Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi developers unveil extensive plan for new city gates in Medina | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Worshipers visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)

Worshipers visit the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)

Worshipers visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)

Medina, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Arabia’s Medina Development Authority has unveiled new plans for the construction of gates at the three main roads leading into the city after launching a competition for the design.

The first of the gates will be located at Medina’s southern entrance, while the second will overlook the Medina-Qassim highway from the east. The third gate will be constructed at the Tabuk highway from the west with construction beginning at a later stage. The designs complement Medina’s traditional architecture, the Authority said, while also incorporating necessary service facilities for the arrival and departure of visitors and pilgrims’.

Medina is one of the most holiest sites in Islam and is the city where the Prophet Muhammad fled to in 622 CE (1 AH) from Mecca, establishing a community of faithful followers. The city, originally named Yathrib, was renamed Madinat Rasul Allah or The City of the Prophet of God by early Muslims, with it today simply being known as Medina or The City. Millions of Muslims from across the world travel to Medina each year to pray in the Prophet’s Mosque.

Dr. Talal Al-Radadi, chief of the Medina Development Authority, said that the project is aimed at constructing a unique architectural landmark to reflect the city’s historical and Islamic stature and architecture. He added that the design should also be aesthetically innovative and guide visitors to Medina.

Raddadi emphasized that the project would also serve as a recreational facility. He stressed the significance of the gates’ sustainability, adding “It is a comprehensive and aesthetic design that accommodates the network of cars and buses and emergency services, ensuring they are well synchronized. It also takes into consideration the different vehicles on major and minor roads, different destinations, checkpoints and parks.”

The project includes a mosque, shops, a supermarket, a restaurant, an information center, and different government services to operate the gate and will provide the necessary services to visitors, including bus stops and parking spaces for taxis and private cars. Landscaped parks and gardens, and various natural elements are also included in the design.