Saudi Gazette – The Shuaibain region of Mina has been selected to construct, on an experimental basis, multistory buildings to accommodate more pilgrims in the tent valley, where they stay at least four days during the peak Haj season, said Makkah Mayor Osama Al-Bar.
“The authority for the development of Makkah and the holy sites is deeply concerned with Mina expansion and there is a plan to construct more multistory buildings in the eastern and western parts of the Shuaibain region,” Al-Bar told Makkah newspaper.
He said proposals have been made by the authority and the Ministry of Interior on Mina expansion but none of them has been finalized.
“A team of experts will study the proposals and approve the best one to increase Mina’s capacity to hold more Hajis,” he added.
According to a previous statement made by Dr. Habeeb Zainul Al-Abideen, deputy minister of municipal and rural affairs and supervisor of development projects in the holy sites, a detailed study on Mina expansion has been presented to higher authorities for approval.
He stressed the need to construct more multistory buildings in the Mina valley, which is surrounded by mountains with a height of 2,578 meters in the north and 2,850 meters in the south.
He said construction of high-rise buildings on mountains would help increase Mina’s capacity from two million to three million pilgrims.
The government has already constructed six buildings, each with 15 floors on an experimental basis.
The buildings are constructed on pillars to meet Shariah conditions, and are provided with restaurants and prayer places. They are linked with the Jamrat Bridge and with Arafat through King Fahd Road.
“The tower building project was a big success as it helped accommodate a large number of pilgrims during the past Haj seasons,” Zainul Al-Abideen said.
The Haj Research Institute at Umm Al-Qura University, in coordination with the authority for development of Makkah and holy sites, conducted an assessment and found that most pilgrims have supported the idea of constructing multistory buildings on mountains in Mina.