The Abraj Al Bait Towers, also called Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower, is the second tallest building in the world and the tallest building in Saudi Arabia. It is located in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The designer and contractor of the complex is the Saudi Binladin Group, the Kingdom’s largest construction corporation. At the beginning it was intended for building to be 485 meters tall, and in July 2010 it has been released that the final height will be 601 meters. So, today, it is 601 metres (1 972 ft) high and it costs over 1,5 billion US dollars.
The name of the building means “The House” and is a reference to the holy Ka’aba within the mosque across the street, which is the Islamic house of Allah. That building is close to the world’s largest mosque and Islam’s most sacred site, the Masjid al Haram. The highest tower in the complex has a five-star hotel to offer staying for the millions of pilgrims that travel to Mecca to take part in the Hajj.
The Abraj Al Bait Towers is a tower complex, and the highest tower is the clock tower. Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower has 1 500 000 m2 of floorspace, and for that reason it is the building with the largest floor area in the world. It is larger than the last recorder, Dubai International Airport. Even hotel’s site area has 34 794 m2. It has 94 elevators and 5 escalators. Besides hotel rooms, it has apartments for people to move in.
There is a garage area in the building for nearly thousand cars and shopping mall on 5 floors know as Abraj Al Bait Mall. It also has Islamic Museum and Lunar Observation Center, to see the moon during the Holy Months. With 2 heliports and conference rooms it is desired destination for business seminars and conferences. Over 100 000 clients can stay in that hotel at a time. That’s why this is also the biggest hotel in the world.
The Clock Tower
On the highest tower are situated four clocks, each facing other side of the world, dimensions 43×43 m, and they are the largest in the world. It is bigger that previous record holder, the Cevahir Mall clock in Istanbul. Above the clock it is written GOD IS THE GREATEST, on the north and south on Arabic, and west and east on Korean language. Every clock is visible in 30 kilometres diameter and illuminated with 2 million LED lights. The minute hand is 22 m long, and the hour is 17 metres long. On the bottom of the clock there is an observatory deck. You can go there by special elevators.
On that clock, there are white and green lights, which are calling Muslims for their five prayers through the day and it’s noticeable in 29 km range.
On top of the clock tower there is a 93 m spire with 23 m high crescent moon at the top. The spire has the black observation pod at the bottom which consists of a lunar gallery, a control tower and the main observation deck. The crescent is made of fiberglass-backed mosaic gold, and it weighs about 35 tons. The crescent was designed in Dubai by Premier Composite Technology in April 2011.
The minaret and its base have massive audio speakers that will emit prayer calls to a range of 7 km. During occasions like Muslim Eids and new Hijri years, a 16-beam light will illuminate an area of a range of around 10 km while 21,000 lamps will light white and green lights to a long distance of 30 km. The light beams are supposed to enable deaf persons or Muslims in far areas to know prayer timings in the other parts of Mecca and nearby cities.
The Abraj Al Bait Towers complex has had two fire incidents while in construction. The first fire hit the Hajar Tower on 28 October 2008. It took 400 firefighters to put out the fire, which burned for 10 hours, on nine floors of the tower. The second fire hit Safa tower on 1 May 2009. No fatalities or traumas were reported in the fire that was quickly contained by Civil Defense.
Contractor and price
The Abraj Al Bait Towers was built by the Saudi Binladin Group, Saudi Arabia’s largest construction corporation. The clock tower was designed by the German corporation Premiere Composite Technologies, and the clock by the Swiss engineering company Straintec. According to the Saudi Ministry of Religious Endowments, the project cost 1,5 billion US dollars.
Hotel in numbers
- 6 residential towers (27-33F) 302,000m² 864 units
- convention centre for 1,500 persons
- prayer hall for 3,800 persons
- 4 story parking for 780 cars and 10 busses
- 2 heliports
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