King Abdullah to launch vast Haram expansion project

Abdul Nabi Shaheen
King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz will lay the foundation stone for the largest ever expansion of the Haram Mosque in Makkah Friday evening

Makkah: King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz will lay the foundation stone for the largest ever expansion of the Haram Mosque in Makkah Friday evening.

The new project is being implemented on a 4,00,000 square metre area.

It will add an additional prayer space for 1.2 million worshippers. It is estimated that real estates and properties expropriated for the project were valued at about 40 billion Saudi riyals.

The new expansion, named the King Abdullah Expansion, will increase the capacity of the Haram Mosque and its courtyards substantially. It will also help tackle with the huge crowds of pilgrims by facilitating their movement at Haram during the peak seasons of Ramadan and Haj.

The project will be carried out using the most advanced mechanical and electrical systems, according to an official of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques.

The new expansion will be linked with the existing mosque and Masaa (the running course between Safa and Marwa) with a series of bridges. It will also provide with air conditioning systems and electric stairs.

The official noted that there will be basic facilities including modern garbage disposal systems and security monitoring systems as part of the new expansion. Sun shades will also be established on the northern courtyards of the mosque.

Makkah Clock Tower opening

King Abdullah will also open the Makkah Royal Clock Tower that houses the world’s tallest golden minaret as well as the largest clock face and man-made crescent.

The gigantic clock project was constructed on top of tower number five of King Abdul Aziz Endowment project, which consists of seven towers. The Makkah Clock Tower Hotel, on which the clock is situated, is 601 meters high with 76 stories and 858 suites. It overlooks the Haram Mosque.

The clock tower is set to break many records in the construction world, including the tallest hotel, constructed with the tallest clock tower displaying the world’s largest clock face.

Second tallest building in the world

It will also have the world’s largest building floor area, and will become the second tallest building in the world, surpassed only by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

The giant clock of Makkah is set to tick a new time standard which some scholars believe will be an ideal alternative to GMT. The clock is a masterpiece specialised in engineering design and it is a unique addition to the holy city.

The loud speakers installed at the top of the tower will carry the sound of adhan (call to prayer) for seven kilometres from the Haram Mosque.

The powerful lights in white and green blinking at the time of adhan can be seen from a distance of 30km.

The lights are also helpful for people with hearing difficulties to know prayer times.

The giant clocks will be visible from all districts of Makkah with an overall distance of more than 8km.

The front and back clock measure about 43 by 43 metres while side clocks about 43 by 39 metres.

Six times bigger than Big Ben

The clock is six times bigger than London’s Big Ben. There are 200m from dial of the clock to the top of the Hilal, which measures 23 meters in diameter. The supreme name of Allah and the Shahada are visible above the clock.

The clock was made of carbon fiber materials with special glass ceramic on top. This hightech material is over three times stronger than steel used in aerospace industry. It is resistant against all climatic conditions and highly durable.

The tower housing the clock was built in a peculiar Islamic style of architecture while the clock has four faces – one in each direction. Trial run of the clock was held at the beginning of last year’s Ramadan.

August 19, 2011, Gulf News

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