The Agency for Projects and Engineering at the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque has issued licenses for the remaining works of the third Saudi expansion of the Grand Mosque, Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

According to SPA, the area of the third expansion includes the Masaa expansion, which has already been opened, and a range of flyovers, stairs, tunnels, security buildings, stations, bridges, power infrastructure and a hospital.

The Grand Mosque of Mecca, known as al-Masjid al-Haram in Arabic, surrounds the Kaaba in Mecca and is the site of the Hajj pilgrimage that all Muslims should complete once in their lifetime. It is the largest mosque in the world and has been expanded twice, between 1955-1973 and again between 1982-1988.

Saudi Arabia announced a third expansion of the mosque in 2008, allocating 40 billion riyals ($10.6 billion) for the project.

kaaba, holy place of worship for all Muslims in the world
Kaaba, Central point of worship for all the Muslims in the world, representing oneness and unity of Muslims in term of worship.

Authorities closed the areas covered by the third expansion on March 25 to help contain the spread of the virus, following a range of measures aimed at sterilizing the mosque and making it safe for pilgrims in the future.

Automated door sterilization for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

Earlier this month, General Presidency of the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque launched self-sterilization gates at the entrance of the Grand Mosque.

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This article originally appeared in Saudi Gazzette and AlArabiya