Reference work documents design history of Prophet’s Holy Mosque

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Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman launched the first edition of the Prophet’s Holy Mosque Architecture encyclopedia, which documents the architectural development at the pilgrimage site from the time of the Prophet until the Saudi era.

It includes an extensive scientific study of the mosque’s properties and architectural details. Prince Faisal said that the publication reflects the Saudi leadership’s interest in the Prophet’s Mosque and the documentation of its architectural details.

He said that the encyclopedia is part of Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah Studies and Research Center’s attempts to develop an architectural reference documenting the mosque’s features and architectural developments since its construction. The encyclopedia also highlights the Saudi state’s efforts to care for the mosque’s architecture, expansion, repair and restoration, as well as the aesthetic aspects of Islamic architectural arts.

Work on the encyclopedia began with laser scanning to document all two-dimensional and three-dimensional architectural details with high precision. The second phase included the model documentation, and work concluded with a photography phase to convey a realistic image of the mosque’s architectural details.

The encyclopedia is based on conceptual modeling of the mosque using laser scanning and photographic technologies. It features photographs, literary documentation records, analytical articles and architectural studies, along with engineering drawings and three-dimensional abstract forms.

Fahad Al-Wahbi, director-general of Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah Research and Studies Center, told Arab News that the encyclopedia initiative was launched by King Salman during his visit to Madinah in 2018. The initiative is continuing under the supervision of the center, chaired by Prince Faisal.

Al-Wahbi said that work began with a study of the architectural elements in the Prophet’s Mosque under a supervisory committee with more than 650 members. “Each element was later organized by alphabetical order, then studied historically and architecturally: When was it updated? How was it developed in our modern times?” he said.

Al-Wahbi said that the encyclopedia relies on model documentation to show how the Prophet’s Mosque appeared during the Prophetic era, the Rashidun Caliphate, Umayyad Dynasty and Abbasid Caliphate. “The whole mosque was scanned and specialized devices were used, which required two years of work,” he added. The center took more than 60,000 photos inside and outside the mosque, which were merged to create panoramic images that visitors can now view inside the site.—Agencies