1,300-year-old mosque in Saudi Arabia's Al Baha to be renovated

Al Safa mosque was a social centre where villagers would assemble and discuss affairs

Al Safa is among 130 mosques of historical and religious significance throughout the kingdom to undergo renovation. Photo: SPA
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The ancient Al Safa mosque, built in Saudi Arabia 13 centuries ago, will be renovated in a project to safeguard the kingdom's heritage.

The move is a part of the second phase of the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Project for the Development of Historical Mosques launched in 2018. The project aims to refurbish 130 mosques of historical and religious significance throughout the kingdom.

Al Safa mosque in the Baljurashi Governorate in Al Baha region is one of the kingdom’s oldest mosques. The renovation will aim to preserve its unique Sarat style and its historical value while restoring its aesthetic elements and renewing its construction, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Al Saha was built with stones from the Sarawat Mountains and local wood was used in ceilings, columns, windows and doors.

The renovation will keep the mosque’s footprint and its capacity unchanged. Al Safa occupies an estimated area of 78 square meters and can accommodate 31 worshippers. It is said to be built by Sufyan Al Ghamdi.

The mosque was a prominent social hub where villagers would assemble between maghrib and isha prayers and discuss local affairs and resolve disputes.

The mosque is surrounded by buildings that are separated by narrow passages.

Two distinct columns of juniper trees support the mosque and they will be redeveloped under the project, in addition to preserving the inscriptions on them and those on the staircase unit.

During the first phase of the project, 30 mosques were renovated at a cost of about 50 million riyals ($13.3m).

The second phase covered 30 more historical mosques across the kingdom's 13 regions, including six mosques in Riyadh, five mosques in Makkah, four in Madinah, three in Asir, two in each in the eastern regions of Al Jouf and Jazan, and one mosque each in Tabuk, Al Baha, Najran, Hail and Al Qassim regions.

The renovation process is being carried out by Saudi companies specialising in renovating heritage buildings and engineers will pick through original features and seek to safeguard the cultural significance of each.

Updated: March 28, 2023, 7:25 AM