Hajj: Saudi revamp path to Hira Cave for safety, accessibility


Transformative Hira project includes paving, lighting, easier routes for pilgrims, vehicles

MAKKAH: The first phase of the Hira Cave pathway revamp has been unveiled in Makkah, which includes improved access for pedestrians and vehicles.

Representatives from the Hira Cultural District in Makkah announced the initial phase of the transformative project recently.

The Cave of Hira is a religious site where the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed, and is of considerable importance for Muslims.

The project aligns with the broader vision of Saudi Vision 2030, focusing on providing a profound and educational experience for Umrah and Haj pilgrims, and visitors.

The paved ascent to the cave, starting in the foothills of Mount Hira, offers a departure from the traditional arduous path because it ensures a gradual and visually engaging experience.

Fawaz Al-Mehrij, CEO of Samaya Investment Co., the developer and operator of the Hira Cultural District, said that further development would follow.

Al-Mehrij said the new, enhanced features include illuminated pathways, surveillance cameras and a guidance center, all without disrupting access to the old path.

For safety, barriers have been positioned along the shoulder of the road. The new path consists of a section for vehicles transporting visitors to a designated point. Another section allows walking access to the Cave of Hira in 15 minutes. There is another longer, paved path for walkers, which takes 40 minutes.

Al-Mehrij underlined the safety shortcomings of the old path with its wearisome stairs. The ongoing project enhances accessibility and includes service kiosks catering to diverse visitor needs during their ascent, he added.

Though the road is not yet complete, its progress aligns with the planned schedule. Subsequent stages in the coming months are expected to bring the entire project to fruition, he said.

Al-Mehrij said trial runs have indicated the new path would provide safety and comfort for visitors. And that there were also emergency vehicles stationed along the way to help people who require healthcare.

The Hira Cultural District features museums and exhibitions in multiple languages. It is supervised by the Royal Commission for the Holy City of Makkah and the Holy Sites.