Saudi Arabia is planning to build a giant-cube Kaaba-styled building in the center of downtown Riyadh.
According to many users, the image of the structures resembles the Holy Kaaba. The structure has been titled ‘Mukaab’ and is one of the mysterious structures in the series of curiously-shaped structures and cities planned by the kingdom. Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman inaugurated the project on Thursday and will be heading the ‘New Murabba Development Company’ that aims to develop “the world’s largest modern downtown in Riyadh”.
The project will feature a museum, a tech and design university, an immersive theatre, and more than 80 entertainment venues, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund said in a statement.
I want to know how much Saudi has paid @McKinsey to come up with all of these social media cartoons for Western audiences of Star Wars cities that are never going to actually exist. https://t.co/wYUT0KP2Dx
— Ali Ahmadi (@AliR_Ahmadi) February 17, 2023
In the center of the downtown will be Mukaab, which translates to the cube. The structure will be a 400-meter-long, wide, and deep structure made up of overlapping triangular forms, in an architectural style inspired by the Najd region of Saudi Arabia.
The Mukaab will be “the world’s first immersive, experiential destination,” complete with “digital and virtual technology with the latest holographic”
‘New Kaaba’: Saudi Arabia plans to build giant cube building in Riyadh (all that money and still no class) https://t.co/qeobdJfEHi
— Asad أسد 🗽🍎 (@AsadFromNYC) February 19, 2023
Saudi Arabia has also released a new promotional video of the giant cube. The cube structure will be huge enough to hold 20 Empire State buildings.
The project will be located northwest in a 19-kilometer area at the intersection of King Salman and King Khalid roads. The cube will consist of 104,000 residential units, 9000 hotel rooms, over 980,000 square meters of retail space, and 1.4m square meters of office space, according to the press release.
The project is expected to add $48bn or 180 billion riyals to the Saudi economy and will create 334,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The decision is receiving flak on social media for the structure resembling the holiest structure Kaaba in the Grand Mosque of Makkah.
“Building a new Kaaba exclusively devoted to capitalism is a little too on the nose,” said Intercept reporter Murtaza Hussain.
“It appears [the crown prince] is building his Kaaba. Will he enforce it as the new qibla for worshippers?” tweeted academic Asad Abu Khalil.