By Andy Sambidge
Shopping mall plans for holy city revealed, set to be completed by end of 2011.
A new shopping mall will be built in Makkah by the end of 2011 and will include its own skiing facility similar to Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates, it was reported on Sunday.
The yet-to-be-named mall will be located in the Al-Rusaifah district, about two kilometres from the Grand Mosque, Arab News reported.
The mall will have four floors., the first two of which will be for shops while the fourth floor, which will cater for children with rides and games, will include a ski centre.
Khalid Al-Harbi, CEO of Aqari Investment Holding which will market the new mall, told the paper that efforts would be made to bring in as many international stores as possible.
He added that the third floor would be a food court featuring well-known brands as Al-Baik, Al-Tazaj and McDonald’s.
Why on earth do we need a ski centre in Holy Makkah? Couldn't someone built cheaper decent accommodation for pilgrims. Saudis do a lot anyway for pilgrims can't complain, but a ski centre?????
This is very shameful. First they build such high towers in so close proximity to the Haram and now they are building a mall with skiing facility! Why can't they just build this mall in Riyadh or Jeddah or Dammam or any other city. They should let the people worship and not attract them to waste time in a mall. But alas .. it's the money that matters.
This crass commercialization is disgusting, deplorable and must be condemned to the fullest extent. Why can't they leave Makkah alone as a holy precinct and a spiritual center for Islam, where Muslims could concentrate on worshipping Allah? Shopping and skiing can be done anywhere in the world!
Saudi is a Vast Land, Y in Makkah. Makkah is not a tourist place to build this, its a spiritual place, the visitors concept will change, Let Allah erase this proposal in Makkah. Is Tajjal Born!! Ithakullah.
In my opinion it is extremely shameful to have a place like a mall with a Skiiing Facility so close and near to Haram. I think authorities concerened should reconsider about the location of this Mall
I find it very interesting that all these comments from people in the Middle East condemning this move by Saudi Arabia when elsewhere all these so-called "Western influences" have been completely embraced to lure tourists! I understand that the objection here is because Makkah is a place of pilgrimage but all over the Middle East the rulers have chosen to ignore their heritage of simple living, no harm to the environment and all the teachings of Islam to make money and become financial Centers rivaling London and New York. Isn't this just a bit hypocritcal?
As an expat living happily in Saudi Arabia I am inclined to agree with the comments that the Mall is ill-placed in Makkah due to it's religious importance. However, I would be more concerned with the outrageous cost of living and increased prices that pilgrims and visitors in general suffer during the Haj period etc. Tour/Pilgrimage operators, hotels and bus companies to name just a few have been getting rich off of the backs of pilgrims for years and there seems to be little if anything done about that. For the devout, visiting the two holy cities is not alone hugely important but for many a once in a life time event. Make that trip as enjoyable and affordable as possible, not alone will people be spiritually uplifted but the trip won't be tainted by those seeking to take advantage.
Have those in charge lost their minds? What a "Helal" Mc Donalds in Makkah! Would the Pope allow a Shawerma resaturant in Vatican City ? I don't think so.
If you look at the development around the holy sites it is not the most in keeping with the traditional location although I understand it as it allows more pilgrims to access the sites as per their religion. How a ski area supports this I dont know and I as a westerner deplore it as i do the development around St Pauls Cathedral in London. Crass, greedy developers need to be controlled and it just goes to show that even Makkah is not immune in this world to their tentacles