Saudi Arabia has approved plans to study the development of a number of residential towers on the mountain slope of Mina in the Mecca area.

The Mecca Region Development Authority will present plans and studies to the king’s office for final approval and execution, according to a statement on the Saudi Gazette.

A total of six towers, with the capacity to accommodate around 12,000 pilgrims, have already been constructed in Mina.

The city of Mecca has witnessed heavy development in the last decade with several key projects such as the 2.5 million-square-metre project, located near the Grand Mosque in Mecca Jabal Omar Development, which was launched in 2007, pressing ahead and changing the holy city’s skyline.

In addition to this Mecca is the first city in Saudi Arabia with a metro system in place.

The $16bn transport plan for the city, known as the Mecca Public Transport Programme (MPTP), includes Mecca Metro, a multi-phased light rail network.

Four contracts for the Mecca Metro Lines B and C, which comprises the first phase of the scheme, are currently awaiting final approval from the Royal Court before they are awarded. These include two civil contracts, and one contract each for the systems and rolling stock.

These contracts, worth an estimated $8bn, were originally scheduled for award in late 2015.