Work on mataf expansion begins

Updated 17 November 2012
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Work on mataf expansion begins

MAKKAH: Preliminary work for the expansion of the mataf (the circumambulation area around the Kaaba) started yesterday with the installation of huge cranes at the northeastern courtyard of the Grand Mosque. The contractor undertaking the expansion has sought the evacuation of preachers’ offices in the mataf and the command office of the Haram Security forces close to Al-Safa Gate.
The expansion is being undertaken on the basis of a study prepared by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Haj and Umrah Studies.
The study focuses on using the available space and potential of the mataf to the maximum while maintaining the architectural features of the Grand Mosque using advanced technology.
According to the study, the mataf will be separated from prayer areas and it will be linked to different floors of the mosque and facilitate entrance to and exit from the mataf. It will also takes care of the crowding at the entrances to the mataf and nearby passages and will also give direct access from the mataf to the masaa.
The mataf on the second and third floors will have cable cars to carry aged and disabled pilgrims and there will be direct access to these floors from outside. The topmost floor of the mataf will have automated walkway revolving around the Kaaba.
The study said the original mataf is a circle with a diameter of 95 meters.
Currently the capacity of the mataf is 28,000 pilgrims in an hour or four persons in a square meter area, though at peak days it rises to 40,000 people or six people in a square meter in an hour.

Muhammad Idris, who prepared the study, said the first Saudi expansion of the facility was undertaken 60 years ago and then roof was not made for prayers.
He said factors such as the change in the level of ground water and impact of salt on the foundation and the shaking caused by the rock blasts for the nearby projects are affecting the mosque building’s strength.
The study said many efforts have been made to strengthen the pillars of the building. The new project will also take steps to make the building tremor proof.
Authorities have made it clear that the new works will not affect the upcoming Umrah season.


Riyadh Eid festivities draw more than 1.5 million visitors

Updated 19 June 2018
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Riyadh Eid festivities draw more than 1.5 million visitors

  • The diversity of events the municipality provided this year offered plenty of choice to the capital’s residents and visitors.
  • The garden of King Fahd Library which received visitors over the three days of Eid witnessed interactive and entertainment shows.

JEDDAH: Riyadh municipality Eid Al-Fitr activities attracted more than 1.5 million visitors, residents and citizens over the three-day holiday.
The diversity of events the municipality provided this year offered plenty of choice to the capital’s residents and visitors.
The municipality hosted 200 functions in 30 different locations across the city. It distributed thousands of presents, balloons and candy to children to encourage them to attend Eid prayers and to bring joy to their hearts.
Riyadh’s Eid festivities in Qasr AL-Hokm included the Saudi traditional folk-dance show, activities and competitions for children, as well as folk arts and poetry shows.
The garden of King Fahd Library which received visitors over the three days of Eid witnessed interactive and entertainment shows, as well as artistic activities and sports competitions.
Riyadh municipality organized five theater shows for men and women, including two for men: Shekka Wa Noss, and Tersam Al-Wahch; two plays for women: Banat Al-Social and Umm Suwaileh Al-Sawaqa, and an open play, Al-Qarya Al-Maghdoura.
Riyadh municipality also organized three theater shows for the blind and deaf.
“Al-Qarya Al-Maghdoura” (The Betrayed Village), the first open-theater show in the Kingdom, was held in the showroom of Al-Jazeera neighborhood. It was written, directed and played by Saudis.
The municipality allocated several events and locations for the participation of humanitarian organizations by receiving them and setting private seats for them, in coordination with the Saudi Association for Deaf.
It also organized a special program to entertain women and children over the three days of Eid. The events for women included plays, free drawing and coloring sessions, artifacts and competitions.
Carnival marches were launched in the north and west of Riyadh, by 300 cartoon characters and featured the participation of touring folk groups, along with a solidarity march with soldiers, as well as classic car shows.
The capital’s residents and visitors enjoyed fireworks that lasted 10 minutes and colored the sky of Riyadh at King Fahd International Stadium, a location near King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) and a location near Wadi Leban Bridge in west Riyadh.