Middle East

How the award-winning Jamarat Bridge provides relief to pilgrims during major Mecca pilgrimage rituals

Jeddah: The Jamarat Bridge Project is a huge structure built to save the lives of pilgrims and promote important Mecca pilgrimage rituals.

Pilgrims gather here and throw stones at the devil in a symbolic act as part of the Mecca pilgrimage. Without this act, their pilgrimage would be incomplete and unacceptable.

The concept of stone-striking the devil began when the Prophet Ibrahim intended to sacrifice his son Ismael at the command of Allah. The devil tried to discourage the Prophet from executing his orders three times.

On each of the three occasions, the Prophet threw seven small pebbles at the devil to drive him away, and then the devil disappeared. This act is a symbolic ritual and an integral part of the Mecca pilgrimage.

It will take a few days from the 10th day of Zoo Le Hija to before sunset on the 13th.

The three pillars were previously made of stone and mud, and the surrounding barriers are low. After that, they were covered with cement and the size of the pillars remained unchanged for years.

Muslim pilgrims take part in the devil’s iconic stone throwing at the Jamarat Bridge in Mina. This is the last major ritual of the Mecca pilgrimage. (AFP / file photo)

However, as the number of pilgrims increased, a project was needed to manage the hundreds of thousands of worshipers gathered in one place.

According to Mohammed Idris, a former vice-department manager of the two sacred mosque laboratories of Hajj and Umrah Institute, the three pillars were surrounded by a circular wall until 1975.

“A significant expansion of the region took place in 1987, followed by other expansions to facilitate the movement of pilgrims and improve the Jamarat region’s ability to avoid accidents. The exits and entrances to 1987 have been modified to straighten the curved road to Jamarat, “he told Arab News.

The Jamarat Bridge was originally a pedestrian building built in 1963 to facilitate stoning rituals. Since then, it has been expanded several times to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims.

A major expansion of the bridge was made in 1974, followed by other expansions to facilitate the movement of pilgrims and improve the bridge’s capabilities to avoid accidents.

Nevertheless, the structure witnessed several fatal incidents due to the actions of pilgrims who violated the instructions, thereby causing stampede and death.


Structural changes to Jamarat Bidge were made to ensure safety after some tragedy. (AFP)

In 1990, trampling and suffocation killed more than 1,400 pilgrims in the Almaaisim pedestrian tunnel leading from Macca to Mina. Between 1994 and 2006, more than 1,030 pilgrims were killed in stampede while attempting to stone a pillar. About 470 people were injured.

The worst stoning-related incident in recent memory was when pilgrims surged towards the intersection of street 204 and street 223, killing more than 700 pilgrims and injuring another 800 in September 2015. It occurred on the 25th of March.

At that time, a doctor in the emergency department at Mina Hospital told Arab News that most of the pilgrims were suffocated.

A Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry spokesman blamed the fact that, in addition to the “unprecedented number of pilgrims” compared to the previous year, the majority of the victims went down the path at times when they were not admitted.

Tragedy witnesses confirmed that a large group of Iranian pilgrims had passed Souq Al-Arab Street and refused to return, ignoring Mecca’s pilgrimage guidelines.

fastfact

• Stampede and surge killed thousands of people on the Jamarat Bridge before the infrastructure was upgraded.

• The cost of the project to alleviate overcrowding and avoid tragedy was $ 1.12 billion.

Regardless of the cause of the tragedy, they urged the Saudi government to devise a life-saving solution. After the 2015 incident, King Salman of Saudi Arabia expressed his condolences and immediately ordered an urgent review of the Mecca pilgrimage program.

For over four years, Saudi authorities have investigated and investigated the site before the old structure was completely removed and replaced by an existing engineering wonder known as the Jamarat Bridge.

The details of the new project have been approved by a leading engineering and construction committee consisting of local experts and experienced US, German and UK engineers. The views of senior Islamic scholars were taken into account regarding the religious position regarding the details of the project.

“In 2005, the circular wall around the pillar was reshaped and the pillar was oval to facilitate the movement of pilgrims,” ​​Idris told Arab News.

“In 2007 the old Jamarat project was abandoned and work on a new project began. A year later, the first floor of Project Street was completely constructed. In 2009, the second floor served pilgrims. By 2010, the entire planned construction was fully completed. “


A major expansion of the bridge was made in 1974, followed by other expansions to facilitate the movement of pilgrims and improve the bridge’s capabilities to avoid accidents. (AFP / file photo)

Built in three years by more than 11,000 workers, the bridge is 950 meters long, has 6 floors including the basement, and is 12 meters high. Each floor can absorb up to 120,000 pilgrims per hour.

The foundation was built to withstand the 12th floor to accommodate 5 million pilgrims by 2030.

On the 5th floor, an umbrella covers the three Jamarat grounds, increasing the comfort of pilgrims and protecting them from the sun and heat.

Several local and global award-winning Mecca pilgrimage infrastructure exhibits were built at a cost of over 4.2 billion SR ($ 1.12 billion).

12 entrances, 12 exit roads from 4 directions, 2 tunnels, 19 ramps, escalators, emergency exits, helipads, 6 service buildings, and sprinklers to cool the atmosphere and cool the area to 29 degrees. There is an air conditioning system equipped with. Celsius.


The 2020 Mecca pilgrimage was the smallest in modern times, in contrast to the normally large crowds of the previous year. (AFP / file photo)

The building also includes three power plants and a standby generator that automatically powers in the event of a temporary power outage.

Unlike the old circular wall around the three pillars, the new oval design has improved the flow of pilgrims. It also helped increase the capacity of the bridge for the number of pilgrims.

The new bridge was designed by Dar Al Handasa and built by the Saudi Binladin Group. Large, pillar-free interior space, long Jamarat pillars, additional ramps and tunnels for easy access, a large canopy covering each of the three pillars to protect pilgrims from the sun, and slopes adjacent to the pillars. It features a road. Emergency event.

No casualties have been reported on the Jamarat site in 6 years. However, both Saudi Arabia’s Mecca pilgrimage and health authorities are prepared for any scenario. This year, 17 emergency centers will be set up on the Jamarat Bridge to help pilgrims face emergencies from crowds and falls to illness that they may face on their Mecca pilgrimage journey.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2119591/saudi-arabia How the award-winning Jamarat Bridge provides relief to pilgrims during major Mecca pilgrimage rituals

Back to top button