RIYADH: A seventh-century mosque in Saudi Arabia's Al-Baha region is set to undergo a comprehensive renovation process, Saudi Press Agency has reported.
Built in the 670s, the Al-Safa historical mosque will be repaired under the second phase of the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project for the Development of Historical Mosques.
The renovation project will ensure preservation of the mosque’s unique Sarat style and its historical value while restoring its aesthetic elements and renewing its construction with natural materials including stone from the Sarawat Mountains and local wood used in ceilings, columns, windows, and doors.
Located in the Baljurashi Governorate, the renovation process will keep unchanged the mosque’s footprint and its capacity.
The mosque’s current area is 78 square meters, and can accommodate 31 worshippers. The restoration will be executed as per a set of methods that preserve the mosque’s historical and design values.
The mosque is surrounded by adjacent buildings separated by narrow passages in the village in the high mountains, where there are many forms of construction, including stone buildings characterized by narrow openings.
Al-Safa Mosque is supported by two distinct columns of juniper trees, which the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project will redevelop, in addition to preserving the inscriptions on the mosque's columns and developing them with inscriptions of the staircase unit, in a step that will also revive the ancient architectural traditions of the Al-Baha region and highlight its ancient historical heritage.
It is said that the first person to build the Al-Safa Mosque was Sufyan bin Auf Al-Ghamdi, and at the time, the mosque had a prominent social role, as it was considered a place for villagers to assemble and discuss their affairs and resolve their disputes between the Maghrib and Isha prayers.
The second phase of the project has covered 30 historic mosques across the Kingdom's 13 regions, including six mosques in Riyadh, five mosques in Makkah, four mosques in Madinah, three in Asir, two in each of the Eastern Region, Al-Jauf, and Jazan, and one mosque in each of the Northern Borders Region, Tabuk, Al-Baha, Najran, Hail, and Al-Qassim.
The project aims to achieve a balance between ancient and modern construction standards in a way that gives the components of mosques an appropriate degree of sustainability and integrates the effects of development with a set of heritage and historical characteristics.
The renovation process is being carried out by Saudi companies specialized in heritage buildings, with an emphasis on involving Saudi engineers to ensure the preservation of the authentic urban identity of each mosque since its establishment.
The Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project for the Development of Historical Mosques serves four strategic objectives: restoration of historical mosques for worship and prayer, restoration of the urban authenticity of historical mosques, highlighting the cultural dimension of Saudi Arabia, and enhancing the religious and cultural status of historical mosques.
The project also contributes to highlighting the cultural and civilizational extent of the Kingdom as one of the pillars of the Saudi Vision 2030 by preserving authentic urban characteristics and utilizing them to contribute to the development of modern mosque designs.