World’s largest clock gets assembled in Holy city of Mecca
The Abraj Al-Bait Towers also known as the “Mecca Royal Clock Hotel Tower” is a complex under construction in Mecca, Saudi Arabia by the Saudi Binladin Group. Upon completion, the tallest tower in the complex would stand as the tallest building in Saudi Arabia, and the tallest and largest hotel in the world, with a planned height of 601 m (1,972 ft). Upon completion, the structure would have the largest floor area of any structure in the world with 1,500,000 m2 (16,150,000 sq ft) of floorspace. This is the same as Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport, in the United Arab Emirates which is the current record holder. It will also surpass the Emirates Park Towers in Dubai as the world’s tallest hotel. It is also the second tallest building under construction. The entire project is estimated to be completed in the autumn of 2011.
The hotel tower is topped by a four-faced clock, which is billed by Saudi Arabia as the largest clock in the world. The clock will dwarf London’s Big Ben, once the largest four-faced clock in the world, with dials more than five times greater in area. Each of the clock’s four faces are 151 feet in diameter and will be illuminated by 2 million LED lights, along with huge Arabic script reading: “God is Greatest.” Another 21,000 white and green colored lights, fitted at the top of the clock, will flash to as far as 19 miles. The Saudi coat of arms is displayed at the center of each clock behind the dials. The clock’s dials are also bigger than the current world champion at the Cevahir Mall clock in Istanbul, which has a 36 meter face set in the transparent roof of the shopping complex.
A three-month test run for the clock started on 11 August, 2010 (1st Ramadhan, 1431 Hijri). Only one of the clock’s four faces has so far been completed and is covered with 98 million pieces of glass mosaics. Each face will be inscribed with “God is greatest” in Arabic and fitted with thousands of colored lights. The clock will be visible from more than 16 miles (25 kilometers).
German and Swiss engineers designed the clock and according to the Ministry of Religious Endowments, the entire project will cost $800 million . The clock will run on Arabian standard time, (+3 GMT). The clock reflects a goal to replace the 126-year-old universal time standard, also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
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