Two years after erecting them, Saudi Arabian authorities have removed the preventive barriers around the Holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque ahead of the upcoming Umrah season.
Worshippers at Masjid Al Haram were audibly excited and clamoured to once again be able to touch the Hajar Al Aswad, or the Black Stone.
The barriers were installed in March 2020 to ensure proper social distancing between pilgrims amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pilgrims were also grateful to be granted access to the Hateem, or the Hijr Ismail, the crescent-shaped area near the Kaaba.
The decision to remove the barriers was announced on Tuesday.
In what is usually seen in Islam as an auspicious sign, it also lightly rained over the Grand Mosque shortly before workers dismantled the barriers on Wednesday.
Tawaf, or the pilgrims' circumambulation around the Kaaba, resumed after being briefly suspended for the removal of the barriers.
Pilgrims were also excited to be a part of a tawaf in the Mataaf, the area surrounding the Kaaba, that was closer to a pre-pandemic pilgrimage.
Sheikh Dr Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, who leads the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, extended his gratitude to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their care, attention, and support for the Two Holy Mosques.
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