Evacuating a large scale building: A Holy Mosque in Makkah as a case study

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Wael Alhalabi


Pedestrian and Evacuation Dynamics PED (2012)


The Holy Mosque that located in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, that been expanded over the time. Today it is about 366,168m2 and could accommodate more than half a million prayers. It’s a multilevel building. The Holy Mosque has more than one hundred gates which be used in peak time to give worshippers ability to reach the four floors of the buildings. Several activity been held inside the building, such as the five prayers that take place daily which need the worshippers to ingress and egress the building and go to practice their normal life when finished. In addition to that, Tawaf, Sai’ and some other rituals should be done and taking place inside this building. Annually and during the seasons of Ramadan and Hajj, the Holy Mosque reached its optimum capacity when worshippers present from all over the world to practice their rituals duties. The needed movement of those worshippers and the differences in background, ages, languages, …etc. need special treatments and plans.

In history, it had been recorded that the Holy Mosque need to be evacuated only in case of war, however, we have to prepare an evacuation plan for worshippers to prevent any harms during stampede and to keep them safe.
This paper will discuss the issue of evacuating the building in case of emergency, and whenever it’s needed and to provide assembly area for worshippers. It will go throw the history and bring to the reader attention all accidents that been occur and record in the Holy Mosque. In addition, it will apply some of the international COD to test its ability to be applied on such a building. In addition, it may provide some alternatives to provide a safe building that could accommodate worshippers and to practice their ritual in a safe and comfortable environment.