MAKKAH — The Head of the Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques 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 Press Agency reported.

Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais said that the Saudi portico that surrounds the Abbasid portico features a much wider area that the Grand Mosque has not seen before.

It consists of four floors, which are the ground floor, the first floor, the second floor mezzanine, and the roof. The Saudi portico and the mataf have the maximum capacity to accommodate 287,000 worshipers, and 107,000 performers of tawaf per hour.

The presidency chief said that the Saudi portico includes the expansion project of the mataf (circumambulation area around the Holy Kaaba) behind the Abbasid portico, and its surrounding courtyard of the Holy Kaaba.

“King Abdul Aziz, 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.

“The portico building’s expansion continued during the eras of King Saud, King Faisal, and King Khalid,” he said while noting that expansion of the project is in the phase of completion during the periods of King Fahd and King Abdullah and the present era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

He said that the Saudi portico provides wider spaces for pilgrims and worshipers in accordance with high-quality and accurate engineering standards.

“It is also distinguished by the availability of all technical services, as well as sound and lighting systems, which contribute to creating the much-needed spiritual ambience for the pilgrims,” he pointed out.

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