Makkah’s four-faced giant clock, a gift from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to the citizens and the Muslims world over, is the tallest and largest of its kind, dwarfing even the famous Big Ben in London.
It is 400 meters above the ground and can be clearly seen from all parts of Makkah at a distance of 8 km.
The giant clock was built on the top of Abraj Al-Bait Complex that is 601 meters high. It was built under the supervision of specialized engineers from Germany and Switzerland. The clock has four faces. The diameters of the front and the back faces are 43 meters. It is topped by a crescent edifice that has a diameter of 23 meters.
Allahu Akbar (God is Great) is written in bold letters on the top of the clock. The back faces of the clock carry the symbol of monotheism (La Ilaha Illa Allah).
The clock shows the local time according to the UTC that is based in Paris. Saudi Arabia’s local time is three hours ahead of GMT. Designed according to Islamic architecture, the clock’s total weight is 36,000 tons built on a steel structure weighing 12,000 tons. It is composed of 14,000 iron pieces of which some weigh about 16 tons. It has a large base with corridors for pilgrims wishing to see the clock from close.
Each of the three hands indicating hours, minutes and seconds weighs more than 21 tons and are thus the heaviest of their kinds in the world. The clock uses solar energy in addition to electricity.
The giant clock on the top of Abraj Al-Bait Complex and the Holy Mosque expansion.
The new expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, which was launched by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, will cover 400,000 square meters and will be 380 meters deep for underground facilities. Once completed, the expansion is expected to provide room for additional 1.2 million worshippers. Surrounding lands, which were appropriated for the project have been valued at more than SR4 billion.
The expansion, aimed at increasing the capacity of the Haram plazas, was approved by the king to cope with the growing number of pilgrims and visitors especially during Ramadan and Haj.
It will also reduce the congestion of buildings near the Grand Mosque from the northern, western and eastern sides, ease traffic for both vehicles and pedestrians, ensure pilgrims’ comfort and safety and add to the beautification of the area.
The project will include a modern network of roads consisting of special passes for cars that are separated from lanes to be used by pedestrians. It will also have tunnels for pedestrians equipped with escalators.
All the requirements of the pilgrims will be available at the expansion including potable water, garbage bins and shades to protect them against the sun’s heat.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has given instructions to establish a state-of-the-art project to filter and sterilize the blessed Zamzam water for the use of residents, pilgrims and visitors.
The project, named after the king, was set up in Kudai district at the cost of SR700 million. It filters five million liters of water every day.
Abdullah opened the project, which took 30 months to complete, early in September 2010. It has an area of 13,405 sq. m. and consists of buildings for air pressure, storage, bottling, production lines and packaging. It also contains a power-generation facility producing 10 megawatts of electricity.
The water is automatically pumped from the Zamzam well, located inside the Grand Mosque, to the plant where it is automatically stored, filtered and purified.
It has a storage tank with a capacity of 10 million liters from which purified water is pumped through four stainless steel pipes to the Grand Mosque for the use of pilgrims and visitors.
A total of 1.5 million containers each with a capacity of 10 liters are daily distributed in Makkah for the consumption by its residents. Before distribution, these quantities are kept in a large warehouse that uses the technique of automatic storing and retrieving (AS/RS).
The plant has a laboratory to test water 24/7 with a view to ensuring its purity and suitability for human consumption. After purification, sterilization and testing, the water is transported automatically via special conveyors to Kudai pumping station that has 42 distribution points.
More than 5,000 special containers for Zamzam water are placed in the Grand Mosque for the use of pilgrims and visitors. The capacity of each container is 40 liters and they are automatically cleaned.
The new cleaning system can clean 250 containers in an hour thus saving a lot of time and effort.