their role as the social and spiritual hub of the city.
The comprehensive plan for the development of the mosque also demands the acquisition of all needed private properties under the public sector
ownership.
The comprehensive plan for the project also recommended that existing hotels in areas of reconstruction should be allowed to operate until actual work begins in their locations. This is to avoid inconvenience to pilgrims. The expansion to the northern side requires 12.5 hectares of land while its compensation of SR2.16 billion at the rate of SR400,000 per square meter will have to be paid to property owners. The total property compensation for the project is estimated at SR 25 billion.
The development of the Central Zone will have to consider the desire of visitors to the mosque to stay close to the mosque so that they can walk to the mosque for every prayer.
The design of the project will also preserve the status of the mosque as a symbol of Islam and its culture.
The plots to be acquired for northern plaza are near the Jabal Salae.
The proposed new ring road, Shari Arid Al-Janobi, which requires land worth SR2.8 billion, will be constructed at an estimated cost of SR972 million.
There will also be a number of pedestrian bridges and underpasses to help pedestrians in huge numbers to cross the new road.
The development of the Central Zone will also allow for increased private investment in the housing, shopping and hospitality sectors.
The project’s comprehensive plan also aims to develop the unplanned neighborhoods close to the Central Zone including new utility infrastructures and start work on a priority basis determined by the plan. There should be a public sector mechanism to buy property and get rid of or refurbish buildings that do not match the development plan.
King Abdul Aziz ordered the expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque with the addition of 6,024 square meters in 1950 while the expansion of 40,440 square meter was ordered by King Faisal in 1974. King Khaled allocated the land south west of the mosque for the worshippers’ service in 1997 and during the reign of King Fahd, the mosque’s space reached 384,000 square meters.
The Prophet (pbuh) built his mosque in the first year of Hijrah (622 AD) and undertook its first expansion in 7th Hijri year (629 AD) after his return from a campaign in Khaybar. The second Caliph Umar bin Al-Khattab and third Caliph Uthman bin Affan also expanded the mosque, followed by Umayyad King Waleed bin Abdul Malik in 706 AD.


First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

Updated 27 June 2019
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First charity art auction in Saudi Arabia hits SR4.8 million in sales

  • The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah
  • Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetched SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction

JEDDAH: Art for Al Balad, the first charity auction of contemporary art in the Kingdom, achieved sales of SR 4.8 million ($1.3 million) on Wednesday.

The event, which featured 43 works by Saudi and Arab artists, all of which sold, was held at historic Nassif House in Al-Balad, Jeddah, on Wednesday. It was organized by the Ministry of Culture in cooperation with auction house Christie’s.

“It was much above our expectations; we are very happy,” said Michael Jeha, chairman of Christie's Middle East.

About 200 Saudi art collectors joined artists and other members of the Saudi and international cultural communities at the event. Bidding was highly competitive, with “Tawaf around the Kaaba 2,” a painting by Saudi artist Abdullah Al-Shalty, fetching SR 650,000, the highest price paid for any single work in the auction.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Nassif House was built in 1872. Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, was received at this house upon his entry to the city in 1925.

• The Saudi government is keen to restore and preserve buildings with historic and cultural significance, and carries out regular renovation work.

• Al-Balad, or Jeddah historic district, is one of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kingdom. It contains about 600 buildings that date back to the 19th century.

 

“Where to” by Prince Badr bin Abdulmohsen was the second-most expensive work, selling for SR 500,000, while “Witness in the Desert” by Abdullah Al-Sahikh attracted a winning bid of SR 380,000.

“It was extremely pleasing, very encouraging,” said Jeha. “The energy in the room was fantastic. The enthusiasm was very strong. I think for the very first auction, we can all be extremely pleased.”

Jeha described the growth of the art scene and culture in general in Saudi Arabia as very impressive, and said that the Ministry of Culture has developed a strong platform and program for the coming years, which will help to establish art and culture in the hearts and minds of people in the Kingdom.

The profits from the auction will help to establish a new heritage museum in Jeddah’s historic district and support The Help Center, a non-profit organization that provides customized support to children in the city with special educational needs.

The auction received donations and funding from galleries, cultural foundations, private collectors, and artists across the Arab World, the assistance of which was acknowledged by the Ministry of Culture.

“This would not be possible without the generous support of both the donors and the talented artists,” said Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, deputy minister of culture, in his opening speech.

The ministry aspires to create and develop a cultural environment in which artists and other creatives can access a platform that celebrates a shared identity and builds understanding between people.

Speaking of the Ministry’s three main objectives in its cultural vision for 2019, Fayez said that it aims to support the nation’s cultural transformation by promoting culture as a way of life, enable the sector to contribute to the economy, and encourage international cultural exchanges.

Before the auction, the works on sale were on display to the public in an exhibition on June 23 and 24.