“Haram Mosque” refers to the mosques in Makkah and Madinah. The Saudi government has embarked on a major project that seeks to expand the area of the Haram Mosque in Makkah to accommodate millions more pilgrims. This project has been in works for the past few years and the design of the new mosque is a few steps closer to being finalized.
The Masjid al-Haram, or the Great Mosque of Makkah, is the holiest site in Islam, located in the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The mosque has been the subject of numerous expansions throughout its history to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims who visit it each year for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
The most recent expansions involve substantial architectural and infrastructural enhancements aimed at increasing the mosque’s capacity, improving facilities, and ensuring a safer and more comfortable experience for the worshippers. These include the enlargement of prayer spaces, the construction of additional minarets and gates, the installation of modern amenities, and improvements in access routes and transportation systems.
The new project is envisioned to complete in the next couple of years, with interim milestones that will be achieved from now until then.
According to “The Architect’s Journal“, Norman Foster (British architect) and Zaha Hadid (Iraqi architect) have been assigned to work on finalizing the architecture of the new mosque.
The new design of the mosque allows the Makkah Mosque to hold more than 3 million Muslim worshipers at a time.
The new design of the mosque will house other facilities around the area that include conference halls, residential buildings, command centers to control the flow of traffic, security and other services. The new infrastructure will continue to seek improvements over the current infrastructure by eventually making it extremely easy for pilgrims to get in and out of the Haram Mosque compound with fewer difficulties.
The picture above shows the newly proposed design. As can be seen, the multi-storey buildings are part of the new design.
New Expansion Project on Masjid Al Haram – Makkah Al-Mukarramah
Photo by Haydan As-soendawy
About the Clock Tower in Makkah
The Abraj Al-Bait Endowment, or the Clock Tower as it’s more commonly known, is a remarkable and highly recognizable structure that forms part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project, located just a few steps away from the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. Standing at a staggering height of approximately 601 meters (1,972 feet), the Clock Tower holds the title of being the third tallest building and the tallest clock tower in the world.
The clock face itself, prominently displayed on each of the tower’s four sides, is among the largest in the world, and it’s illuminated in the evening, making it visible from miles away. The Tower houses a shopping mall, numerous luxurious hotels and residences, and the Clock Tower Museum, which occupies the top four floors of the tower and offers an engaging journey through the history of timekeeping and the development of clocks.
While the Clock Tower adds a modern architectural element to the city’s skyline, it also serves a practical purpose by helping pilgrims keep track of prayer times, a critical aspect of Islamic religious observances. It stands as an emblem of the blend of deep-rooted Islamic tradition and modern architectural innovation in Mecca.
Al Haram Mosque pictures (approx 100 years ago) – Makkah Al-Mukarramah
As we can see, these ambitious expansion projects have significantly transformed the landscape of the Masjid al-Haram, reflecting both its historical significance and its future-facing vision. The Saudi government, recognizing the mosque’s role as a global center for Islamic worship, has prioritized creating a balance between maintaining the site’s sacredness and cultural heritage, while integrating advanced technologies and architectural innovation.
Key to these expansions are considerations for environmental sustainability, crowd management, and accessibility. These enhancements have not only greatly increased the mosque’s capacity to accommodate millions more worshippers, but have also aimed to significantly improve the overall experience for the millions of international pilgrims who travel to Mecca each year, reinforcing the mosque’s standing as a symbol of unity, peace, and spiritual renewal in the Islamic world.