Saudi Arabia names Grand Mosque expansion project ‘Saudi Portico’

Saudi Arabia said Sunday that it has decided to name an expansion project at the Grand Mosque in Mecca “Saudi Portico,” according to local media.

“The Head of the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, announced on Sunday that the higher Saudi authorities have issued approval to name the Mataf Expansion Building Project at the Grand Mosque as ‘Saudi Portico,’” the Saudi Gazette reported.

The building consists of four floors and has the capacity to accommodate 287,000 worshipers and 107,000 performers of tawaf (circumambulation of the Holy Kaaba) per hour.

“King Abdul Aziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, ordered the expansion of the Grand Mosque to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims, and accordingly, the expansion work began during the period of King Saud in 1955,” according to the Saudi Gazette.

Al-Sudais said “the Saudi Portico, which surrounds the Abbasid Portico, features a much wider area that the Grand Mosque has not seen before.”

“The Saudi Portico provides wider spaces for pilgrims and worshipers in accordance with high-quality and accurate engineering standards,” he added.

Saudi Arabia expects to host more than two million pilgrims this year for the Hajj, according to official figures.

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and is a pilgrimage that every adult Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime if they have the means.