Restoring Kingdom’s oldest mosques to connect past and future

Restoring Kingdom’s oldest mosques to connect past and future
Restoring Kingdom’s oldest mosques to connect past and future

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Two of the oldest mosques in Jeddah and Baha, Al-Khidr Mosque and Al-Safa Mosque, will be renovated under the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project for Developing Historical Mosques. 

As part of the project’s second phase, Jeddah’s Al-Khidr Mosque will be restored as an architectural masterpiece while increasing its size by an additional 355 square meters, with updates to accommodate modern architectural developments. 

For over 700 years, Al-Khidr Mosque has been an integral part of Al-Balad historic district, and is considered one of the 30 most important historic mosques across Saudi Arabia. 

Built 1,350 years ago, Baha's Al-Safa Mosque will be restored with natural materials from the stones of the Sarawat Mountains. 

Saleh Al-Mosned, a researcher in heritage and history for over 50 years, says preserving historical monuments is important because it connects the present to the past. 

“It is important to preserve an ancient era — preserve it for us, and for future generations to show how the design of Islamic architecture was in the past, and what materials were used during that era, whether the buildings were mosques, corners, or libraries. 

“Our ancient ancestors, teachers and builders, were natural-born architects,” he added. 

Al-Mosned visited the renovated Al-Shafi’i Mosque and Al-Mimar Mosque in Jeddah, and said that the restoration of mosques attracted tourists curious to explore the Kingdom and its architecture. 

“The renovations were with the same primary raw materials with which the two mosques were built, from carved stone, wooden crowns, ceilings made of wood, and the windows and the old inscriptions and decoration,” said Al-Mosned. 

“Mosques are one of the main reasons for bringing tourists to the city — to see the art and design of Islamic architecture and buildings that we have (from) centuries ago,” he added. 

The Prince Mohammed bin Salman Project for the Development of Historical Mosques serves four objectives that fall in line with Vision 2030: enhancing the religious and cultural status of mosques, restoring historic mosques for worship and prayer, preserving the original features of historic mosques, and highlighting Saudi Arabia’s rich culture.

The project launched in 2018 and has an extensive restoration program for 130 mosques in 13 regions across the Kingdom.

The first phase of the project concluded successfully, with 30 mosques restored and updated in just over a year at a cost of more than SR50 million ($13.3 million).

By the end of phase two, launched in July 2022, 30 more mosques will be restored: six in the Riyadh region, five in the Makkah region, four in the Madinah region, three in the Asir region, two in the Eastern Province, two in Al-Jouf, two in Jazan, one in the Northern Borders region, one in Tabuk, one in Baha, one in Najran, one in Hail, and one in Qassim.

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