Saudi Arabia starts Mecca mosque expansion

By REUTERS
August 20, 2011 16:04

 
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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia has begun the biggest expansion yet of Islam's holiest site, the Grand Mosque in Mecca, to raise its capacity to 2 million pilgrims, the state news agency SPA said.

"King Abdullah inaugurated in Mecca (on Friday) the start of the expansion... which is the largest of all previous expansions combined," SPA said.

It did not say how much it will cost to add 400,000 square meters to the mosque's area or how long the project will take.

The Grand Mosque is the main attraction for over 6 million pilgrims who enter Mecca each year and is the focal point for a transformation is modernizing one of the oldest cities in the region with high-rise skyscrapers and residential blocks.

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