The Ajyad Fortress (Turkish: Ecyad Kalesi; Arabic: قلعة أجياد) was an Ottoman citadel which stood on a hill overlooking the Grand Mosque of Mecca, in what is now Saudi Arabia. Built in the late 18th century, it was destroyed by the Saudi government in 2002 for commercial development of the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower, sparking global outcry.
In 1780, the Ottoman Turks built the fortress in order to protect the Kaaba and Islamic shrines in Mecca from bandits and invaders. At the time, many of the bandits and invaders were Wahhabi radicals and the Ottomans wanted to keep them out of the city. The fort covered some 23,000 m2 (250,000 sq ft) on Bulbul Mountain (a spur of Jebel Kuda) overlooking the Masjid al-Haram from the south.
In early 2002, the Ajyad Fortress was demolished and most of Bulbul mount was levelled, in order to clear the area for the $533 million construction project of Abraj Al Bait Towers. Opening in 2012, the complex of multiple high-rise buildings consists of apartments, a twin-tower five-star hotel, restaurants, and a shopping centre, built by the Saudi Binladin Group.
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