The Jamaraat Bridge is a pedestrian bridge
A bridge is a structure built to span physical obstacles such as a body of water, valley, or road, for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle...
in Mina, Saudi Arabia
Mina, Saudi Arabia
Mina is a location situated some 5 kilometres to the east of the Islamic holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It stands on the road from Mecca's city centre to the Hill of Arafat....
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...
used by Muslims during the stoning of the devil
Stoning of the Devil
Stoning of the Devil or stoning of the jamarat is part of the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Muslim pilgrims fling pebbles at three walls called jamarat in the city of Mina just east of Mecca. It is one of a series of ritual acts that must be performed in...
ritual of the Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...
. The bridge was originally constructed in 1963, and has been expanded several times since then. The purpose of the bridge is to enable pilgrims to throw stones at the three jamrah pillars from either the ground level or from the bridge. The pillars extend up through three openings in the bridge. Until 2006 the bridge had a single tier (ie. a ground level with one bridge level above).
At certain times, over a million people may gather in the area of the bridge, which has sometimes led to fatal accidents. “Jamaraat” is the plural of jamrah which is the Arabic term for each of the pillars involved in the stoning ritual. It literally means a small piece of stone or a pebble.
New BridgeFollowing the January 2006 Hajj, the old bridge was demolished and construction began on a new multi-level bridge. The ground and first levels were complete in time for the 2006/2007 Hajj, which passed without incident. Construction on the remaining two levels are scheduled to be completed in time for the 1428 AH
The Hijri calendar , also known as the Muslim calendar or Islamic calendar , is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries , and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic...
(Dec. 2007) Hajj.
The new bridge (designed by Dar Al-Handasah
Dar Al-Handasah is an international leading project design, management and supervision consultancy and founding member of the Dar Group. It is a multidisciplinary consulting organization for engineering, architecture, planning, environment, project management, and economics...
and constructed by the Bin Laden Group) contains a wider column-free interior space and expanded jamrah pillars many times longer than their pre-2006 predecessors. Additional ramps and tunnels were built for easier access, and bottlenecks were engineered out. Large canopies are planned to cover each of the three jamrah pillars to protect pilgrims from the desert sun. Ramps are also being built adjacent to the pillars to speed evacuation in the event of an emergency. Additionally, Saudi authorities have issued a fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...
decreeing that the stoning may take place between sunrise and sunset, rather than at the mid-day time that most pilgrims prefer.
Safety issuesDuring the Hajj, so many people use the bridge that overcrowding can create a hazard. Being the last day of the Hajj, some will bring their luggage.
- On May 23, 1994, a stampede killed at least 270 pilgrims.
- On April 9, 1998, at least 118 pilgrims were trampled to death and 180 injured.
- On March 5, 2001, 35 pilgrims were trampled to death in a stampede.
- On February 11, 2003, the stoning of the DevilStoning of the DevilStoning of the Devil or stoning of the jamarat is part of the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Muslim pilgrims fling pebbles at three walls called jamarat in the city of Mina just east of Mecca. It is one of a series of ritual acts that must be performed in...
ritual claimed 14 pilgrims' lives.
- On February 1, 2004, 251 pilgrims were killed and another 244 injured in a stampede.
- On January 12, 2006, a stampede killed at least 346 pilgrimPilgrimA pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...
s and injured at least 289 more.
Following the 2004 incident, Saudi authorities embarked on major construction work in and around the Jamaraat Bridge area. Additional access ways, footbridges, and emergency exits were built, and the three cylindrical pillars were replaced with longer and taller oblong walls of concrete to enable more pilgrims simultaneous access. The next year they announced plans for a new, four-story bridge.