New Grand Mosque minarets ignite debate on Zamzam water sources
MAKKAH — The Saudi Binladin Group is constructing two 420-meter high minarets as part of the ongoing Grand Mosque expansion.
Construction of the new structures has raised concerns as consultancy studies have pointed out that work in the area could dry up Zamzam water sources.
The first minaret will be constructed on the northeast side, while the other will be located in the northwest side.
The structures will rise up to about half the height of the Makkah Clock Tower, the tallest concrete building in the world at 817 meters high and the second tallest tower in the world after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is 828 meters high.
The foundations for the new minarets can now be clearly seen and each covers 900 square meters.
However, no further details are available from Binladin Group, which has not yet published any reports or revealed any information about the two structures.
The two new structures will raise the number of minarets in the Grand Mosque to 15 after the completion of the expansion project.
A few months ago, photos of the expansion project showing these two minarets have spread among engineers and on social media and resulted in a discussion of the positive and negative effects of such structures.
Critics say they could have a negative effect on the sources of Zamzam water, especially as international consulting offices that conducted studies in cooperation with the Binladin Group have recommended not building in the location of the northeastern minaret.
The studies revealed that the construction of high-rise buildings and explosives used in removing mountains around the Grand Mosque can have a damaging affect on the sources of Zamzam water.