Last updated: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 1:06 AM
MADINAH — The demolition of over two-thirds of buildings surrounding the Prophet’s Mosque from the east have been completed for the mosque’s grand expansion ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
The demolition work started early July and has been continuing ever since. So far, 10 big buildings have been demolished, including the Awkaf building, the Al-Wiladah mosque and the Al-Ansar market.
Director of PR at the Presidency of the Affairs of the Prophet’s Mosque Abdul Wahid Al-Hattab said when the expansion is completed from all four corners, the mosque will raise its intake capacity to more than 1.6 million worshipers.
He noted that the demolition process did not impede the large number of visitors from entering the Prophet’s Mosque during the just-concluded month of Ramadan.
Meanwhile, director of the Haj Ministry in Madinah Mohammed Al-Neejawi revealed that since the start of the Umrah season in February, more than 5.2 million people visited the Prophet’s Mosque to pay homage to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and pray.
He said these visitors were accommodated in about 1,000 buildings containing more than 300,000 beds thanks to a grouping system that would not allow the arrival of newcomers before the visiting groups have left.
Al-Beejawi said under the new system, not more than 450,000 visitors would be allowed to stay in Madinah at the same time.