Aziziyah gains pilgrims' favor.
Chairman of the real estate committee at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mansour Abu Rayyash said Aziziyah district has become a favorite area for pilgrims from abroad because of its proximity to the Grand Mosque and easy accessibility due to the availability of minibuses that transport pilgrims to and from the Haram. "Aziziyah is no longer the preferred accommodation spot for locals because many foreign pilgrims have made it their choice, especially after the projects to expand the northern plazas of the Haram led to the confiscation of more than 4,000 real estate units that used to accommodate pilgrims in the central area of Makkah," he said. It had been a challenge for pilgrim contingents to find suitable accommodation at reasonable rents after a large number of buildings were pulled down to make room for the Haram expansion. Abu Rayyash said as more and more people began to chose Aziziyah, the landlords there began to offer accommodation on a seasonal basis to pilgrims during Haj and Umrah, which was more profitable and also temporarily relieved them of the issues they usually face with tenants. He said Aziziyah became a favorite accommodation choice due to the reasonable rent prices, which ranged from SR10,000 to SR17,000 for the entire month of Ramadan. "The pilgrims also preferred it because of the availability of parking and buses to take them to and from the Haram," he added. While pilgrims living in the central area of the holy city will have to walk long distances to reach the Grand Mosque for regular daily prayers, coaches take those in Aziziyah very close to the Haram through underground tunnels. Countries, such as India, that send large groups of pilgrims have been renting buildings in Aziziyah because of comparatively low rents for a number of years. After initial resistance, pilgrims have started realizing the advantages of living in the district. Employees working at furnished apartments in the district said Ramadan was a good season for them and occupancy rates were almost at 100 percent. They said many of the domestic pilgrims left after the completion of the Qur'an in taraweeh prayers on the 29th night and the apartments were standing empty waiting to receive those wishing to perform Haj. According to them, a week's rent ranges from SR5,000 to SR8,000, adding it is cheaper to rent on a more long-term basis.
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