Robots help Makkah Grand Mosque’s round-the-clock cleanup

Saudi Arabia’s General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques ensures the Grand Mosque is sanitized multiple times during the day to ensure the safety of pilgrims. (Supplied)
Saudi Arabia’s General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques ensures the Grand Mosque is sanitized multiple times during the day to ensure the safety of pilgrims. (Supplied)
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Updated 27 April 2022

Robots help Makkah Grand Mosque’s round-the-clock cleanup

Saudi Arabia’s General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques ensures the Grand Mosque is sanitized multiple times d
  • ‘Smart’ operation is part of wide-ranging program to protect worshippers

MAKKAH: Saudi Arabia’s General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to clean and disinfect the Grand Mosque despite the Kingdom witnessing a steady decline in COVID-19 cases.

Mohammed Al-Jabri, under secretary-general for Agency of Services, Field Affairs and Environmental Protection, said that a range of preventive measures will ensure a healthy, safe environment for pilgrims to perform their rituals.

There is constant supervision of disinfection and sanitization operations, as well as transportation and other services provided at the gates of the Grand Mosque.

The mosque has 25,000 carpets, while around 4,000 male and female workers and 11 smart robots are employed to disinfect and sanitize the site around the clock.

Commenting on the cleaning machines, Al-Jabri said: “The agency uses more than 840 pieces of equipment and machines to purify and sanitize the Grand Mosque. It also follows up on environmental prevention and infection control operations by equipping several teams to sanitize all areas of the Grand Mosque, including outer courtyards, toilets, floors and carpets.”

He added: “There are 8,000 electric and ordinary golf carts to serve pilgrims, including 5,000 ordinary carts and nearly 3,000 electric carts, which are sanitized before and after use.”

To ensure a smooth and organized movement of pilgrims, the agency has assigned supervisors at each of the 150 doors of the Grand Mosque to receive worshippers, and guide them to prayer areas and different entry and exit points at the Haram.




11 smart robots are employed to disinfect and sanitize the site around the clock.

Security staff have also been stationed around the mosque to make sure that pilgrims are not disturbed by others indulging in prohibited activities, such as smoking, selling items or begging.  

Al-Jabri said: “The agency has equipped the area with all the necessary services, including Zamzam water containers, air conditioning, cupboards for copies of the Qur’an, sound system, lighting systems, carpets, toilets, in addition to operating many escalators that transport worshippers and the elderly to all available floors.

“The agency’s employees supervise the entry and exit of worshipers, ensure their safety, direct them to the spaces designated for performing prayers, and organize walkways and corridors, with the participation of the competent authorities, according to the plans prepared in advance to facilitate the movement of those heading to the northern expansion with ease.”

Al-Jabri said that the agency distributes more than 2 million bottles of Zamzam water daily and more than 25,000 Zamzam containers are functional  throughout the Grand Mosque, including 2,500 water stands in the northern expansion.

The agency also provides the funeral prayer area with sufficient amount of Zamzam water containers and supervises the distribution of Zamzam water bottles in the courtyard for pilgrims as well as ensuring that carts and containers are sanitized constantly.

More than 50 random samples are taken daily from different locations inside the Grand Mosque to ensure Zamzam water is safe for consumption.

The agency issued 2,000 permits to offer meals to worshippers inside the Grand Mosque and 70  for the mosque’s outer courtyards, Al-Jabri said.


Saudi Arabia announces vital developmental projects in Yemen

Saudi Arabia announces vital developmental projects in Yemen
Updated 30 June 2022

Saudi Arabia announces vital developmental projects in Yemen

Saudi Arabia announces vital developmental projects in Yemen
  • Initiatives include 17 development projects in 6 sectors, valued at $400 million
  • A further $200 million will provide oil derivatives to operate power stations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has announced a number of vital developmental projects in Yemen to bolster the economy, the Kingdom’s deputy defense minister said on Thursday.

“The initiatives include 17 development projects in 6 sectors, valued at $400 million, in addition to $200 million in oil derivatives for power stations,” Prince Khalid bin Salman tweeted.

The projects will be carried out by the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen and aim to help the Yemeni people.

Prince Khalid met with the President of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi and members of the council to convey the Kingdom’s support and appreciation for their efforts.

The deputy defense minister said Saudi Arabia is committed to alleviating the suffering in Yemen and achieving security, peace, stability, and economic development.


Saudi Heritage Commission launches partnership with Noon.com

Saudi Heritage Commission launches partnership with Noon.com
Updated 30 June 2022

Saudi Heritage Commission launches partnership with Noon.com

Saudi Heritage Commission launches partnership with Noon.com
  • Local artisans will be able access to a larger consumer audience through the Noon Mahali program

RIYADH: The Heritage Commission on Thursday signed a cooperation agreement with Noon, an online shopping platform, to empower local businesses in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

A ceremony was held at the Commission's headquarters to commemorate this partnership, which was attended by Heritage Commission CEO Dr. Jasir Suleiman Alherbish and General Manager of Noon KSA, Ahmed Abdel Qader Gadouri.

