Construction work on Madinah hajj terminal starts next month

The terminal will include hotels and accommodation facilities, government buildings, a metro station and a 400-bed hospital

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Preparations are currently underway to set the stage for the construction of King Abdullah Haj Terminal in Madinah, which will start next month. The Ministry of Finance, which is financing the terminal, is currently making the soil analysis and other spade work for the commencement of construction.

Mohammed Al-Bijawi, director of the Haj Ministry's Madinah branch, said the terminal will be built on Hijrah Road on an area of 1.6 million sq. meters accommodating more than 200,000 pilgrims at a time.

"The terminal will be a quantitative leap reflecting the care and concern given by the Kingdom's leaders to the ease and comfort of the pilgrims and visitors," he said.

Al-Bijawi said under instructions from Madinah Emir Prince Faisal Bin Salman, coordination is currently being made with the municipality to receive a plot of land with an area of 340,000 sq. meters on the Hijrah Road to be made into a temporary terminal to receive the air, land and sea pilgrims.

"The temporary terminal will include buildings and facilities for all government and private establishments involved in the provision of services to the pilgrims and visitors," he said.

Meanwhile, Abdul Ghani Bin Hammad Al-Ansari, deputy chairman of the municipal council, said the project comes at a time when hotels in the central area around the Prophet's Mosque have become unable to accommodate the growing number of visitors. "The terminal will provide more than 3,000 new work opportunities," he added.

He said the terminal will include hotels and accommodation facilities, government buildings, a metro station and a 400-bed hospital.

Al-Ansari said the terminal will substitute the existing Haj reception hall, which was opened about three years ago on an area of 15,000 sq. meters with a covered area of 2,700 sq. meters.

On the other hand, Abdul Wahid Hattab, director of the department of information and public relations of the Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, said the expansion of the Prophet's Mosque will not affect its intake capacity, especially during Ramadan and school summer vacation. "The plazas of the mosque from all the four sides will remain open for the visitors," he said.

Hattab said the Prophet's Mosque has geared up to receive the growing number of visitors during Ramadan and added that more than 3,200 male and female workers have been employed to clean the mosque. "There will also be more than 2,000 employees from the presidency to look after the visitors providing them with consummate services," he added.

Hattab said the mosque has been supplied with more than 2,500 tanks containing Zamzam water. "The mosque's 100 doors will remain open and all the elevators and the electric escalators will be operational 24/7," he said.

He said the air-conditioning will cover an area of 10,000 sq. meters inside the mosque in addition to 426 fans sprinkling water to cool down the temperature in the plazas, which cover an area of 36,500 sq. meters.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 28, 2014.