ThePlace: Grand Mosque in Makkah

Updated 16 June 2018

ThePlace: Grand Mosque in Makkah

  • It is home to the Holy Kaaba, which is the “Qibla,” toward which all Muslims face when praying
  • In the year 692, the mosque underwent its first extensive renovation

Worshippers flocked to Eid Al-Fitr prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah early on Friday morning. More than two million people gathered to attend the last night of the Qur’an recitation during the holy month of Ramadan. The Grand Mosque, also called Al-Haram Mosque, or the Sacred Mosque, is the largest in the world and is located in the heart of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It is home to the Holy Kaaba, which is the “Qibla,” toward which all Muslims face when praying. An estimated 900,000 worshippers visit the mosque each day, with that number rising to 4 million during the Hajj season. The late King Abdullah initiated a major extension project in 2007 to raise the mosque’s capacity to two million. Long before that, in the year 692, the mosque underwent its first extensive renovation. Previously, the Grand Mosque was made up of an open space with the Kaaba at its center, but Abd AlMalik ibn Marwan, the fifth Umayyad caliph, asked for the mosque’s columns to be switched from wood to marble. Additionally, he ordered the addition of a minaret. The second major reconstruction of the mosque happened in 1570, during the Ottoman era, when calligraphy-inscribed domes were added, along with additional columns — still stand-out features of the mosque today. The Grand Mosque is also home to the Well of Zamzam, which Muslims have used since Prophet Ibrahim’s era, and still supplies many Muslims and pilgrims with water. The site also includes other important areas such as the Black Stone, the Station of Ibrahim, and the hills of Safa and Marwa.


King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals hold annual meeting with King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy

Updated 6 min 56 sec ago

King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals hold annual meeting with King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy

King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) and King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) recently organized the annual review of their cooperation program, which aims to enhance the quality of science, technology, education and industrial development in the Kingdom, in the presence of Dr. Khalid Al-Sultan, president of K.A.CARE, and Dr. Sahl Abdul Jawad, president of KFUPM.

The meeting, which was held in Dhahran Technology and Innovation Center and attended by a number of researchers, faculty members and graduate students, reviewed the research projects carried out by the University research teams in several specializations and discussed ways of developing cooperation and research work between the two sides in the coming years. The cooperation between the University and the City during the first year resulted in the inclusion of 15 professors in the research fellowship program, 18 graduate students in the program of funding graduate students, 7 researchers in the postdoctoral fellowship program, registration of 20 patents and publication of 49 research papers.

Dr. Abdul Jawad said that the cooperation started from the early stages of the development of the City with the formation of a team in the field of renewable energy and a team of atomic energy, and the preparation of a proposal for the framework of cooperation with the City, and that the results of the agreement between the University and the City appeared through the productivity and quality of research work and technology development, which included the publication of research papers and registration of patents, noting that what has been achieved during the first year of cooperation is a major achievement, stressing the strengthening of joint cooperation and a great focus on solar energy research to achieve Vision 2030 and enhance the University's orientation to be a research-intensive university that has a direct impact on the development of the economy through the localization of technologies.

He pointed out that the University, in view of the quality of its researchers and the expertise of faculty members, has the necessary capabilities that qualify it to be a research leader in the field of renewable energy and the development of technologies that will have an impact at the national and international levels, noting that the University has research cooperation with the University of Tokyo, mainly in solar energy because the solar cells developed at the University of Tokyo are the best in the world. The ambition of the Kingdom is to make renewable and atomic energy the main sources of energy in the country.

For his part, Dr. Al-Sultan thanked the researchers for their efforts, hoping for the continuity of research work and cooperation between the City and the University, and that the focus would be more on renewable energy, stressing the importance of supporting researchers and graduate students and the role of research work in the localization of technology, and the importance of cooperation between research teams and ways to strengthen the program in the next 5 years.

He pointed out that the City is investing in plans and projects related to renewable energy to achieve Vision 2030 so that the Kingdom depends on renewable and atomic energy in the production of 50% of its energy consumption by 2030, and that the produced clean energy would be an important source in the economy of the Kingdom, noting the importance of a strong research base to achieve these goals. He also pointed out that the City is looking forward to a long-term research partnership with the University in the coming years by increasing the number of faculty and students in funded programs, increasing participation in research and workshops and focusing more on the specialization that serves the vision and objectives of the Kingdom.

Dr. Fahd Al-Ismail, Director of Cooperation with K.A.CARE at KFUPM, said that the meeting is an important step to promote long and fruitful cooperation between the University and the City. He pointed out that the two sides look forward to serving as a model for cooperation between academic institutions and community sectors in areas of common interest to help achieve Vision 2030 by promoting reliance on renewable energy.

Al-Ismail said that the aim of presenting the research during the review is to inform the partners in the City of the research output achieved by the Technology Innovation Center supported by the City, and the presentation of different research such as renewable energy linkage and integration in the network, the field of materials science, the field of integrated systems, and other areas related to renewable energy. He pointed out that cooperation between the University and the City will continue to support various research activities. There are various programs to support researchers, graduate students and Ph.D. holders, and cooperation in the field of geothermal energy and energy storage, as well as matters relating to patents and patent management.