Under this agreement, Saudi artisans will be able to sell craft products and cultural heritage content online, gaining access to a larger audience through Noon's Mahali program.

The program also aims to assist local entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses improve their product quality.

Dr. Alherbish thanked Noon for its cooperation, emphasizing the significant benefits gained through the agreement.

He also made note of the Commission's numerous initiatives to develop the handicraft sector, such as training programs and providing a consumer audience through outlets, exhibitions, events, and festivals.

"Our collaboration with the Heritage Commission demonstrates our ongoing commitment to assisting entrepreneurs and small businesses. The Mahali program helps local talent grow their businesses by providing them with the tools and services they need to reach a larger segment of customers in the region." Gadouri said.

The Noon Mahali program exemplifies the company's founding goal of empowering local talent through the development of a strong e-commerce platform.

The agreement is part of the Heritage Commission's broader efforts to strengthen partnerships with the public and private sectors as part of the Kingdom's cultural sector development.


Saudi Arabia offers global forum a vision of a new urban future

Saudi Arabia offers global forum a vision of a new urban future
Updated 30 June 2022

Saudi Arabia offers global forum a vision of a new urban future

Saudi Arabia offers global forum a vision of a new urban future
  • The Kingdom’s Architecture and Design Commission took part in the recent forum with a display featuring the King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism
  • Among the charter’s aims is the creation of memorable buildings and spaces that integrate cultural and national identity

RIYADH: An exhibition outlining Saudi Arabia’s future urbanization strategy may inspire a new community-focused approach to architecture following its debut at the 11th World Urban Forum in Katowice, Poland.

The Kingdom’s Architecture and Design Commission took part in the recent forum with a display featuring the King Salman Charter for Architecture and Urbanism, launched late last year to help develop the sector as part of Vision 2030.

King Salman’s architectural vision, developed during his five decades as governor of Riyadh region, was highlighted in the exhibition, which also showcased exemplary projects in the Kingdom.

Among the charter’s aims is the creation of memorable buildings and spaces that integrate cultural and national identity, as well as contemporary designs that meet the needs of local communities.

The commission hopes to increase awareness of the charter, and inspire architects and designers worldwide in line with the forum’s theme “Transforming Our Cities for a Better Urban Future.”

A panel discussion on the charter brought together CEO of the Saudi Architecture and Design Commission Sumayah Al-Solaiman, founder of Dabbagh Architects Sumaya Dabbagh, and Arup Group’s director of master planning and urban design Daniel Ringelstein.

Al-Solaiman said: “Our participation at WUF 2022 opens new horizons for applying the charter and presents an excellent opportunity to introduce the international public to its methodology. By showcasing the ways in which the charter has already improved the built environment, we highlighted the range of circumstances in which the charter can be applied to improve quality of life not only in Saudi Arabia, but also further afield.”

This is the exhibition’s first international appearance after touring through five cities in Saudi Arabia: Riyadh, Abha, Jeddah, Dhahran and Madinah.

The World Urban Forum was established in 2001 by the UN to examine the growing global issue of rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies and climate change.


First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj

First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj
Updated 30 June 2022

First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj

First group of Omani pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia ahead of Hajj
  • The pilgrims’ entry procedures were completed with ease
  • Thursday marks the start of Dhu Al-Hijjah, the month during which Hajj is performed

RIYADH: The first group of Omani pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom through the Empty Quarter port ahead of Hajj, Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

Thursday marks the start of Dhu Al-Hijjah, the month during which Hajj is performed. The first day of Hajj, 8th of Dhu Al-Hijjah, will fall on July 7, and the pilgrimage will end on the 12th day of the month (July 11). Arafat Day falls on the 9th day of Dhu Al-Hijjah (July 8).

The pilgrims’ entry procedures were completed with ease, and the General Directorate of Passports is supporting sites designated to serve pilgrims with modern technical devices and qualified employees so that procedures are completed without delay, SPA said.


Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters

Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters
Updated 30 June 2022

Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters

Saudi Police arrest 15 Hajj fraudsters
  • Illegal online adverts included providing transportation to the holy sites securing sacrifices for pilgrims

RIYADH – Saudi authorities arrested 15 people in two separate operations for offering fraudulent Hajj-related services, state news agency (SPA) reported.

Makkah police arrested seven residents of different nationalities for promoting fake services on social media involving Hajj performed on behalf of others.

The illegal online adverts also included providing transportation to the holy sites and hotels, as well as securing and distributing sacrifices for pilgrims, according to the SPA statement.

In a separate operation, Riyadh police detained seven residents for offering fake transportation services for pilgrims to Makkah. Another resident was detained for running an unlicensed website in Riyadh to promote fraudulent Hajj campaigns.  

The fraudsters were detained and referred to public prosecution.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah earlier warned against suspicious sites and social media accounts offering unauthorized Hajj-related services, stressing that the ministry's online platforms are the only official channels to book Hajj campaigns inside the Kingdom.