As we draw towards the End of 2015, from an aerial view above the Grand Mosque we can see the expansion taking its shape. The Expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah was Initiated by the Late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. It was the largest ever expansion witnessed by the Mosque since its Opening by Prophet Ibrahim (AS)
Expansion of the Mataaf
The Expansion of the Mosque Began in late 2012 after the end of Hajj of the year. The main plan was to increase the area of Mataaf to facilitate the Pilgrims during the peak times of the year in the month of Ramadan and during Hajj. Many people used to die while Performing Tawaaf. The area of the Mataaf when completed can accommodate about 144000 pilgrims per hour a 40% increase compared to before. A temporary Mataaf Floor has been also made in the Mataaf area to ease the Tawaaf of the disabled Pilgrims. After the Expansion will be complete the Temporary Mataaf Bridge will be removed
New King Abdullah Expansion
Other than the expansion of Mataaf Area, the Late King of Saudi Arabia King Abdullah also made a Plan to open up a new extension of Masjid Al Haram under his Name which will increase the total Capacity of the Mosque to around 2.5 million. This will enable more pilgrims to easily stay under the roof of the Mosque. Currently 80 percent of the work on the expansion has been completed.
Other Than the expansion of Masjid Al Haram, the General Presidency of the Affairs of the Haramain is also ensuring that many more Hotels and accommodation for the pilgrims are being constructed because after the expansion is completed, the quota of pilgrims travelling for Umrah and Hajj will significantly increase and during those times hotels and accommodation are quite hard to find.
The Government of Saudi Arabia is also taking steps to improve the transportation network in the city, as many Hotels are as far as 5 km away from the Grand Mosque and is sometimes very difficult for the Pilgrims to travel on foot. Hence a Metro Bus plan is expected to start in Ramadan 2016 which provide transportation of Pilgrims from and to the Grand Mosque. Additionally to ease the travel time between Jeddah (King Abdulaziz International Airport, were pilgrims arrive) and from the city of Madinah, the Government of Saudi Arabia has constructed a Metro Line between the City of Madinah, Rabigh, Jeddah and Makkah which will decrease the time spend on travelling between the cities. The Haramain Metro Rail is expected to start in the early Quarter of 2016