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 demolished by the Saudi government in 2002 for commercial development of the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower, sparking global outcry.
The fortress was built in 1780 under Ottoman rule in order to protect the Kaaba in Mecca from bandits and invaders. 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. Ottoman Turks had ruled a vast empire covering the Arabian peninsula, the Balkans, and north Africa. But the empire disintegrated at the beginning of the 20th century when present-day Turkey was established as a secular state. 
The destruction of the historic structure stirred both domestic and international protest. The Turkish Foreign Minister İsmail Cem İpekçi and as well as several institutions tried to prevent the demolition. The Turkish Democratic Left Party (DSP) Deputy Ertuğrul Kumcuoğlu even suggested a boycott on travelling to Saudi Arabia. The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism condemned the obliteration of the fortress, comparing the act to the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan, and accusing the Saudi authorities of "continuing with their policy of demolishing Ottoman heritages."
The French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted Saudi Islamic affairs Minister Saleh al-Shaikh as saying "no-one has the right to interfere in what comes under the state's authority". In reference to the housing component of the plan, al-Sheikh added that it was intended to house pilgrims to Mecca, and said "this is in the interest of Muslims all over the world".
King Fahd has given his approval for the King Abdul Aziz Endowment for the Holy Haram and for the preparation of the project site by removing the hill and the castle. The king instructed that the castle should be preserved in full by rebuilding it," the minister said in a statement.
- Simon Wheelan (28 January 2002). "Saudi government demolishes historic Ottoman castle - World Socialist Web Site". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- "BBC News - MIDDLE EAST - Saudis hit back over Mecca castle". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- Article from the Arab News of 9 January 2002 Archived 29 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
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- Article in the Arab News of 26 December 2001
- "Revealed: The world's 20 most expensive buildings". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 28 July 2018.of Abraj Al Bait Towers.
- Article from the Brunei Times by Pakinam Amer from Sunday, April 15, 2007, naming the demolished fortress and the new building in the same sentence Archived 17 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Gossett, Sherrie. "Mecca Conference Criticized for Hypocrisy on Holy Site Destruction". crosswalk.com. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 9 April 2008.
- Article on People's Daily Online
- "Ecyad Castle". Retrieved 20 January 2015.
- Palmer, Jason (9 January 2002). "Destroying Ottoman castle to build hotel is 'cultural massacre'". The Independent. Retrieved 9 April 2008.[dead link]
- Turkish Ministry of Culture Announcement Retrieved 03-28-2008 Archived 24 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- Wheelan, Simon (28 January 2002). "Saudi government demolishes historic Ottoman castle". World Socialist Web Site. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
- "Holy site expansion to preserve historic Ajyad Fort". Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia at Washington D.C. Website. 9 January 2002. Archived from the original on 31 October 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- Description and picture of the model on the Miniatürk website.[dead link]